Luke’s story of Paul’s prolonged imprisonment under the Romans provides readers with an unexpected setting for considering the proclamation of the word. This narrative-critical study explores the custody settings of Acts 21–28 as places that frame and amplify the detained Paul’s social marginality to powerful interests that have a stake in his ministry and contends that the settings serve as new venues for Paul’s continuing yet redirected missionary vocation. The book provides a penetrating discussion of the relationship between the young church and imperial Rome, suggesting that the accounts of Paul’s activity and divine assistance, coming precisely within the settings intended to enforce Roman control, constitute subtle yet powerful confrontation and manipulation of the social and religious powers.
“Dr Skinner writes with clarity, care and good attention to the text of Acts, and this study advances discussion of the puzzling role of the later chapters of Acts significantly. Dr Skinner provides a model of a well-organized dissertation with the questions and approach taken set up clearly at the beginning, evident care in explaining his chosen approach, a lucid survey of recent work, followed by the core (three) chapters, and a clear and engaging conclusion. This alone will mean that I shall recommend this work to my doctoral students as an example to follow.”
—Steve Walton, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Matthew L. Skinner is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.