Luke and Early Christian Diversity

Date(s) - 09/12/2015
9:00 am - 1:45 pm

Rush Creek Christian Church


Luke and Early Christian Diversity
Tenth Fred B. Craddock Seminar on the Gospels
Saturday, September 12, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Rush Creek Christian Church, Arlington
Shelly Matthews, Professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX

Stalcup icons_EventThe earliest Christians responded to teachings of and about Jesus in a wide variety of ways. Yet, the orthodox Christian affirmation is that all true Christians held identical beliefs from the very beginning. This workshop considers Luke (and Acts) as instrumental in shifting early Christians away from diversity and into uniformity. It will draw attention to stories that Luke seems to know but does not tell, stories he modifies to fit his “orderly account,” and stories Luke creates, including stories so artfully told that they are centrally prized in defining the Christian faith. Along the way, we will consider more deeply stories not told by Luke —pertaining to the instrumental role of women in creating and disseminating gospel narrative; to the spread of Christianity into Arabia, Syria and Africa; to the question of the significance of Christ’s resurrection; and the proper stance of believers toward earthly rulers. We will ask, finally, about the importance of Luke’s stories, and those other stories, to the shaping of the church we envision in the 21st century.
Shelly Matthews joined the faculty of Brite Divinity School in the fall of 2011. Her books include First Converts: Rich Pagan Women and the Rhetoric of Mission in Early Judaism and Christianity (2001) and Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity (2010) which was hailed by the Journal of Religion as compulsory reading for those interested in Jewish-Christian relations. The Acts of the Apostles: Taming the Tongues of Fire (2013) is her most recent book. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist church (Dakotas area), and served parishes in North Dakota before beginning graduate school.