The Bible

The Temple and Mars Hill: A Comparative Analysis of Speeches by Peter and Paul (Acts) College

In the book of Acts, Luke recounts numerous speeches, many of which come from Peter and Paul while giving defenses of themselves and of the new Christian faith. He composes Acts in such a way that the attentive reader may draw significant parallels between several of these speeches. Peter’s speech in the Temple in Jerusalem (Acts 3:12-26) and Paul’s speech on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:22-31) is one such pair, and one that reveals great results when analyzed in relation to each other. Through a careful reading of both passages, it becomes clear that Peter and Paul tailor their otherwise similar speeches to their respective audiences by altering their sources of textual authority and their general frames of reference, and that, despite the differences, the audience’s receptions are quite similar, demonstrating the universal nature and application of the truth of the Gospel.

Both Peter and Paul give seven speeches in the book of Acts, a correlation so strong that it must be intentional. Luke, both in the Gospel of Luke and in Acts, frequently employs the use of parallelism (a literary device that repeats themes in repeated iterative sequences, e.g. ABCABC) to emphasize meaning and draw attention to certain aspects of each...

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