Ritual water, ritual spirit: an analysis of the timing, mechanism, and manifestation of spirit-reception in Luke-Acts
McCollough, David John
The dissertation analyses Spirit-reception in Luke-Acts with respect to timing, mechanism, and manifestation. Its narrow focus excludes questions regarding Spirit-reception’s theological significance. It employs three primary tools: narrative progression/sequential reading, presupposition pools/entity representations (ERs), and focalization. By beginning with Jesus’ baptism where Spirit experience is joined to the prayer aspect of the baptismal ceremony and observing Jesus’ Luke 11:13 teaching on prayer, one arrives at Acts 2:38-39 with an ER in which Spirit experience is not separated from baptism, but linked with the prayer element of the unitary baptismal ceremony. Acts 2 focalizes dissociative xenolalia and creates a programmatic expectation that all initiates will experience it. Acts 2 does not depict new converts receiving the Spirit and thereby leaves a narrative gap which the reader must fill with information from Jesus’ baptism. Acts 8 adds to this information by providing Luke’s first depiction of new converts receiving the Spirit and showing the facilitation mechanisms used, prayer and handlaying by gifted individuals. Luke stated neither that this procedure was exceptional nor that it was standard. He simply presented a solution to the problem of the Spirit failing to come. Saul’s conversion clarifies that non-apostles can be gifted to facilitate the Spirit. Cornelius’ house adds the concept of the Spirit being given during a gifted individual’s preaching ministry and shows early church leaders using Pentecost as a standard of comparison. The cumulative nature of presupposition pools/ERs means that the last Spirit-reception scene (Acts 19) must be viewed in the light of all the accumulated Spirit-reception scenes, the total ER.
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