Language and Identity in Ancient Narratives 978-3-16-153264-1 - Mohr Siebeck

Julia A. Snyder

Language and Identity in Ancient Narratives

The Relationship between Speech Patterns and Social Context in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts of John, and Acts of Philip

[Sprache und Identität in Erzählungen der Antike. Die Beziehung zwischen Sprachmustern und sozialem Kontext in der Apostelgeschichte, den Johannesakten und den Philippusakten.]

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Published in English.
How might social factors be reflected in an ancient writer's choice of words? Julia A. Snyder explores the social significance of word choice in three ancient Greek narratives and shows how sociolinguistic variation contributes to particular portrayals of Christian identity.
When a Christian writer refers to Jesus as »the Lord,« what does it signify? Is it primarily a way of making a political or theological statement, or might social concerns have had more influence on the writer's choice of words? Studies of early Christianity regularly depend on a nuanced understanding of lexical significance, but current research often fails to consider social aspects of »what words mean.« Julia A. Snyder argues that methodological improvements are needed in how lexical significance in ancient Greek texts is determined, based on an analysis of the relationship between speech patterns and addressee identity in the Acts of the Apostles, Acts of John, and Acts of Philip. She also illustrates how sociolinguistic variation contributes to characterization and the construction of Christian identity in the narratives, how it sheds light on the rewriting of ancient texts, and how it informs the question of whether apostolic narratives were produced for evangelistic purposes.

Julia A. Snyder Born 1980; 2002 BA in Classics and Mathematics; 2005 Master of Divinity; 2013 PhD in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Edinburgh.


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal of Theological Studies — 67 (2016), S. 274–275 (Jenny Read-Heimerdinger)
In: Biblische Zeitschrift — 60 (2016), S. 289–291 (Boris Paschke)
In: Studia Patavina — 66 (2019), S. 355–357 (Carlo Broccardo)