Ancient Rome’s Daily News Publication With Some Likely Implications For Early Christian Studies -- By: Brian J. Wright

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 67:1 (NA 2016)
Article: Ancient Rome’s Daily News Publication With Some Likely Implications For Early Christian Studies
Author: Brian J. Wright


Ancient Rome’s Daily News Publication With Some Likely Implications For Early Christian Studies

Brian J. Wright

Summary

A detailed study on ancient Rome’s daily news publication is currently absent in early Christian studies. This article seeks to begin filling this lacuna by surveying the history of this Roman news bulletin and highlighting the sorts of data that must be taken into account in order to determine the publication’s subject matter, scope of distribution, and possible relevance for early Christian studies.

1. Introduction

The Roman government published and distributed a news publication for the populace of the city of Rome before, during, and after the first two centuries of the Common Era (ca. 59 BC - AD 222).1 The evidence of such activity is well established by authors writing before,

during, and after the same era.2 Although scholars have known about this news bulletin for a long time now,3 it appears to have dodged any substantial academic treatment in early Christian studies.4 Four broad examples of such minimal scholarly discussion ought to suffice here.

First, David Aune offers only one sentence on Acta in his reference work.5 Yet even then, he appears to be strictly referring to one particular version of Acta, the acta senatus, and not to any others. Second, Brill’s New Pauly online platform is too narrow in scope. It does not include some of the classic works on the topic in various languages. Gessel’s article in English (see note 2) and Behrisch’s essay in German (mentioned below) are absent, just to name two.

Third, Craig Keener references the topic in his recent Acts commentary when he writes in a footnote: ‘The genre [of the Book of Acts] should not be confused, because of its English title, with Latin acta, which could be gazettes (including official events, decisions, lawsuits, and speeches) or lists of emperors’ enactments.’6 But besides referencing two general studies on the broad category of Acta in the same footnote, he does not pursue its relevance to Luke-Acts in any more detail, such as the likelihood that the author, who does research

and claims to work like an ancient historian, used such Acta...

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