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ix + 226 pp.

£27.50 / $45 / €40
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Hardback






Entertaining Angels
Early Christian Hospitality in its Mediterranean Setting
Andrew Arterbury

Hospitality in the ancient Mediterranean world was not a matter of entertaining one's neighbours to dinner. And among the early Christians it was not the same as table-fellowship either, though most modern works confuse that with hospitality. Hospitality was essentially the provision of food and protection for travellers; it could include also a bath, supplies for the traveller's onward journey, and an escort along the road toward to the traveller's next destination.

Unlike other writers, Arterbury combs through a broad spectrum of Greek, Roman and Jewish texts -- as well as early Christian texts outside the New Testament -- for literary depictions of the custom of hospitality. As well, he brings into the picture the Greek novels, which provide us with vivid insights into ancient Mediterranean life. His book presents the most complete analysis of the terms used for hospitality. And he shows how important the practice of hospitality is in understanding the narrative of the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10-11: Luke is here suggesting that Christian communities should employ the traditional custom of hospitality as an effective means of bridging the cultural divide between Jews and Gentiles, evangelizing unbelievers, and forging bonds of friendship with strangers.

This revealing and engaging example of what Arterbury describes as 'historical audience-oriented criticism' will be appreciated by scholars and students interested in the reality of life in New Testament times.


Andrew Arterbury is Assistant Professor of Christian Scriptures, Truett Seminary, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Series: New Testament Monographs, 8
1-905048-21-1, 978-1-905048-21-2 hardback
Publication October 2005

Contents
Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1
Previous Scholarship on Hospitality 4
The Approach of this Study 6
Methodology 8
An Overview of this Study 11

Part I MEDITERRANEAN HOSPITALITY IN ANTIQUITY

Chapter 2 GRECO-ROMAN HOSPITALITY IN ANTIQUITY 15
Describing Hospitality in Ancient Greece 15
Hospitality in Homer's Odyssey 28
Describing Hospitality in the Hellenistic Age 38
Hospitality in the Greek Novels 40
Hospitality in Dio Chrysostom's The Hunter 48
Summary of Greco-Roman Hospitality 51

Chapter 3 JEWISH HOSPITALITY IN ANTIQUITY 55
An Overview of Jewish Hospitality 56
Abraham's Hospitality among Jewish and
Early Christian Writers 59
Additional Examples of Hospitality in the Jewish Scriptures 71
Additional Examples of Hospitality Outside of the Jewish
Scriptures 86
Summary of Jewish Hospitality 90

Chapter 4 EARLY CHRISTIAN HOSPITALITY 94
Hospitality and Traveling Missionaries 98
References to Hospitality in Paul's Letters 100
Examples of Hospitality in Matthew, Mark, and John 109
Hospitality in the Johannine Epistles 118
Hospitality in Non-Canonical Christian Texts 122
A Brief Word about Later Christian Hospitality 128
Summary of Christian Hospitality 129
Summary of Part I: Mediterranean Hospitality 131

Part II THE CUSTOM OF HOSPITALITY IN LUKE AND ACTS

Chapter 5 THE CUSTOM OF HOSPITALITY IN LUKE'S WRITINGS WITH A FOCUS ON ACTS 10-11 135
Examples of Hospitality in Luke and Acts 135
Summary of Hospitality in Luke and Acts 152
The Custom of Hospitality in Acts 10-11 153

Chapter 6 CONCLUSION 182
Conclusions about the Custom of Hospitality in Antiquity 182
Conclusions about the Custom of Hospitality in Acts 10-11 189

Bibliography 192
Index of References 208
Index of Authors 224



Reviews
Arterbury's thesis models clarity and simplicity… Many of the references to ancient sources in the summary sections are actually new ones, never previously introduced or discussed… The sheer breadth of background texts assembled and surveyed in one slim volume forms a collection of material for which we can be grateful. Craig L. Blomberg,Review of Biblical Literature

This is an intriguing book with broader implications for the study of the social world of the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, such as ancient views on the presence of angels and how news was spread. G.J. Brooke, Society for Old Testament Study Book List

[A] very useful . . . book … Given the travelling that features in so many New Testament narratives, an awareness of hospitality behavior is quite necessary for a modern reader's understanding of these high context documents. Bruce J. Malina, Biblical Theology Bulletin