Repository logo

Prophecy, signs, and wonders in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Apostolic Fathers: a socio-rhetorical reading.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The key research question of this work is: How the early Christian thinkers conceived of the role of the Spirit in the church, and especially the role with respect to operation of the gifts of the Spirit in prophecy, signs, and wonders. The methodology employed in this endeavour is socio-rhetorical criticism (SRC). SRC sets multiple contexts of Interpretation in dialogue with each other. It utilizes all the components of classical methods of persuasion namely ethos, pathos and logos embedded in the text and context to help us mine a more complete picture of the message of the author. It also utilizes sociological insights to help us construct reality from text, context, culture, and ideology. These multiple perspectives help us to see much more from the text than any one perspective ever could. With the help of SRC the Book of Acts of the Apostles and the Apostolic Fathers are surveyed. With respect to the Book of Acts of the Apostles the researcher will zero in on references to the operation of the Holy Spirit. Utilizing Intertexture (recitation, recontextualization and reconfiguration) to see how the author appropriates other texts and applies them to the current topic as well as social, cultural, and ideological textures in the narrative and plot structures of the text, an attempt will be made to reconstruct the attempt of the author to persuade the reader to adopt the author’s point of view. It will be noted that in the Book of Acts of the Apostles, a sub-cultural relational stance (thaumaturgic) towards Paganism and Judaism (Revolutionist, utopian, conversionist, gnostic manipulation and thaumaturgic stance) was taken by the church. Concerning the Apostolic Fathers, the researcher will utilize insights from sociology such as the conversionist, revolutionist, utopian discourses embedded in a counter-cultural relationship to the dominant culture. The researcher will then enquire as to whether Pentecost is to be viewed as a once-off historical event or whether it is to be viewed soteriological-historically utilizing Spirit-Hermeneutics as a theoretical framework. In terms of ideology, the author is an Evangelical and therefore embraces faith as an epistemic commitment that is therefore to be taken as a starting premise as all claims of ultimate authority must necessarily be taken. Finally, the insights gained above will be analyzed and prove the biblical veracity of Continuationism as not only legitimate but to be expected throughout church history.


Masters Degree. Univeristy of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.