Blaire A. French, 'The Completion of King Saul in Acts', Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 2018, Vol. 40(4); 424–433
Acts is the only book in the New Testament to refer to King Saul (Acts 13.21).
In prophetic literature a new heart from God inaugurates Israel’s restoration (Ezek. 36.26).
In the Old Testament, Saul receives ‘another heart’ from God (1 Sam. 10.9) (and is the only person in the OT to do so). Yet Saul’s acquisition of a new heart did not produce any permanent benefit for him or Israel.
The thesis of this article is that Acts subsumes and revises the story of King Saul to show that rebirth and spiritual transformation (that should accompany a new heart) is only possible in light of Christian revelation: with and after the coming of Christ-Jesus. This is narrated by three means: Paul’s name change from Saul to Paul (Acts 13.9), an allusion to a doublet in Samuel (1 Sam. 24 and 26; cf. Acts 9, 22, 26), and the narrative’s treatment of Saul’s reign (Acts 13.21-22).
Paul’s acceptance of Jesus and renunciation of the magician Bar-Jesus simultaneously negates and replaces Saul’s rejection of David’s kingship and his fatal turn to sorcery.
eta: French also notes that "Luke recounts Paul’s supernatural experience on the road to Damascus three times, and each version varies from the other (Acts 9.1-9; 22.6-16; 26.12-18). Acts scholars generally agree that Luke introduces the variants to reveal different aspects of Paul’s character and commission. A complementary explanation for the three parallel episodes is that Luke recapitulates a doublet from 1 Samuel in order to supplant it with a third revised account."
Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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