The Stoning of Stephen.
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Title:The Stoning of Stephen
Notes:"'The perfect martyr' is the epithet given to Stephen in the conclusion to the early Christian narrative of the martyrs of Vienne and Lyons (Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 5.2.5). This essay argues that the narrative of the stoning of Stephen in Acts 6:8-8:1 does indeed depict a perfect martyr -- one perfectly suited, that is, to Luke's rhetorical purposes in the two-volume work now known as the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. In this work Luke constructs for followers of "the Way" a genealogy reaching back into Israelite traditions, and a sociology that drives a wedge between them and their Jewish contemporaries. One means by which Acts constructs a divide between "the Way" and "The Jews" is to portray the former as compatible, and the latter as imcompatible, with Roman juridical ideas. While ecclesial traditions of Jesus' death under Pontius Pilate and Paul's death in Rome posed a potential fault line in this construction, the killing of Stephen is an episode that is free from Roman juridical involvement. In Luke's telling, the death of Stephen through a stoning carried out by an unruly mob underscores Jewish barbarity, creates a breach between the church and the Jews, and brackets Romans out of the originary violence that produced the church's first martyred follower of Jesus and marked its first great expansion." (Gibson/Matthews, 124)
Date:19th century
Building:Kölner Dom
Object/Function:Stained glass

Scripture:Acts 7:55-60
Person as Subject:Stephen (martyr), ca.5-33
Lectionary links:AEast05
General Subject:Stoning

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Attribution:The Stoning of Stephen, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved May 27, 2024]. Original source:
Record Number:54257 Last Updated: 2021-09-09 13:44:13 Record Created: 2009-03-19 13:19:24
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition

Bibliographic Source:Violence in the New Testament
Author:Gibson, Leigh and Shelly Matthews