Implied reader response and the evolution of genres : transitional stages between the ancient novels and the apocryphal Acts

20 Feb 2012

This article aims at elaborating on the commonly held judgment that the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles have somehow been influenced by the Hellenistic novels. It is argued that the one evolved from the other. Three stages can be traced. A first stage consists of Christian allegorizing of the novels based on the many striking crucifixion and empty tomb passages, followed by a second stage of writing Christian allegories based on the Old Testament heritage of Christianity. Joseph and Asenath being the sole surviving example. Finally, the third stage is the explicit composing of Christian versions of the picaresque romantic adventure novels, namely the Apocryphal Acts.