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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Thecla’s Devotion: Narrative, Emotion and Identity in the Acts of Paul and Thecla
McLarty, J. D.

Cambridge: Clarke, 2018 pp. viii + 257. $50.00


Description: There are some episodes in the Apocryphal Acts that are reminiscent of contemporary pagan stories of travel and adventure. One of these is the Thecla episode (ATh), from the Acts of Paul. As a story of Christian life, it aims to answer to relevant spiritual questions, such as the nature of Christian belief and the meaning itself of being Christian. In doing so, the Thecla episode follows a path sprinkled with topoi from ancient pagan fiction, with its challenging attitude towards the concept of the possibility of conquering the passions through reason and, in Thecla’s case, the ultimate power of faith.  In Thecla’s Devotion, J.D. McLarty explores the Thecla episode through its intimate connection with paradigms of pagan romance, and walking amidst echoes of narrative sounds and patterns that link plots and fictional effects. In this fascinating book, the role of emotion arises alongside a powerful female leading figure as main features of both kinds of text – ATh and pagan romance – and is deeply investigated with a thorough and gentle touch.

Subjects: Bible, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, New Testament Apocrypha, Acts, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches, Ideological Critique, Other Acts

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Review by Gail P. Streete
Published 12/5/2019
Citation: Gail P. Streete, review of J. D. Mclarty, Thecla’s Devotion: Narrative, Emotion and Identity in the Acts of Paul and Thecla, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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