Acts of the Apostles
|Light iron-age reading|
|Gabbin' with God|
The Acts of the Apostles is a New Testament book about how all those ancient Christians managed without Jesus. Its authorship is traditionally ascribed to Luke the Physician, companion of Paul of Tarsus, and is accepted by scholars as having been written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke.
Saint Peter preached in Jerusalem, and many people believed stories about resurrections and empty tombs, et cetera (sadly, they didn't leave any records). In Acts 1:18, Peter told a story about the death of Judas Iscariot, saying Judas bought a field and died in a fall and thus contradicted Matthew 27:5 which claimed Judas hanged himself.
The second chapter tells of how The Holy Spirit came to the church: with the rush of a mighty wind and flames of fire settling on each believer who partied like it was 1999 something which less credulous observers ascribed to them simply being drunk (Acts 2:13). Acts 2:38, a verse Peter spoke during this time, is the favorite verse in the entire Bible of churches practicing Jesus-only baptism, but they somehow failed to read on for just a few verses where we are told that Christians held all things in common and practiced
Communism communalism. Oops! Later, Ananias and Sapphira held back some of their real estate earnings (while saying otherwise to look good to the crowd) and were promptly killed by divine heart attack on Peter's command, a fate evidently missed by many Christians throughout history.
The enemies of Christianity sometimes persecuted the Christians. Saint Stephen was stoned to death. Saul of Tarsus looked after the coats of those who stoned him. Later, about 31-33 CE (due to ambiguities about which "Acts" visit to Jerusalem Galatians 2:1 is referring to, it could be as late as 38 CE), Saul of Tarsus had hallucinations on the road to Damascus. He became a Christian, and changed his name to Paul. Paul travelled as a missionary to many different countries and preached to many people of many different nationalities. Paul and his companions had many marvellous and supernatural adventures and imagined miracles. Paul converted many people especially Gentiles, and wrote many letters to Christian groups he had visited in his travels (as it turns out just letting them run on their own wasn't working out), seven or eight of which later entered the New Testament under the overall title of the "Epistles of Paul" (along with several which weren't actually written by Paul).
In 43/44 CE, Peter fasted for a long time and had a “vision” (three times!) telling him that he could eat anything he liked -- including "unclean" food (a hungry guy hallucinating about food - must be a miracle!). Due to that, a council to deal with Paul going out to convert non-Jews and some sayings attributed to Jesus and written by Paul, Christians don’t feel bound by Kosher food laws (and are thus free to binge on shrimp cocktails and pulled pork sandwiches). Gradually the early church became less orientated towards traditional Jews and became accepting of Hellenistic Jews and Gentiles.
The story ends with Paul arriving in Rome after using his status as a Roman Citizen to get a real trial, and ends on a cliffhanger - the story deciding not to include his beheading, the crucifixion of Peter, or whatever actually happened to them (since the 'orrible murder stories are a later Christian tradition, see also argumentum ad martyrdom).