The Acts of the Apostles is one of the very few surviving ancient texts to give us a picture of the world from the point of view of those outside the elite of the dominant culture. It offers a valuable perspective on the way the Roman Empire worked, and on the civic life in the eastern provinces, which cannot be matched from any other source. Acts is also our only source for the beginning of the process by which Christianity was transformed from a Jewish sect into a new religion, with a well-established structure, its own sacred literature and a distinctive form of religious cult. This companion to the New English Bible translation takes Acts seriously as history, testing its accuracy against other sources, and uses it to give a clear picture of what life in the Roman Empire was like for at least one group of its subjects.
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