The Catholic University of America

 Wenxi Zhang

Final Examination of Rev. Wenxi Zhang

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

April 26, 2010 at 3:10 p.m., Caldwell Room 125


Frank J. Matera, Ph.D.


Paul among Jews: A Study of the Meaning and Significance of Paul’s Inaugural Sermon in the Synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:16-41) for His Missionary Work among the Jews

This dissertation studies the meaning and significance of Paul’s inaugural sermon at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:16-41) in order to understand its literary function in Paul’s ministry among Jews according to the Acts of the Apostles. 

In chapter one, I provide a history of research of the speeches in Acts in general and Paul’s inaugural speech in particular (Acts 13:16-41).  I conclude that since this is Paul’s inaugural sermon, a study of the literary function of Jesus’ and Peter’s inaugural sermons may shed some light on the literary function of Paul’s inaugural sermon.

In chapter two, I study the literary function of Jesus’ inaugural sermon at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30), and in chapter three I analyze Peter’s inaugural sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40).  I conclude that both sermons have a parallel literary function in the narrative of Luke-Acts and are significant for understanding the ministries of Jesus and Paul in Luke-Acts.

In chapter four, I examine Paul’s inaugural sermon, noting that the full content of his preaching is reserved for his inaugural sermon.  In this sermon, he argues from the Scriptures that God fulfilled his promise to David by raising Jesus from the dead.  In chapter five, I investigate, from a narrative critical point of view, the literary function of Paul’s inaugural sermon in relation to the narration of his ministry to Israel in Acts.

In chapter six, I draw two conclusions from my study of Paul’s inaugural sermon.  First, Paul’s inaugural sermon has a significant literary function for understanding his ministry to Israel in Acts; namely, this sermon functions as the model for how Paul regularly preaches to Jews in Acts.  Thus, it unifies the different narratives of Paul’s ministry among Jews in Acts.  Second, through this inaugural sermon and its related narrative, Luke demonstrates that Paul is a missionary to both Jews and Gentiles in the Acts of the Apostles.