John Kilgallen, «‘With many other words’ (Acts 2,40): Theological Assumptions in Peter’s Pentecost Speech», Vol. 83 (2002) 71-87
The complete effectiveness of Peter’s Pentecost speech implies that the Lucan audience, if not that of Peter, knows at least three assumptions that are needed to make the speech as logically convincing as possible. These three assumptions are: (1) that Jesus is physically Son of David; (2) that the kyrios of Ps 110,1 is the Messiah; (3) that only the titles ‘Son’ and ‘Father’ should be used when describing that it is Jesus who poured out the Spirit. As for Peter’s audience, the fact that Peter supported his speech with ‘many other words (arguments)’ might argue that his audience were introduced to these three assumptions. As for Luke’s audience, Luke 1,35 and its context play a major role in justifying the logic of this Pentecost speech.
the Infancy Narratives, already read by Theophilus, that Jesus is Son of David and Messiah. Luke could assume this knowledge about Jesus as regards his readers, and so need not repeat the argument in its favor once again. But this literary dependency of the opening speech of Acts upon the opening chapters of the Gospel, while it offers Theophilus vital information about the identity of Jesus, is of no value to Peter’s Pentecost argument, for the argument is addressed, not to people who know the Infancy Narratives, but to people who know only the public life of Jesus.
Peter’s Pentecost speech, however re-worked by Luke, would suggest that the audience knows only about the public life of Jesus. Acts 10,38-39 also suggests this. The Pentecost speech lays great weight upon Jesus’ powerful acts, his ‘signs and wonders and miracles’ (Acts 2, 22). No speech in Acts, however re-edited by Luke, shows awareness of the Davidic font Luke reveals in the beginning of his Gospel. This factor speaks both for the fidelity of Luke to early presentations of the person of Jesus, as well as for the great strides he made with his Infancy Narratives, but still leaves us with a lacuna in the argument that Jesus is Messiah because he is Son of David.
Indeed, one looks in vain in the public life of Jesus for an argument that Jesus is Son of David20. One might point to the one occasion on which Jesus is addressed as Son of David by a blind man (Luke 18,38.39), but this hardly explains how it is that Jesus can be called Son of David; certainly, it offers no argument that he comes from David. The only sure conclusion to draw in this matter is that Luke, in presenting the speech of Peter, must presume that his readers will know (and therefore not need to be shown) that Jesus of Nazareth is Jesus Son of David. The daring conclusion to be drawn is that, somehow in his ‘other words’ (Acts 2,40), Peter succeeds in showing that Jesus of Nazareth is born from David; but with what information would he have argued to the conclusion?
There is a lacuna, then, in Peter’s argumentation. To know that Jesus is Son of David will cap an already powerful argument that Jesus is Messiah of Israel; but, is Jesus of Nazareth the Son of David? He certainly is, if one knows Luke’s infancy narratives, but without them...