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Old Commentaries are Concise

Old Commentaries are Concise

I was just referencing Ernst Haenchen’s The Acts of the Apostles (transl. from 1965 German edition) and reminded once again of how concise some of the older commentators can be. It is refreshing, really.

It is for this reason I still prefer to consult I. Howard Marshall’s (1978) commentary on Luke often–He can say in half as many words (or less!) what some of the recent commentators attempt to say, commenting on most all of the important text-critical and redactional issues as well. In a conversation with Marshall a few years ago, he said that it was very much his goal to be concise. I later heard Marshall give a critique of Craig Keener’s enormous commentary on Acts partly because it ceases to function as a (traditional) commentary due inability to be concise. I have touched on that problem in my own RBL review of Keener’s commentary in that I mention how difficult it is to quickly thumb to a specific passage in the commentary.

I think there is room for both approaches, but I certainly welcome conciseness!

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