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Three thoughts on commentaries on Luke and Acts

Three thoughts on commentaries on Luke and Acts

I spent a lot of time with Luke-Acts the past few years, including with many of its commentators. Here are three random thoughts from recent reflection:

  1. Howard Marshall’s NIGTC Luke commentary from 1978 is still one of the most useful commentaries for quickly thumbing to a specific passage and finding the major issues laid out. And he did it in one volume. Of course, interaction with secondary literature is quite out of date now.
  2. Craig Keener’s massive four volume Acts commentary (Baker) is so large and its pace so unpredictable that navigating to a specific passage or issue takes much longer than it should, making it frustrating to use as a commentary. Part of the problem is the way its contents are presented, which I mention in an RBL review here. However, its exhaustiveness makes it indispensable. I suspect this is a commentary one may prefer to have electronically for navigation and searching.
  3. John Carroll’s relatively recent Luke commentary (NLT)—which I reviewed in three parts (the first here)—has grown on me, becoming one of my favourite less-technical ones due to Carroll’s knack for tracking and summarising literary and theological threads.
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One Response to Three thoughts on commentaries on Luke and Acts

  1. Thanks Josh, this gels with some of what I think too, and I do definitely appreciate John Carroll’s commentary. One of the things I think deserves a note in relation to the common offerings of commentaries on Luke (and Acts) is that commentaries by women are so rarely considered. Part of this is because the major commentary series are dominated by authors who are men, and part of it is because of the focus on old debates in Luke that have people coming back to Haenchen (who, admittedly, is good on many things), Conzelmann on Acts, and simply some quite old commentaries in general and/or those who follow in those traditions. There are some women scholars I would hold up, though, who have written commentaries on Luke or Acts, including Judith Lieu, Amy-Jill Levine, and Beverley Gaventa. I wonder how we get some of these voices more commonly into the conversation. Thanks for your work in prompting this discussion!

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