Acts: A Commentary
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Acts: A Commentary

Westminster John Knox Press / 2016 / Hardcover

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Product Description

In a magnificent retelling of Luke's account of the continuation of the life-transforming events of Jesus, Lord and Christ, into the development of the early Christian church comes Carl R. Holladay's Acts: A Commentary. Holladay's commentary is theologically rich and steeped in narrative analysis that understands the high level of literary style as an expression of the theological content and the telling of the Christian origin. This volume from the New Testament Library offers pastors, scholars, and people of faith with a theological, contextual, and literary interpretation and in-depth critical commentary on the book of Acts.

About the Series

The New Testament Library offers authoritative commentary on every book and major aspect of the New Testament, as well as classic volumes of scholarship. The commentaries in this series provide fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, offer critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, pay careful attention to their literary design, and present a theologically perceptive exposition of the text. The editorial board consists of C. Clifton Black, Princeton Theological Seminary; M. Eugene Boring, Brite Divinity School; and John T. Carroll, Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 672
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.75 X 5.88 (inches)
ISBN: 066422119X
ISBN-13: 9780664221195
Series: New Testament Library

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Author Bio

Carl R. Holladay is Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament at Emory University. He is the author of several books and coauthor of Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook, published by Westminster John Knox Press. He is the 2016-17 President of the Society of New Testament Studies.

Editorial Reviews

"Professor Holladay's reputation for precision while simultaneously entertaining his audiences with spellbinding episodes from the past continues unabated in his magnificent retelling of Luke’s account of the continuation of the life-transforming events of Jesus, Lord and Christ, into the movement of his apostles from the center of Jewish faith in Jerusalem to the vortex of the nations in Rome. In his own inimitable way, Carl Holladay combines accuracy of description in summoning events and personages and cultural-classical texts critical to Luke's telling, while at the same time extracting with magnetic-like force their importance in the much larger theological-missional intent of Luke's interactive narrative arc. As a highly skilled historian, Holladay enables the lasting significance of Luke’s kerygmatic message to present itself from within the historical-literary-cultural contexts that he highlights so well. His new telling will soon become the commentary of choice for scholars of antiquity and people of faith."
—David P. Moessner, A. A. Bradford Chair of Religion, Texas Christian University




"Based on a lifetime of reading Acts and texts from both the Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds, Carl Holladay has produced a commentary on both Acts and the world in which it was set. This is erudition devoted to a contemporary reader. It is historical-critical scholarship at its very best. I highly recommend it to all who take the text seriously."
—Gregory E. Sterling, The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean and Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School



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  1. The Geeky Calvinist
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Wonderful Commentary
    April 18, 2017
    The Geeky Calvinist
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Acts: A Commentary is written by Carl R. Holliday and published by Westminster John Knox Press is one of the well written modern commentaries on this book of the Bible. Acts: A Commentary is the most recent volume of The New Testament Library, a scholarly series renounced for its thoroughness, this volume continues this legacy. While Holliday is no stranger to commentaries, yet this is his first volume in this series on scripture. This volume is one of the most through without being too dense. It is relatively short for a commentary one Acts yet Holidays commendable scholarship makes up for any perceived lack with regard to size. Furthermore while I disagree with some of the conclusions that Holliday draws yet he is consistent in his presuppositions and his arguments.

    Acts: A Commentary begins with the typical study into the introductory matters of this book of the Bible, yet while introductions are common; this introduction is atypical of most commentaries. It is not that this work does dive into history and recent scholarship, which Acts: A Commentary does a phenomenal job of rather; it is the thoroughness that Holiday takes with these introductory matters which makes this commentary atypical. In a day where these matters are either glossed over to get to the exegesis of the text or are so cumbersome that they become useless, Holiday though has found a good balance in being thorough, communicating depth and attention to recent scholarship, without losing the forest in the trees.

    In reference to the commentary on the text of this book of history, Holiday takes painstaking care in carefully showing the original context of passage while sprinkling practical application to the reader throughout the textual commentary. Yet while this commentary can be technical it is not so overtly technical that it obscures the helpfulness of the commentary.

    With regard of recommending Acts: A Commentary, to others I would recommend this commentary to scholarly students of scripture. By this I mean I recommend this work to Pastors, Scholars, Bible Teachers, Bible College Students, and Seminary Students, there is enough academic weight to this text to understand a particularly issue in the text while giving aid to pastors in preaching the text. For a Pastor who is more on the conservative side I would recommend this commentary in tandem with a commentary which examines the book of Acts from said point of view.

    This book was provided to me free of charge from Westminster John Knox Publishing in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

    Acts: A Commentary: The New Testament Library

    2016 by Carl R. Holiday

    Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

    Page Count: 608 Pages

    ISBN: 9780664221195
  2. Paul Smith
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Mixed Bag
    February 27, 2017
    Paul Smith
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    "Acts: A Commentary" is definitely a mixed bag of goodies. The introductory material is by far the best part of the commentary. Holladay has prepared a serious work on the book of Acts, and his scholarship is evident. Also, not often mentioned by scholars is the love they have for their subject. Holladay lets the reader know that this is no esoteric journey through exegetical minutiae. There is genuine affection in this work.

    However, I was just slightly disappointed in the commentary itself. I do appreciate the author's own translation and his text-critical notes. I believe this is a major weakness of many commentaries - if the author cannot prepare his/her own translation of the text, why is he/she offering his/her expertise of the subject? So, this is a definite strong point of the commentary. On the other hand, many sections of the text are dealt with in a superficial manner, or not at all. Just one case in point (although, admittedly a minor one.) I was looking forward to the author's take on the stoning of Paul in ch. 14 - but the episode is passed over with hardly any notice. The same can be said of many points where the reader wishes there was much more detail in the treatment of thorny or simply curious accounts.

    Another small issue I have is Holladay's willingness to attribute everything to Luke. I understand that Luke, following convention, more than likely framed some of the speeches in Acts in a certain way. But to state that Luke *created* the speeches is to go too far. Luke himself was careful to record that he researched his subject carefully, and while I do not believe he provided the speeches as verbatim accounts of what was spoken, I have no doubts but that Stephen and Peter and Paul spoke, and Luke transmitted. I guess my quibble is more with the suggestion that Luke was the creator of the speeches, and perhaps that is not what Dr. Holladay is saying.

    Definitely a commentary worth owning, particularly in regard to the introductory section, and in the translation and text-critical comments. The actual "comments" are a mixed bag, however.
  3. Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting New Commentary on Acts!
    February 24, 2017
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Carl Holladay has produced the latest volume in the New Testament Library series. The Book of Acts has had several major commentaries in the last few years, but this one shoots more at being a midsized commentary. Theres a little over 500 pages for the entire Book of Acts. Though NTL is known for being more from the critical camp, I found it more conservative than I expected. In addition, I found it helpful.

    Though the commentary as a whole is midsized, he provided a major introduction in 70 pages. Frankly, it was a joy to read. Even if I didnt agree on every point, I appreciated the clear writing. He is not antagonistic to Luke being the author and he can accept a more conservative date though he would only be nailed down to a rather large range of dates. For sure, I was more confident of the historical trustworthiness of the history Luke provided than Mr. Holladay was.

    Scholars will love his detailed description of the textual history of Acts that covered several pages, though that will be the least interesting part of the Introduction to most pastors. I became very interested again when he discussed the literary structure. His discussion of the speeches in the Book of Acts was outstanding including theology and purpose of the speeches. His explanation of the use of witness and use of the Old Testament was helpful. The final section of the narrative unity of Luke-Acts was thought-provoking. Again, I found much food for thought about what the Book of Acts seeks to accomplish.

    The commentary proper was briefer than some of the other major commentaries I use, but still included several creative thoughts and every passage I reviewed.

    This book might not be the first commentary I turn to when studying Acts, but it is one I will be checking in future studies. I predict this may become one of the more respected volumes in the series.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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