Osvaldo Padilla has put students and professors in his debt with this lucid and wide-ranging 'advanced introduction' to Acts. He shows a fine grasp of Acts itself and the extensive scholarly discussion over the last two hundred years. He identifies the key points at issue in the debates and provides accessible and well-thought-out assessments that guide readers clearly through the forest of opinions. He addresses issues that particularly concern readers who hold a 'high view' of Scripture and want to relate historical claims to faith. His concluding chapter, engaging with the justification of truth claims as expounded in post-liberalism, is fresh and provocative, showing a thoughtful and nuanced understanding of the claims that Acts makes as part of Christian Scripture. A valuable and helpful book.
St. Mary's University, Twickenham, London
It is rare to find a work that blends epistemological, hermeneutical and historiographic sophistication with mature handling of the extensive primary and secondary literature, but this is such a work. Padilla's introduction to questions of the authorship and genre of Acts and the character of its speeches is a superbly informed and trustworthy guide.
F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
This study of the book of Acts presents Luke not only as author but also as exemplary historian, storyteller and theologian. Luke's three-stranded cord of authorial discourse is on conspicuous display in his composition of Peter's, Stephen's, Philip's and Paul's speeches. Where other textbooks often focus on the narratives in Acts (e.g., Pentecost) and the practices of the early church, Padilla highlights the speeches in Acts and their continuing significance, going beyond the call of New Testament duty by dialoguing with postliberal theologians and asking whether they can do justice to the speeches in Acts and in particular their truth claims. The result is an introductory text that not only illumines the book of Acts, but also encourages Christians today to 'act out the acts of the apostles' (John Donne), to speak out their speech acts.
-Kevin J. Vanhoozer,
research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School