J. B. Lightfoot was perhaps the greatest New Testament exegete in the nineteenth-century English-speaking world, and his works remain useful today. The discovery of his previously unpublished research, which addresses in a balanced and informed way many issues still debated today, is an epochal event in New Testament studies.
Asbury Theological Seminary
To have Lightfoot on Acts is astonishingly valuable, for three reasons. First, Lightfoot is peerless among biblical commentators of his day, and shows a breadth of learning and understanding which always illuminates the text he comments on. Second, Lightfoot deals in this commentary with key issues that are current today in study of Acts, such as the text, the historical value of the Acts narrative, the speeches of Acts and the portrait of Paul. Third, this book enlarges our understanding of Lightfoot's massive scholarship; he is truly a giant among New Testament scholars, and to watch him work - as in this book on Acts - is an education in the questions to ask, approaches to take and ways to draw evidence from disparate sources together to produce a coherent whole. We are greatly in debt to Ben Witherington, Todd Still and their collaborators for bringing this material to light for our day.
Tyndale House, Cambridge
Everyone who has read J. B. Lightfoot's great commentaries on the letters of Paul wishes for more. Thanks to Ben Witherington's diligent search and editorial labors we now have more. What could be better? We are now in possession of Lightfoot's commentary on a substantial portion of the book of Acts, which will allow us to see more clearly how the bishop of Durham understood the circumstances in which Paul's letters were written. As we would expect, Lightfoot's comments on the text of Acts are rich with pertinent parallels from Greek and Latin authors. The publication of Lightfoot's long-lost commentary is momentous.
-Craig A. Evans,
When I was a seminary student, one of my professors had given a full explanation of a critical passage in Galatians when a student across the room asked aloud, 'So then, do you disagree with J. B. Lightfoot?' The professor, given to the well-timed pause, looked first to the right and then to the left and then ended the silence with the rhetorical question, 'What does a mouse say to a lion?' Lightfoot, indeed, is an exegetical lion, and this incredible discovery by Ben Witherington and now publication of fresh materials by Lightfoot will mean a whole new generation can be exposed to the stalking, roaring presence of the nineteenth century's finest exegete of the life of Paul.
Thanks to Witherington and his associates and to IVP for bringing this cache of material from the great J. B. Lightfoot into the public domain. His previously published works have remained important (his multivolume study of the apostolic fathers is essential for these writings), and this hitherto unpublished material will now also likely come to be seen as a valuable resource.
University of Edinburgh
Joseph Barber Lightfoot has been, for me, in many ways the epitome of what the commentator on New Testament and early church texts can and should aspire to. His detailed knowledge of the literature of the time was unsurpassed, and his ability to shed the light of that knowledge on the New Testament writings was without peer. His commentaries on New Testament texts and the early Fathers retain a relevance and a value to this day almost unique for nineteenth-century scholarship. That a fuller publication of his writings is now available in these volumes is a wonderful bonus for those who want to hear these New Testament and early church texts as they were first heard.
-James D. G. Dunn,
Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, University of Durham
The discovery of hitherto unknown exegetical works by J. B. Lightfoot is a rare gift, full of potential for fresh insight both about the man himself (acknowledged worldwide as the leading scholar of his day) and, as he would have wished, about texts which he knew so well and which themselves express the heart of the gospel. Hearty congratulations to finder, editor and publisher on an unexpected and exciting addition to the core library of seminal biblical studies.
-N. T. Wright,
University of St. Andrews, and former bishop of Durham
A profound debt of gratitude is owed to Professors Witherington and Still for relentlessly pursuing, recovering, and editing J. B. Lightfoot's notes on Acts. Harnack said it best: Lightfoot was a true liberal for he was 'an independent, free scholar . . . in the absolute sense of the word. He has never defended tradition for the tradition's sake.' We need more liberals like that today!
-Daniel B. Wallace,
Dallas Theological Seminary