Written in a readable style, with more detailed interaction with scholarly discussion found in the various excursuses, this commentary draws on the best new insights from a number of disciplines (narratological studies of Luke-Acts, archaeological and social scientific study of the New Testament, rhetorical analysis of Acts, comparative studies in ancient historiography) to provide the reader with the benefits of recent innovative ways of analyzing the text of Acts.
In addition there is detailed attention to major theological and historical issues, including the question of the relationship of Acts to the Pauline letters, the question of early Christian history and how the church grew and developed, the relationship between early Judaism and early Christianity, and the relationship between Christianity and the officials of the Roman Empire.
Acts is seen as a historical monograph with affinities with the approaches of serious Greek historians such as Thucydides and Polybius in terms of methodology, and affinities with some forms of Jewish historiography (including Old Testament history) in terms of content or subject matter.
The book is illustrated with various pictures and charts, which help to bring to light the character and setting of these narratives.
Written when the fledging Christian faith was experiencing a major crisis during the Jewish war, Mark provides us with the first window on how the life and teachings of Jesus were presented to a largely non-Jewish audience.
According to Witherington, the structure of Mark demonstrates that this Gospel is biographically focused on the identity of Jesus and the importance of knowing who he is--the Christ, the Son of God. This finding reveals that Christology stood at the heart of the earliest Christians' faith. It also shows how important it was to these earliest Christians to persuade others about the nature of Jesus, both as a historical figure and as the Savior of the world.
Utilizing a fresh "personality profile" approach, Witherington highlights core Christian claims by investigating the major figures in Jesus’s inner circle of followers: Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Peter, James the brother of Jesus, Paul, and the mysterious "beloved disciple." In each chapter Witherington satisfies our curiosities and answers the full range of questions about these key figures and what each of them can teach us about the historical Jesus. What Have They Done with Jesus? is a vigorous defense of traditional Christianity that offers a compelling portrait of Jesus’s core message according to those who knew him best.
In addition to the usual features of these commentaries, Witherington offers an innovative way of looking at Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon as interrelated documents written at different levels of moral discourse. Colossians is first-order moral discourse (the opening gambit), Ephesians is second-order moral discourse (what one says after the opening salvo to the same audience), and Philemon is third-order moral discourse (what one says to a personal friend or intimate). Witherington successfully analyzes these documents as examples of Asiatic rhetoric, explaining the differences in style from earlier Pauline documents. He further shows that Paul is deliberately engaging in the transformation of existing social institutions.
As always, Witherington's work is scholarly and engaging. With detailed "Closer Look" sections, The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians is perfect for the libraries of clergy, biblical scholars, and seminaries.
Revelation and the End Times unravels God’s message for our time. With his rich knowledge of and provocative insights into the New Testament, Ben Witherington will guide you into a deeper understanding of the truths found within Revelation's often mysterious text, so that you can feel more secure in your faith.
In this first full-scale socio-rhetorical commentary on Romans, Witherington gleans fresh insights from reading the text of Paul s epistle in light of early Jewish theology, the historical situation of Rome in the middle of the first century A.D., and Paul s own rhetorical concerns. Giving serious consideration to the social and rhetorical background of Romans allows readers to hear Paul on his own terms, not just through the various voices of his later interpreters. Witherington s groundbreaking work also features a new, clear translation of the Greek text, and each section of the commentary ends with a brief discussion titled Bridging the Horizons, which suggests how the ancient text of Romans may speak to us today.