The Acts of the Apostles

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
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Like Ben Witherington's previous commentary Conflict and Community in Corinth, this commentary breaks fresh ground in providing a detailed social and rhetorical analysis of the book of Acts.

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.
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About the author

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
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Additional Information

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
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Published on
Dec 31, 1998
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Religion / Biblical Commentary / New Testament
Religion / Biblical Criticism & Interpretation / New Testament
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Ben Witherington III
In a sermon on St. Paul’s conversion, Charles Kingsley Barrett, better known

as C. K. Barrett, shows us how he views preaching. He says:

There is a difference between a sermon, on the one hand, and a lecture

or essay on the other. A sermon is not simply a public address on

a religious subject; it is not simply an exposition of a passage of Scripture.

It is these things, yet if it really is a sermon and not a lecture, it is

something else too. It is a means by which God himself speaks to us.1 This

is not an event the preacher can command or arrange. It is independent

of his learning, his eloquence, his enthusiasm. But it does happen,

and it is the only raison d’etre of preaching.

Preaching, for C. K. Barrett, is not merely the conveying of information

or even an exercise in transformation, but an encounter with the living voice

of God speaking quite directly to the individual listener through the proclaimed

Word. That is, God uses proper preaching to speak to us, sometimes

with the help of the preacher, and sometimes even in spite of the inadequacies

of the preacher.

According to James Dunn’s memoir, C. K. Barrett (1917–2011) will be long

remembered as the “finest English language commentator on the New Testament

in the twentieth century.” Dunn goes on to say, “As the commentator

who mastered the central section of the New Testament—the Gospel

of John, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s letter to Rome and his letters to

Corinth, all of them served with weighty commentaries—Kingsley Barrett

surpassed his contemporaries.” (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British

Academy, XII, 3–21. © The British Academy 2013.)

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