Shorter Reviews -- the Speeches in Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns by Marion L. Soards

Article excerpt

The Speeches in Acts: Their Content, Context, and Concerns, by Marion L. Soards. Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, 1994. 218 pp. $22.99 (paper). ISBN 0-664-25221-4.

SOARDS ARGUES that the speeches in Acts function to enhance, if not to create, narrative unity. After a detailed examination of thirty-six "speeches," including some brief passages, he discusses their relation to Greco-Roman historiography, the LXX, and other Hellenistic Jewish writings, noting both similarities and important differences. The book concludes with a recapitulation of thematic outlines and an analysis of such key themes as divine authority, providence, and witness, as well as a fresh proposal regarding the Lukan understandings of time and history. Through his minute investigation, Soards highlights the element of repetition in these addresses, a quality that has some affinities with deuteronomic history but little in common with ancient historiography. Luke works with a spiral rather than with a linear "theology of history" in order to relate past to present. Contra Conzelmann, there is no "time of Jesus" distinct from that of the church, for the effect of Jesus continues. …