The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation - Vol. 2

The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation - Vol. 2

The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation - Vol. 2

The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts: A Literary Interpretation - Vol. 2


Demonstrates how the repetitions of ideas and formal structures function both to reinforce concepts and to achieve ideological progression.

"In this 'new kind of commentary,' Tannehill eschews discussion of the historical questions that interpreters of Acts have regarded as central. . . . Acts is studied as a story that uses particular literary techniques to influence its readers. . . . The work will stand alongside more traditional commentaries on Acts for many years to come. It will be of great value to scholars, pastors, and students alike."

--Susan R. Garrett

Journal of Biblical Literature

"This volume follows plot order with attention to a wide range of narrative dynamics . . . These different perspectives provide some fresh views of Acts not readily available in standard historical-critical commentaries. . . . With its companion first volume, it must be consulted for any serious narrative study of Luke-Acts."

--William S. Kurz, S. J

Catholic Biblical Quarterly


The Acts of the Apostles is full of dramatic events, yet it has failed to capture the interest of many modern readers. There are both confessing Christians and uncommitted students of Christian origins who regard Acts as a backwater, taking them out of the main currents swirling around Jesus and the historical Paul. Indeed, some people who are very attracted to the portrait of Jesus in Luke find Acts to be strange territory. of course, there are important religious movements to which these remarks do not apply. Protestant evangelicals find in Acts a powerful affirmation of what the church can be if it truly accepts its mission to evangelize the world. Pentecostals find in Acts an affirmation of their own experience of the Spirit. Evangelicals and Pentecostals are not wrong in pointing out the importance of evangelism and experiences of the Spirit in Acts, but Acts could be of considerable interest to people who identify with neither of these religious movements. Explaining this point requires some further comment on Acts and the modern church before we begin the hard work of detailed interpretation.

Acts should be personally interesting to members of groups united by a mission. If some in the modern church find Acts strange and irrelevant, this reaction may in part reflect the church's loss of a clear and compelling mission. in this situation Acts may serve to glorify past heroes, but it does little more. However, groups fired by a mission—such as those Latin American Christians who feel called to liberate the poor—will find much that reflects and clarifies their experience. Experiences of surprising power, radical new understandings of the religious heritage, conflict with established authorities, and martyrdom—all of these are foreign to a church that fits comfortably into the status quo but not to a movement with a mission that sets it at odds with its context. These experiences follow from the call to mission. They are central features of the narrative in Acts.

Honesty may require an establishment church to recognize that it cannot directly identify with the central figures of Acts. Indeed, the establishment church may frequently act in opposition to new prophetic movements such as the mission described in Acts. Recognition of the . . .

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