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Keener’s Mega-Commentary on Acts: Final Volume

October 20, 2015

Sometime back I mentioned Craig Keener’s mammoth commentary project on Acts, a work amounting to some 3 million words, he says, appearing in massive volumes over the last few years.  Volume 4 has just appeared, completing the project and commenting on Acts 24:1–28:31 in 431 pages, the remainder of the volume a list of Works Cited (primary and secondary sources, 301 pages), and then indexes of subjects, authors, and ancient sources (another 370 pages):  Craig Keener, Acts:  An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 4:  24:1–28:31 (Grand Rapids:  Baker Academic, 2015).  Replete with numerous endorsements, including some from those who disagree with some of his views, this volume completes what must be the largest commentary on any individual New Testament writing.

Keener’s particular interest and emphasis is on noting any possible reference in classical texts that may in one way or another help shed light on the Acts text.  This is the emphasis that he has pursued in his previous commentaries on other NT writings too.  But the work is foremost a commentary on Acts, and so Keener engages in the exegetical task, conducting his discussion with impressive knowledge also of other scholarly work on Acts.  In the midst of trying to complete a much more modest-sized book myself, I haven’t the time now to do the perusal of Kenner’s latest volume necessary for a critical review of it.  But it is surely now an important resource for any other scholar working on Acts.  And Keener writes clearly and accessibly, making it possible for wider circles of serious readers/students of the NT to benefit from his work.

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  1. Donald Jacobs permalink

    I wonder does he talk much about the ambiguous use of ‘Lord’ throughout the text? Where readers often find it difficult to be clear who is being referenced, God or Jesus.

    • Curiously (to my mind), Keener doesn’t really engage this matter. In Vol 1, pp. 500-503, he discusses “Jesus as God’s Agent of Salvation,” and mentions there that “Kyrios” is used as a title for Jesus and for God in various texts, but he doesn’t seem to address the ambiguity involved, perhaps especially seen in Luke-Acts. So, e.g., in Acts 13:2, what “Kyrios” is being worshipped there? Keener doesn’t raise or comment on this question. In an essay published recently, I’ve noted how the (deliberately) ambiguous Lukan use of “Kyrios” seems to have created questions for ancient readers, producing some interesting instances of textual variation. The pre-publication version here:

  2. Many scholars denigrate Acts as a source of information on say, Paul, However, for various reasons I regard it as no more or less reliable than any other part of the Bible. And I therefore welcome a good, lengthy survey of the text.

    Thank you for your continuing coverage of recent, cite-able works.

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