dinsdag 29 januari 2013

Review of: Mickeal C. Parsons, Acts (PAIDEIA), Baker Academic, 2008

Mickeal C. Parsons, Acts (PAIDEIA), Baker Academic, 2008

Review in: The Expository Times 2009 121: 96
Review door: Paul Foster
Gevonden op: http://ext.sagepub.com/content/121/2/96.2.full.pdf+html

Mickeal C. Parsons, Acts (Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008. $27.99. pp. xxv + 438. ISBN 9780801031885).

Parson has contributed the volume on Acts to the recently commenced Paideia series. His approach depends heavily on the insights of rhetorical criticism, and throughout he seeks to bridge the knowledge gap for those unfamiliar with the terminology and methods of this approach. Apart from discussion of ancient literary conventions, Parsons also seeks to integrate insights from the social sciences as a means of elucidating the themes and narrative of Acts. This work compliments Parsons’ co-authored (with Martin Culy) treatment of the Greek text of Acts (Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Waco: Baylor, 2003)).

In his introduction Parsons provides a brief summary of the trends in scholarship dealing with Acts over the last twenty to thirty years. He discusses the author of this work in relation to his ethnic identity, his function as a theologian and historian, and the way in which he demonstrates his adeptness in practicing the rhetorical craft. The unique issue that attend the variant textual forms of Acts are briefly discussed, but Parsons’ clearly articulates that this treatment will focus primarily on the Alexandrian tradition. Parsons’ carefully explains the difficulties in dating Acts, and tentatively suggests placing ‘the date of the publication of Acts at about ad 110’ (p. 17).The introduction also discusses the intended audience and the structure of Acts.

Parsons’ approach in the commentary section can be illustrated by looking closely at the treatment of  Acts 3:14:31 as representative. This section is headed ‘The Healing of a Lame Man’. Under introductory matters the focus falls on three issues. First, there is a brief statement concerning ‘questions of historicity’. Parsons appreciates that opinion is shaped by the worldview of a particular commentator, but helpfully represents the sceptical view of Lüdemann, Hemer’s defence of the historicity of miracles and Talbert’s mediating position. Next there is a discussion of the purported medical terminology employed. Thirdly, the literary structure of this section is discussed and also illustrated with a series of diagrammatic representations. The  actual exegesis of the passage is the focus of this section (pp. 5567). Throughout there are diagrams and highlighted boxes discussing the narrative flow, the rhetorical features such as commutation and expolitio (refining), a structural outline, Bede’s interpretation of the healing, and the place of smaller sub-sections in the wider narrative flow. After this detailed exegesis, the focus shifts to theological issues – here the issue of covenant is the central concern (pp. 6771).

This volume is a very helpful and rich treatment of the texts of Acts. It advances the aims of the Paideia series and should be of great benefit to students and scholars alike.

School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

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