Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
FM 6:2 (Spring 1989) p. 94
Jerusalem, the Temple, and the New Age in Luke-Acts by J. Bradley Chance. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1988. xii + 151 pp. $24.95.
J. Bradley Chance’s work is an edition of his 1984 doctoral thesis done at Duke University Divinity School. This monograph is a well-written and well-documented piece of work. The question which Chance investigates is as follows: is Luke under the conviction that the eschatological age of salvation had dawned with the arrival of Jesus? Chance’s answer is, “Yes!” His book is in direct dialogue with Hans Conzelmann’s thesis that Luke, in fact, de-eschatologized the gospel tradition.
Chance unfolds his argument in logically sequenced chapters in which he discusses: (1) the eschatological expectations revolving around Jerusalem and the temple in Judaism and in the non-Lukan New Testament documents; (2) whether Luke tended to spiritualize the temple and transfer its functions to either Jesus or the church; (3) the role of the temple and Jerusalem in God’s salvation of Israel; (4) the role of the temple and Jerusalem in God’s salvation of the Gentiles; and (5) the role in the Gospel and Acts of the destruction of the temple. The author ends his investigation with a series of conclusions about the life-setting of the Lukan community. Chance musters a great deal of evidence from Rabbinic and Qumran sources for many of his ideas, and he assembles the data in a very readable fashion.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the book is the fact that the author (a professor at William Jewel College) shows a great deal of familiarity with both the Old and New Testaments. Throughout the book the author lists a great number of references to the Old Testament which indicate that Luke is drawing on prior traditions to illustrate his theological point. As he develops his thesis, Professor Chance habitually illustrates his ideas with information from the Old Testament and the Rabbis. In a day when biblical scholars believe they must specialize in either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament it is quite encouraging to find one who accepts the relevance of both for Christian life. In fact, in his concluding remarks he states “... by offering strong hints that Jerusalem, and perhaps even the temple, would one day experience a literal restoration, Luke indicates that those roots cannot ever be forgotten. God has not forgotten them, and neither should his people .... There exists a bond between Jew and Christian which, while it has been severed by Jewish rejection of God’s Messiah, will be restored when the ‘times of the Gentiles’ are completed” (p. 151).
This is a good book and should be given the attention it deserves. I heartily recommend it.
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