Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:1 (Spring 2017)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

[Electronic Edition Editor’s Note: The footnotes in the print edition restarted with each individual book review. In this edition they have simply been numbered consecutively. The original numbers have been retained within the body of the footnote text.]

The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology. By Osvaldo Padilla. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016. 264 pages. Paperback, $26.00.

Osvaldo Padilla is associate professor of New Testament at Beeson Divinity School. Two years before joining the faculty there, he earned a PhD at the University of Aberdeen (2006). His dissertation was “The Speeches of Opponents in the Acts of the Apostles: Their Function and Contribution to Lukan Historiography.” It became the gist of his first book, The Speeches of Outsiders in Acts: Poetics, Theology and Historiography (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology is Padilla’s second book. It consists of six chapters, ranging from seventeen to forty-eight pages. An introduction (eight pages) precedes the book’s body. A bibliography (227 entries/13 pages) and three indices (author, subject, and Scripture/six pages) follow it. Describing his work, Padilla writes, “It is an ‘advanced’ introduction” (13). Accordingly, it does not have a single thesis but two convictions that provide coherence.

Chapters 1–4: Historical

Luke is “a serious historian, who in the Acts of the Apostles has given us a wholly dependable portrait of the early church” (18).

Chapters 5–6: Theological

“The mighty works of God that are described in Acts cannot be understood unless they are explicated by God himself” (19).

Chapter 1 addresses the authorship of Acts. Padilla, supporting Luke as the author, presents four kinds of arguments: literary, exegetical, traditional, and consequential. He cites Papyrus 75, Against Heresies by Irenaeus, the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke, and the Muratorian Fragment. He notes that Irenaeus quoted the “we” passages of Acts as well as two epistles of Paul (Col 4:14; 2 Tim 4:9–10). He then refers to recent research by Claus-Jürgen Thornton and Martin Hengel, both of whom appealed to early traditions.1 Hengel’s extensive review of literature from the Greco-Roman period reveals that writings rarely circulated anonymously, therefore countering the long-standing assumption of New Testament scholarship about the gospels. Padilla closes with the sig...

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