Fads And Common Sense: Reading Acts In The First Century And Reading Acts Today -- By: Eckhard J. Schnabel

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 54:2 (Jun 2011)
Article: Fads And Common Sense: Reading Acts In The First Century And Reading Acts Today
Author: Eckhard J. Schnabel

Fads And Common Sense: Reading Acts In The First Century And Reading Acts Today

Eckhard J. Schnabel*

* Eckhard Schnabel is professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015.

As research and writing on the Book of Acts continue apace, a good number of scholars voice their discontent with traditional exegetical methods, implying or suggesting that newer methods promise more fruitful results of reading the NT in general and the Book of Acts in particular. I divide the discussion about method into six areas: (1) historical analysis; (2) literary, rhetorical, and narrative analysis; (3) sociological analysis; (4) feminist approaches; (5) post- colonial approaches; (6) canonical and theological interpretations; (7) synthetic interpretation: combination of methods.

These methodological approaches can be connected with collections of essays. The collection entitled The Social World of Luke-Acts: Models for Interpretation edited in 1991 by Jerome Neyrey1 presents sociological and cultural anthropological approaches to the study of Acts. The historical analysis of Acts was the focus of the five volumes of the project The Book of Acts in Its First Century Setting edited by Bruce Winter between 1993 and 1996.2 The collection entitled History, Literature, and Society in the Book of Acts edited by Ben Witherington in 19963 presents essays which adopt an eclectic methodological approach to the study of Acts, although the editor’s main concern is the historical dimension of Acts. The collection Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts edited by I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson in 19984 focuses on the theology of Acts. The collection Jesus and the Heritage of Israel: Luke’s Narrative Claim upon Israel’s Legacy edited by David Moessner in 19995 presents a narrative and intertextual reading of Acts with a strong theological interest. The collection entitled The Unity of Luke-Acts, edited by Jozef Verheyden also in 19996 emphasizes narrative and theological readings of Luke-Acts which underline the unity of the two-volume work. The collection Contextualizing

Acts: Lukan Narrative and Greco-Roman Discourse edited by Todd Penner and Caroline Vander Stichele in 2003 presents mostly rhetorical and socio- rhetorical approaches. The volume A F...

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