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Acts commentary (vol. 1) (Baker Academic)


Book of the month, Expository Times (August 2013); in Preaching's survey of best Bible reference works in 2013

“This first volume promises to be the inaugural component of the most comprehensive commentary on Acts to date. ...From now on, any exegesis of Acts will need to take into account this major work.”Daniel Marguerat, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

For anyone wanting to appreciate how Acts ‘worked’ in its original context and to get into the text at some depth, Keener will be indispensable and ‘first off the shelf.’”James D. G. Dunn, University of Durham

"His encyclopedic knowledge of ancient literature and his intelligent skill as an exegete make this a magisterial commentary.”Richard Bauckham, St. Andrews University; Ridley Hall, Cambridge

"...a monumental exegetical commentary”Fr. G. Claudio Bottini, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem

"Acts has now taken a new step forward ... the starting point for all Acts scholarship from now on!"--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary


More fully:

“This first volume promises to be the inaugural component of the most comprehensive commentary on Acts to date. Keener presents a socio-historical reading of the text with meticulous precision, and his knowledge of scholarly research is impressive. ... the documentation from ancient Jewish literature is exceptionally rich. Keener treats hermeneutical issues and the historical reliability of the text astutely and clearly. From now on, any exegesis of Acts will need to take into account this major work.”Daniel Marguerat, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

“Somewhat surprisingly, a social-historical approach to Acts still needs to be defended and its value demonstrated. No one does this betteris more informed about ancient literature, parallels, and precedents, and more interactively and fruitfully engaged with contemporary literature and issuesthan Craig Keener. In the Introduction (a monograph in itself), his treatment of the genre of Acts, especially his judicious discussion of the genre ‘novel,’ of the character of ancient historiography, and of the historical integrity and value of Acts, is unbeatable in today’s market. For anyone wanting to appreciate how Acts ‘worked’ in its original context and to get into the text at some depth, Keener will be indispensable and ‘first off the shelf.’”James D. G. Dunn, University of Durham

“Keener takes very seriously the claim of the book of Acts to be historiography. His encyclopedic knowledge of ancient literature and his intelligent skill as an exegete make this a magisterial commentary.”Richard Bauckham, St. Andrews University; Ridley Hall, Cambridge

“This book is a monumental exegetical commentary thanks to the amount of literary and social-historical information in it. Scholars and readers of the Acts of the Apostles will find it a precious source for consultation. In addition, Keener’s attention to the work of Luke-Acts and the comparison he draws with Paul’s letters will greatly profit those who are interested in the Third Gospel and the person of Paul.”Fr. G. Claudio Bottini, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem

“Craig Keener’s academic commentaries are among the most important in print, because they not only summarize former scholarship but also add so many new insights from primary literature of the time.”David Instone-Brewer, Tyndale House, Cambridge

“With a monograph-level introduction and solid, detailed use of background sources, Craig Keener has provided us with a rich gem of a commentary on Acts. One can use it and get a real sense of what this key work is all about.”Darrell L. Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

“Early Christianity developed in a complex and multifaceted context, one that Craig Keener masterfully presents in this socially and historically oriented commentary on Acts. As one has come to expect from Keener, there is thorough knowledge and use of the best and most important secondary literature in the areas of concern and abundant utilization of a wide range of ancient sources. This is a commentary that will continue to serve as a detailed resource for both scholars and students wishing to explore these crucial dimensions of the book of Acts.”Stanley E. Porter, McMaster Divinity College

"The Book of Acts is finally receiving its due among commentators, including those of Barrett, Fitzmyer, Dunn, Pervo ...but Acts has now taken a new step forward ... the starting point for all Acts scholarship from now on!"--Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary

“This commentary sets Acts in its ancient social and historical setting with so many parallels that Johann Jakob Wettstein would have congratulated Keener even on this first volume of four! Keener shows convincingly how broadly and deeply Acts participates in ancient Hellenistic and Jewish thinking. This meticulous reconstruction fits well with his deep insights on Lukan theology in Acts. Keener’s wide reading of scholarly discussion is stupendous and his introduction a monograph in itself. I expect this to be a marvelous, impressive, and inspiring commentary!”Manfred Lang, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg


Reviews include (excerpts):


  • “… by its sheer size and scope, Keener’s contribution … promises to be a marker around which subsequent scholarly currents will be required to navigate.”--Matthew Sleeman in Expository Times
  • “Keener’s finished commentary will dwarf other modern commentaries, if measured by the quantity of either in spilled or of citations of Greco-Roman texts. … the result of the careful, balanced work of a senior scholar. Any serious scholar will want to have this valuable commentary ready-to-hand.”--Daniel L. Smith in RBL
  • “a remarkable achievement. … a deep and extensive acquaintance with ancient Greco-Roman and Jewish literature, and the result is a rich, detailed commentary packed with abundant and useful information.”--Joseph Tyson in RBL
  • “a very valuable resource work that will surely be a point of reference for all future discussions about Acts”--Donald Senior in Bible Today 
  • Magisterial, meticulous, comprehensive, precise, impressively researched”--Joshua W. Jipp in BBR
  • a prolific and established commentator on the NT ...has authored what may prove to be the lengthiest and most thorough commentary on the Acts of the Apostles in the English language”--Guy Prentiss Waters in Themelios 
  • This work deserves to be one's main commentary on Acts.”--Joseph D. Fantin in Bibliotheca Sacra
  • For scholars of Acts, Keener’s encyclopedia is indispensable!”--Alan J. Thompson in Credo Magazine 
At slightly greater length:
  • Scot McKnight (Jesus Creed blog): “Acts has now taken a new step forward with the exhaustive (and exhausting) commentary by Craig S. Keener. . . . This will be the starting point for all Acts scholarship from now on!” 
  • Larry Hurtado’s blog: “To my knowledge … by far the largest single-author work on Acts to date. . . . Keener’s strong suit has always been his impressive acquaintance with the literary environment of the New Testament. … He is also remarkably thorough in citing other scholars … Anyone concerned with Acts is best advised to take account of this extensive study from a widely read and dedicated scholar 
  • Daniel L. Smith in RBL: “Keener’s finished commentary will dwarf other modern commentaries, if measured by the quantity of either in spilled or of citations of Greco-Roman texts. Beyond such metrics, Keener’s magnum opus is a rich resource that will serve Acts scholars for years to come … This volume is the result of the careful, balanced work of a senior scholar. Any serious scholar will want to have this valuable commentary ready-to-hand.”
  • Joseph Tyson in RBL: “By almost any measure, Craig Keener’s commentary on Acts is a remarkable achievement. … he is thoroughly engaged with a wide range of critical studies of Acts and related writings. Keener also brings to the study of Acts a deep and extensive acquaintance with ancient Greco-Roman and Jewish literature, and the result is a rich, detailed commentary packed with abundant and useful information. … I am unable to agree with many of his convictions about Acts but am compelled to admire his well-conceived and well-documented arguments and interpretations.”
  • Donald Senior in Bible Today: “At a time when some scholars raise serious questions about the historical value and sources of Acts and tend to date it later into the second century, Keener's prodigious work offers a closely reasoned and thoroughly documented argument for the historical worth of Acts, that is, "historical" judged by the canons of history prevalent in the ancient world. This is a very valuable resource work that will surely be a point of reference for all future discussions about Acts
  • Guy Prentiss Waters in Themelios: “a prolific and established commentator on the NT ...has authored what may prove to be the lengthiest and most thorough commentary on the Acts of the Apostles in the English language ...many of his introductory discussions are encyclopedic in scope and will enrich one's understanding not only of Acts but also of the world of the first century” 
  • Nick Mattiske in The Lutheran (Lutheran Church of Australia): “the book’s 600-page introduction is intriguing, even though Keener leaves no ancient manuscript unturned, setting Acts in its socio-historical setting”
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