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The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) Paperback – December 2, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

For anyone interested in the origins of Christianity, Joseph A. Fitzmyer's "The Acts of the Apostles is indispensable. Beginning with the Ascension of Christ into heaven, and ending with Paul proclaiming the kingdom of God from a prison in Rome, this New Testament narrative picks up where the Gospel of Luke left off. The Acts of the Apostles is indeed a journey of nearly epic proportions--and one that requires a guide as adept as Fitzmyer.
Since Acts was most likely written by the same person who composed the Gospel of Luke, it is only fitting that the Anchor Bible Commentaries on these New Testament books should be written by the same author. With "The Acts of the Apostles, Fitzmyer gives readers the long-awaited companion to his two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (December 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300139829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300139822
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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`The Acts of the Apostles' in the Anchor Bible series, by distinguished Jesuit scholar, Joseph Fitzmyer, is one of the better commentaries on Acts I have read (with the understanding that I have certainly not seen all those done in the last 25 years, especially the very highly regarded one by Ben Witherington. Fitzmyer's volume has an advantage shared with several others, in that the same author has also done a commentary on the Gospel of Luke, written by the same ancient writer who wrote Acts.
I was quite surprised to discover that this work was but one volume long, since `Acts' is almost as long as the Gospel. The reason is as mundane as an editorial judgment by senior editors at Doubleday, the publisher of the Anchor Bible series. Oddly enough, the foreshortened perspective this forced on the author may actually have been a very good thing for non-professional readers. That is, pastoral and lay readers, who may be using the book as part of a Bible study series. Fitzmyer left out much discussion on the wide range of opinions on many issues which, for the non-scholarly user is largely a waste of time.
In spite of this loss, Fitzmyer still provides one of the most valuable resources, the detailed bibliographies after each pericope, giving sources of opinions in interpreting the text. Fitzmyer also includes several features which one does not find very often, and which are revealing, even if you do not read them in depth. The first is the complete text of his own translation of `Acts'. This is an excellent feature, as one suggestion all advisors on Bible reading agree on is that it is wise to read the entire book through before digging into the details of individual verses and pericopes. It is unusual for him to do this, as he did not do it in his two volume treatment of `Luke'.
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The Anchor series as a whole rarely ever disappoints as far as the authors and size of the commentaries that they put together. This commentary by Joseph Fitzmeyer fits this mold perfectly.

The only drawback that I found to be with the commentary was that it felt like Fitzmeyer could have put more of his own voice into it. He does an amazing job of gathering resources and interacting with almost everything that he mentions, but it felt, at times, he could have expanded upon his own thoughts a bit more. Please do not get me wrong, this is an excellent commentary. Especially if you are looking for a commentary that is going to give you all of the facts without an exegete trying at every turn to force their own specialized understanding of the text upon you.

If you are looking for a solid, approachable, and scholarly commentary on Acts you cannot go wrong with Fitzmeyer's Anchor Commentary. If you want something that has as much information but may be slightly less conservative in regard to the author sharing their own views on some of the more ticklish verses in the book, I would suggest taking a look at Bock's Baker Commentary. Or, you could always purchase both.

Overall, probably the most accessible of the higher level commentaries that will show you the standard approach to the Book of Acts. A perfect starting point.
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Format: Paperback
If you plan to do a serious, in-depth study of the book of Acts without side-stepping the intellectual arguments, Fitzmyer's book on it is a virtually-essential starting point. He seems to have read everything that has been written by anyone on Acts, and gives detailed summaries of their arguments, followed by full bibliographic information.

I was surprised to discover that in this book all Greek text is printed only in a Roman lettering transcription, when one really would have expected the Greek alphabet to be used for a book of this standing. In amazing contrast to this, a Norwegian source is quoted in the original language and without a translation. With theological works of a certain academic level (which this book presumably purports to be), quotations from German are often not translated, on the (arrogant? unreasonable?) assumption that any serious theologian will be able to read German - but no Norwegian would be offended if his words were translated for speakers of other languages - especially in a book where Greek quotations are always translated into English (except for re-quotations of words and phrases from a verse that has been translated at the beginning of the same section).

Fitzmyer deals with textual and theological problems, instead of pretending (as do some commentaries) that such problems do not exist. An example of this is his discussion of the circumcision of Timothy as recorded in Acts 16:3 (cf. Fitzmyer pp 573-575). However, the best treatment of this is - as is often the case - in F.F. Bruce's book on Acts.
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Fitzmyer's commentary in the Anchor Yale Bible series replaces the one that Johannes Munck wrote for the original Anchor Bible. Fitzmyer corrects many of the deficits that Munck's had, providing in-depth analysis of the text as well as historical and exegetical materials. His review of other commentaries' strengths and weaknesses are usually insightful (though dated since this came out in 1999). This is an invaluable reference for Bible study and preaching, yet accessible to those with no Greek.
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