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Luke–Acts & New Testament Historiography

Luke–Acts & New Testament Historiography, by Joel B. Green and Michael C. McKeever. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994. 148 pp.

     Joel Green and Michael McKeever have gathered together in one book a collage that provides the professional and nonprofessional alike a ready catalogue of important scholarly material related to the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. While this is an attempt to assist the scholar with keeping in touch with the mountains of material that is available for research, in doing so, they have also provided the laypersons with a means to focus their personal research efforts toward appropriate concrete material. The five hundred and seventeen articles selected and described by Green and McKeever are those they felt most significant for American and British scholars and laypersons. Unfortunately, the series imposes a 5 percent limit on titles not translated into English, which means that significant foreign titles are not mentioned directly. The authors overcome this restriction by introducing fifteen titles related to bibliographies, surveys and histories of research, thus providing the inquisitive researcher with additional research avenues. While the authors admit that there may be some overlap with a proposed volume on the Synoptic Gospels, they intentionally have limited their collection to those titles dealing with narrative, theology, genre, and historical issues, leaving the tradition-historical issues to the Synoptic Gospels volume.

     One nice touch for the layperson and scholar alike are the introductory comments, where Green and McKeever provide a quick overview for the chapter beginning with chapter three. While chapters one and two did not have this introduction, being chapters on bibliographies and commentaries, it was not needed. However, the authors did not devote the same level of explanation on each chapter. For instance, chapter seven on The History and Nature of Historiography could have been a bit more detailed. While we all recognize that the "… linguistic, aesthetic, ideological, and social forces which come to bear on the configuration and interpretation of history have not been fully integrated within the discipline" (p. 91), this topic could have received additional discussion, especially for the layperson, since even they acknowledged this area has a fervent ongoing debate. One resource that I expected to have seen in this general area was R. G. Collingwood's The Idea of History (1956), which while slightly dated is still a wonderful introduction to historiography. Another nice touch was the insertion of short introductions to subsections within the chapters where appropriate. This will be very much appreciated by those readers not totally familiar with the works cited and would allow decisions concerning the appropriateness to the subject matter being researched.

     Overall, I found the book extremely valuable and one that is a welcome addition to my personal library; one that I am sure will be consulted many times in the future.

Donald C. McNeeley, Church and Bible Research Group