Transcript of "Dating acts between the evangelists and the apologists"
2941 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians, By Victor Chapter Two discusses the range of time Paul Furnish. Abingdon New Testament in which Acts might have been written. Ac- Commentaries. Nashville: Abingdon cording to Pervo, Polycarp, writing in the Press, 2007. 204 pages. Paper. $20.00. fourth decade of the second century, may have known Acts, while Papias and Hege-Victor Furnishs commentary on the Thes- sippus show no knowledge of Acts. Whilesalonians letters is impressive. It covers all Marcion uses the Gospel of Luke, there is nocritically significant topics in clear fashion, evidence that he knew Acts. Pervo believese.g., the authenticity of 1 Thessalonians that Luke and Acts were written by the same2:13-16, the contemporary implications of 1 author, though the two works may have beenThessalonians 4:13-18, the authorship of 2 distant in time. Pervo accepts the terminus adThessalonians (he opts for pseudepigraphy), quern as 150, possibly 130.and the like. His comments also speak to the Chapter Three discusses the Septuagintcontemporary world, helpful to pastors pre- and the Gospel of Mark as sources for Acts.paring to preach or teach these letters and Chapter Four "Acts among the Apos-eminently comprehensible to lay people. I tles," the longest chapter (almost 100 pages)wish he had commented on the omission of deals almost exclusively with the Pauline let-the cross and resurrection in 2 Thessalonians; ters. It has always been a puzzle that Luke inChrist s significance there is entirely related to Acts does not mention the Pauline letters.the future. Pervo provides some evidence that Acts was This is a model of commentary writing familiar with the Pauline letters—althoughfor a broad audience. 1 Thessalonians pro- the parallels sometimes are very slight, e.g.,vides the second lesson for Propers 24-28 in between Acts 9:20 and Gal. 1:16 or betweenyear A. It is the second lesson for Advent 3 in Acts 2:33 and Gal. 3:14, to mention justyear B, while 2 Thessalonians is the second two. It is strange that Pervo believes that 2lesson for Propers 26-28 in year C. Corinthians was not composed or compiled Edgar Krentz before the last decade of the first century Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago or even later. Tables toward the end of the chapter provide a statistical summary of spe- cific passages.Dating Acts: Between the Evangelists and In Chapter Five, Pervo compares pas- the Apologists. By Richard I. Pervo. Po- sages from Luke/Acts with the writings of Jo- lebridge Press, 2006. xiv and 514 pages. sephus. Again, the similarities are very slight, Paper. $47.50. sometimes just names, but Pervo draws the definite conclusion that Luke is familiar withA long-time student of Acts, Richard Pervo Josephus, especially the closing books of thesubmits here the proposal that Acts was writ- Antiquities so that Acts must be written afterten about 115 C.E.— maintained in nine 93/4. He also deals briefly with the objec-chapters by all possible arguments. Whether tions to this theory.every reader of Acts and of this book will be In Chapters Six and Seven, Pervo turnsin agreement is another question. Appendix II to the Apostolic Fathers. He discusses thelists the various dates for the writing of Acts supposed parallels in interesting subhead-proposed by authors in scholarship from 56 (F. ings: Institutions and Organization; Lead-Blass) to 140 (J. Townsend); there is no agree- ership; Succession; etc. Again, the parallelsment among commentators and writers. are often very slight: shepherd, wolf, flock; Pervo in Chapter One discusses in gen- greed, faithful manager, righteousness anderal the issues and methods of investigating holiness, to name just a few from Chaptersources and determining a terminus a quo. Six. In Chapter Seven, he lists alphabeti-Throughout the book one finds tables in cally Greek terms which occur somewherewhich parallels to Acts to various other writ- in the Apostolic Fathers and in Acts. Ofings are tabulated. course, one might say that the large num-
295ber of these slight parallels cumulatively and other slight mistakes. Positively it mustshould be convincing, but how can one be stated that the whole work is permeated bywrite a Christian essay or sermon without Pervosfinesense of humor. Reading the bookmentioning some of these general terms? is a pleasure.According to Pervo, all these trends belong A main criticism pertains more to thein the first third of the second century. publisher than the author. The book has 90Before closing this chapter, Pervo takes a pages of notes, at the end of the book! It islook at the ending of Mark, Ephesians, the aggravating to have to turn back and forthPastoral Epistles, 1 Clement, Barnabas, the in order to read the notes, sometimes full ofDidache, and Polycarp. Pervos suggestion content, while perusing the main text. Whyhere is also that Acts is later than these writ- are these "foot"notes not printed at the footings. He concedes that it is possible that of each page to which they pertain? ThisPolycarp and Acts (following Haenchen) would improve the readability of the workboth work with a stock of contemporary tremendously.formulae held largely in common. Wilhelm C Linss In Chapter Eight, Pervo attempts to Lutheran School of Theology at Chicagoshow that Acts fits in the context of the firstdecades of the second century. He believesthat the organizations of bishop, presbyters, The Messiah in Early Judaism and Chris-and widows are anachronisms that show that tianity. Edited by Magnus Zetterholm.it must be a second century writing. Acts also Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. xxviireflects the separation of "Christianity" from and 163 pages. Paper. $18.00.Judaism. However, he concedes that thereis no definite proof in these "anachronisms" This book contains five lectures from a con-for this late date; they could very well be ex- ference at Lund University on messianism.plained as belonging to the late first century. John Collins surveys pre-Christian JewishHe also states that Acts uses similar argu- messianism, showing that the expectationsments as the Apologists. Particularly, Pervo were not uniform; Adela Yarbro Collins dealsargues against Hemers early date for Acts with Son of God as a messianic designationwith detailed statements. in the Synoptic Gospels; Magnus Zetterholm Chapter Nine (four pages) presents the argues that Paul downplays the Jewish aspectsconclusion reached by Pervo: because Acts ofJesus as the Messiah for his Gentile readers;uses the Pauline letters (see Chapter Four), Karin Hedner-Zetterholm shows how rab-it must be later than 100 when Pauls letters binic literature connects Elijah and the Mes-were first collected. Church organization: siah with Torah observance rather than with"Luke is a collaborator with the emergent apocalyptic expectations; and Jan-Eric Steppacatholic church." On the basis of all his inves- explores eschatological and Christological de-tigations, Pervo concludes that Acts should velopments in the post-apostolic church. Thebe dated c. 115, thus accounting best for the book serves as a comprehensive historical in-various social and ideological orientations of troduction to a subject often prone to mis-the book. taken assumptions from a Christian perspec- There are four interesting appendixes, as tive. Students, pastors, and anyone interestedwell as a list of works consulted, an index of in an up-to-date but non-technical review ofancient authorities, and an index of modern messianism will find this book very helpful. Aauthorities. map, timetable, and glossary add to the use- Although the arguments are well pre- fulness of the volume.sented, many of them are quite small matters David W.Kuckwhich even in accumulation do not necessar- United Theohgical Collegeily convince. However, there also is no fact Kingston, Jamaicawhich can unequivocally disprove Pervosopinion. The book is not free of misspellings
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