Bible Review 19:2, April 2003

Bible Books

A Modern Classic

The Acts of the Apostles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. Anchor Bible Series 31 (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 861 pp., $45.00

“A modern commentary in the classic style”—that’s how Joseph Fitzmyer describes his dense volume on the Acts of the Apostles in the highly respected Anchor Bible series. By this, he means that his commentary employs the historical-critical method “to [set] forth the religious and theological message that the author sought to convey” (that’s the classic part), while at the same time explaining that message “in an actualized form”—that is, in a way that makes sense to modern believers.

The historical-critical method seeks to understand how the book came into existence and to place it in its historical context. It has become fashionable to decry this approach to the Bible as having little or nothing to offer those who seek religious nourishment from the biblical texts. Here, however, is a renowned practitioner of the method whose ultimate aim is to make the ancient text speak to today’s believers and seekers of religious truth.

Does Fitzmyer deliver?

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