Book Announcement: Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation

Students, teachers, and writers who are interested in Luke and Lukan scholarship must pick up a copy of Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation (ed. Stanley E. Porter and Ron C. Fay; Milestones in New Testament Scholarship; Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2021).

This volume is the second in the series, Milestones in New Testament Scholarship (MNTS), published by Kregel. The goal of MNTS is to fill the gap between biography and dictionary entry, with focus on individual scholars who have had an impact upon a particular subfield of New Testament studies. Readers will be able to see the progression of this subfield’s history of scholarship. In the Series Introduction, the editors write:

The vision for this series is to cover numerous books and topics in the New Testament, with each volume providing a small snapshot of milestones in New Testament scholarship. We seek to balance canonical studies with textual and theological studies. This series will produce brief biographies of scholars who have had an impact on the study of a given book, corpus, or major issue in New Testament studies, and thereby established a milestone in the area (p. 9).

The inaugural volume in this series was on the Gospel of John (2018). This second volume, however, identifies ten major figures in modern scholarship who have influenced Lukan studies. The following is the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction to Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation
    – Stanley E. Porter and Ron C. Fay
  • Adolf Harnack and Lukan Scholarship at the Height of Classical Liberalism
    – Zachary K. Dawson
  • Martin Dibelius on the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles: The Most Literary Writings in the New Testament
    – James D. Dvorak
  • Henry Joel Cadbury and the Study of Luke-Acts
    – Osvaldo Padilla
  • Ernst Haenchen and His Impact on Luke-Acts Scholarship
    – Karl L. Armstrong
  • F.F. Bruce, Luke-Acts, and Early Christian History
    – Stanley E. Porter
  • Hans Conzelmann: Luke as Theologian of Salvation History
    – Alan J. Thompson
  • Charles Kingsley Barrett: A Historian by Nature, a Theologian by Grace
    – John Byron
  • Jacob Jervell and the Jewishness of Luke-Acts
    – David K. Bryan
  • Richard I. Pervo: Luke as Novelist and Acts as Entertainment
    – Ron C. Fay
  • Loveday C.A. Alexander: Luke-Acts in Its Ancient Literary Context
    – Laura J. Hunt
  • Conclusion to Luke-Acts in Modern Interpretation
    – Stanley E. Porter and Ron C. Fay

This list comprises some of the most well-known figures in Lukan scholarship. One individual who might be questioned as to why he was included is Richard Pervo. The author of that chapter, Ron Fay, explains the decision to include him in this volume:

In no way do the editors of this volume condone, dismiss, or even wish to disregard the behavior of Pervo. This volume collects the work of those who contributed to the growing body of knowledge about Luke-Acts, and Pervo has brought up issues with which all further scholars must interact, even if the person behind those ideas committed reprehensible acts (p. 322, n. 5).

I think that this explanation is a fair one. I think that we have liberty in these types of cases—where a particular scholar is convicted of a serious crime—whether we interact with that individual. If one is convicted in not interacting with their scholarship, that is fair; if one doesn’t have the same conviction and is able to separate a scholar from their scholarship, that also is fair. I think this principle parallels what Paul taught the Romans in his letter to them (chapter 13), where individuals have some level of liberty to act according to their own convictions, without having to impose their own convictions upon others.

In any case, Pervo or not, this is a must-have volume for those who are interested in Lukan scholarship. And if there is a name you are not familiar with, all the more reason to pick it up.

— David I. Yoon

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