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Carroll review

Carroll review

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Published by Jim West
review carroll, luke
review carroll, luke

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Published by: Jim West on Sep 16, 2013
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01/31/2014

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  John T. Carroll,
Luke: New Testament Library
(Louisville: Westminster / JohnKnox), 2012.
 Our publisher informs us (on its website) that this commentary
on the Gospel of Luke epitomizes the New Testament Library series.Combining scholarly rigor and theological insight, Carroll not only focuseson the Gospel text but also makes frequent reference to Luke's second volume,the Acts of the Apostles, to show how the two writings work together topresent a full picture of the life of Christ and the work of the apostles. Inaddition, Carroll includes several illuminating notions about special topics inLuke's Gospel: a comparison of the birth announcements to Mary andZechariah, an examination of the role of women, a discussion of wealth andpoverty, and insights on the reign of God and the Roman Empire.The question is thus set before us by the book
s publisher itself: is this, in fact, a commentarywhich combines scholarly rigor and theological insight? Here are various excerpts from theearly segments of the commentary which will allow the potential reader to decide for her orhimself.On page 1 we read
This commentary will stand with those who have read Luke’s Gospel with
appreciation of both his literary achievement and the theological and ethicalcommitments that find expression in his narrative. It will be criticalappreciation, as befits engagement with an ancient author who writes out of,and for, a particular culture, from a particular social location, with all thelimitations such a project entails (inescapable for any author, myself included).But critical appreciation nonetheless.
 
Fair enough. Sympathetic reading is a desirable attribute when readers approach ancient ormodern texts. Critically sympathetic reading is even better, so Carroll is on the right trackhere.Then, a few pages further along, on page 7-The commentary presents a literary reading, a narrative reading that paysattention to sequence, but the interpretation is not restricted to a onetime,sequential hearing of the text. I allow for the possibility of readings andrereadings, in which initial understandings are challenged, deepened, orconfirmed, in retrospect, by later materials in the narrative and in the narrativesequel, Acts.In short, Carroll
s approach is quite
Protestant
in that here he cues us in that the bestinterpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself. Listening to the text will inform our listening tothe text both in prospect and in retrospect.This approach, it has to be said, is both critical and refreshing. Carroll understands rightfrom the outset that ancient authors were intelligent and gifted theologians who wrote withverve and vigor and, most importantly, purpose. This viewpoint is a salutary and necessaryantidote to the nonsense parading itself as scholarship in scholarly circles as
reader-response
 criticism.As to his procedure itself as it is worked out in the body of the commentary, users of the
New Testament Library
will be familiar enough with it that nothing further is here needed.Those unfamiliar with it will find it thorough and
user friendly
as Carroll (and the otherauthors in the series) give readers a fresh rendition of the text, textual notes, explanation andexegesis, and the occasional excursus. In terms of those particulars, this volume is neitherunique nor
ground breaking
.In sum, in fact, it is simply a very good, very stable, very trustworthy, very reliable memberof the commentary genre. Nothing more. And nothing less.If anything sets it apart from the other members of the family of commentaries it is thelucidity and clarity with which Carroll writes. He spares readers the non-essentials and
 may his tribe increase
sticks with the text.Finally, while I do very much appreciate the review copy I would be remiss if I did not alsopoint out that it arrived in electronic format (which I don
t really mind as much as I oncedid). What I do not like, however, is the fact that the electronic version expires in a mere 30days and hence there
s no way to refer to it later, make use of it in research, or share it withanyone else. I view this as a very unfortunate state of affairs. If persons qualified to review

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