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Journal for the Study of the

New Testament
http://jnt.sagepub.com

JERVELL, Jacob, Die Apostelgeschichte (MeyerK; Gttingen:


Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 17th edn, 1998), 635 pp. DM 198. ISBN
3-525-51627-4
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2000; 22; 125
DOI: 10.1177/0142064X0002207709
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125

question of whether the north or south Galatians hypothesis is accurate. Breytenbach begins by noting that the divided opinion on Acts 13 and 14 essentially splits
along German versus British lines, with German scholarship being skeptical and
English scholarship more accepting of the evidence of Acts. This divergence in
research forms the basis of his analysis. One of the strengths of Breytenbachs volume is his integration of a number of methods, including text-linguistics, historicalcritical exegesis, literary analysis, social-scientific analysis, and the results of
archaeological and epigraphic research. A stylistic analysis of Acts 13-14 shows
that each of the major sections conforms to a standard pattern of a missionary narrative. In the light of recent work on locality, he analyses the inscriptional and other
historiographic evidence and concludes that the author clearly knew much local
detail. This is further supported by analysis of Paul and Barnabass speech in Acts
14.15-17, and the traditions it draws upon. This background information provides
evidence for Breytenbach asking the question of what implications there are for the
implied author regarding geographical, local, personal and traditional knowledge.
He answers that this evidence indicates that the historicality of this missionary
journey is plausible. Concerning the addressees of the letter to the Galatians,
Breytenbach first surveys the issues regarding the regional or provincial hypotheses,
noting again a split between British and other scholarship. Breytenbach first analyses the passages in the book of Acts that are germane, including those with interpretative difficulties, and in the light of ancient travel. He then explores what is
known of Christian communities in Galatia, and analyses the conflict with the
Galatians as found in the letter. He concludes with an analysis of the inscriptional
evidence for where people were located in Galatia. His conclusion is that the evidence indicates that Pauls letter to the Galatians was addressed to the southern
cities of Antioch, Iconium, Derbe and Lystra. One of several recent works to argue
for the essential reliability of Acts, and for the south Galatian hypothesis, Breytenbach has brought together a number of different streams of evidence that make a
compelling case on both fronts. The volume also includes a number of inscriptions
and some beautiful maps, several in colour.
SEP

JERVELL, Jacob, Die Apostelgeschichte (MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck &


Ruprecht, 17th edn, 1998), 635 pp. DM 198. ISBN 3-525-51627-4.
Jervells commentary, anticipated by his many writings on Luke-Acts, comes as the
culmination of much of his scholarship over the last thirty-five years. This commentary is a replacement volume for Haenchens standard commentary, which has been
so widely used in both German and English contexts. One could profitably review
this commentary in comparison with Haenchens, and including it in the same
series invites such comments. However, one is probably better off having both,
since they often take quite different approaches. Jervells commentary is consistent
with the perspective that he has developed in his previous research, seeing the
background of Acts in terms of its being written not from a Gentile but deeply in a

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126

background. As a result, the book has the most Jewish Christology, views
ecclesiology from the standpoint of the people of God, not the Church, views
soteriology from the standpoint of the people of Israel, the Torah is seen to be normative, there are Jewish wording and concepts used throughout, Paul is seen as the
Apostle of the Jews and of the world of the Diaspora, and the language used is that
of the Bible, mostly that of the Septuagint (the spectre of Jewish Greek looms once
more). Of all of the introductory issues that Jervell tackles, he devotes most of his
time to that of sources, where he sees the second-generation author using a variety
of them. In comparison with some other recent commentaries, Jervell actually
spends relatively little space on text-critical issues and the topic of genre. As to the

Jewish

commentary itself, there seem to be fuller comments on passages in the first half
than there are in the second half. The bibliography is thorough throughout and provides an excellent reference tool. From the start Jervell confronts the fact that he is

moving in a very different direction than many previous commentators on Acts.


question is whether he is convincing. Here we have a sustained defence of his
position. I imagine that there will be many new insights gained along the way, but I
cannot see his overall perspective being adapted now, anymore than it has in the
past. There are just too many pieces of evidence that move in the opposite direction,
including Pauls place within the early Church and the Graeco-Roman world, the

The

failure

to

establish the kind of Jewish Greek that Jervell advocates, and the kind of
with the authorial perspective that Jervell endorses.

apologetic agenda that must go


There is only a subject index.

SEP

RIESNER, Rainer, Pauls Early Period: Chronology, Mission Strategy, Theology


(trans. D. Stott; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 535 pp. US$50/£33.99. ISBN 08028-4166-X.
This is a translation of Riesners published 1994 German Habilitationsschrift,
which will already be well known to many readers. In this English version, rendered very well by Doug Stott, Riesner has added bibliographical references since
1993. In other ways, it is virtually the same as the original German edition. The
volume begins with a survey of previous work on Pauline chronology. This section
itself is well worth studying to see the evolution and changes in thought regarding
Paul and his mission. Then Riesner undertakes his own chronological proposals. He
begins with the crucifixion of Jesus and works his way through to the Apostles
relation to the Thessalonian church. This span of time is broken down into its individual incidents, and these are discussed in detail, especially in terms of their
chronological implications. Essentially, Riesners approach is to weigh the range of
historical and other evidence available, including the book of Acts, as well as the
pertinent Pauline material, in order to establish his chronology. As a result, we are
offered a thorough and nearly exhaustive survey of scholarly opinion, and a
reasoned account of how all of the evidence fits together. In the end, the solutions
are, for the most part, not surprising, since much of Riesners reconstruction fits

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2000 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized
distribution.