George, I understand your frustration. However, the point is to get people actually to go to the Westminster bookstore website. I’ve discovered that unless I do it this way, no one goes there. When I give all the information, I get about 1/20 of the click-throughs I get when I entice them this way. The bookstore wants people on their website, because increased traffic always means increased sales. I have to pique curiosity in order for the advertising to work. That’s the way the ball works. If all my hundreds of readers would promise to click through anyway, even if I gave all the info, that would be one thing. Somehow, I have a hunch that it ain’t happening.
this book (just got it for a week as I am teaching Acts to my Youth Group) is a welcome addition. The other ones I’ve got are…. “weird” to say the least, and the one by Dennis Johnson, “Let’s Study Acts”, is so superficial (I meant it in the best way possible) that it hardly helps to do a study on the book Acts (maybe that’s it, not meant for serious study)
I’m curious if anyone has any observations about how Witherington, Bock, and Peterson stand up against each other. I’m planning to begin reading a commentary on Acts in a few months, and I’m not sure which of these three to read. I only want to read one. I’ll be able to refer to others, but I want one primary commentary to focus on. My sense from reading reviews is that Bock repeats a lot of Witherington but with less detail, and he tends to cite commentators more than providing his own arguments. Peterson seems to have based his comments on Witherington and Bock, so that gives his commentary one advantage over the others, but in my experience this only helps if he puts them to good use and is properly critical of them. It’s hard to know this without looking at it, so I’d appreciate hearing from anyone has has done so.
Jeremy, my impression from glancing at the commentary is that Peterson has been working on Acts for decades, and that this commentary is the culmination of that research. Peterson is certainly not enslaved to Bock (he quotes Barrett and Bruce FAR more than Bock). He quotes Barrett more than Witherington, too. I don’t think he’s anyone’s parrot. My impression is of strong, careful research. If Carson can say ‘sane, even-handed, and judicious,” that’s good enough for me. I would probably recommend Peterson over Bock and Witherington.
I didn’t mean to suggest that he was parroting anyone, just that he came latest and had access to their work, so he could base his comments on more information than they had. I was surprised to see him citing Bock at all, since he must have had Bock’s commentary in manuscript to have had time to take it into account when writing. His manuscript was almost certainly almost done with its final draft when Bock was published.
I’m curious what you think of the relative strengths and weaknesses of Witherington and Bock. Do you have any observations on those two?
O’Brien and Hoehner managed to do this with their Ephesians commentaries, but unfortunately only Hoehner could give paginations, since O’Brien didn’t have Hoehner’s final draft. It doesn’t look like Bock had Peterson, though, so that gives Peterson’s a big advantage.
Yes, it’s always fun to talk about commentaries with you, Jeremy, because we pay attention to the same sorts of things. I also marveled (and rejoiced!) that Peterson could quote Bock. I agree that he must have had at least a ms in front of him.
Witherington is at his best in Acts, in my opinion. His Arminianism gets him into least trouble there, and his socio-rhetorical approach works well with Acts (doesn’t work so well with Romans or the Gospels, in my opinion). It’s a very helpful guide.
Bock comes at it from the Lukan perspective, having written probably the definitive commentary on Luke for the foreseeable future. So, Bock’s strength’s is in tying the theology of Acts back to Luke, something he does far better than Witherington. I, for one, would not want to be without any of these three commentaries. I would hate to have to choose among the three as you are going to have to do. I would still choose Peterson, but I would always be wanting at least to reference the other two while I was going through.
I do plan to have all three present. I just want to read one cover-to-cover and just refer to the others when it seems appropriate. It’s easier to see when that’s appropriate if the one I’m reading actually cites the other two from time to time, which is another reason to favor Peterson.
If I were teaching this to others, I’d probably not limit myself to reading just one, but I’m just doing this as a part of my initial sweep through the Bible trying to make sure I’ve done each book of the Bible in a Bible study, sermons, or commentary reading. I’ve only got 7 NT and 10 OT books still to be completed, some of which have been partially done.
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens; Justification, by John Fesko; The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan; Recovering the Reformed Confessions, by Scott Clark; Brief Outline of Theology, by Friedrich Schleiermacher; Principles of Sacred Theology, by Abraham Kuyper
Books I am now reading
Exodus commentaries; Matthew commentaries; Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology; Baker's new history of the church
Books for future reading
Turretin's Institutes; Joseph Caryl on Job, German encyclopedias of theology