Here is a link to three reviews of Craig Keener’s Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 1 on Review of Biblical Literature. Keener’s commentary is a a masterpiece, the introduction is at least three or four monographs worth of material.
Richard I. Pervo is quite complementary, despite a careful review of Keener’s view of the value of the history of Acts. Even though Keener does not accept Pervo’s view on Acts as Novel, Pervo finds much in this commentary similar to his own thinking. Pervo argues in this review that “every episode should be evaluated for historical worth on its own merits,” rather than resorting to literary or historical theories in each case. For the most part Keener does not interact with Pervo since his work was more or less finished by the time that Pervo’s commentary was released.
Joseph B. Tyson looks more closely at Keener’s approach to “Acts as an apologetic historiography.” As he states, it is hard to judge how this will work out in the commentary since the only the first two chapters are included in the first volume. But it is clear that Keener is willing to accept more as historical than most modern commentaries, especially miracles. “to dismiss claims about miracles is a Western ethnocentric, largely academic, worldview and that an unbiased approach would consider their possibility,” writes Tyson. This is not really a surprise since Keener has also written a lengthy defense of miracles.
Daniel L. Smith is a bit less complimentary, finding that the length of the book makes for difficult reading, with “occasional redundancies and repetitions.” The commentary is “cumbersome at times” yet still in many ways “fresh and appealing.” Despite any misgivings, Smith still describes the commentary as “the result of the careful, balanced work of a senior scholar.”
All the more reason for you to invest in Keener’s first volume on Acts!
One thought on “Reviews of Craig Keener, Acts on RBL”
Thanks so much for the kind words. I should mention that I did update my original draft, so I cite Richard Pervo perhaps around 140 times in vol. 1, about 30% of those being from his commentary (especially in footnotes). But it is true that I engaged his earlier work in more detail, and his work, like that of any of us, has matured and become more nuanced over time.