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Journeying through Acts explores the literary and cultural aspects of Acts and offers a fresh reading of this dramatic volume. Acts is unique in the New Testament canon in part because it is not a gospel or a Pauline letter. It presents a dynamic story of the spread of the Christian gospel from Jerusalem to Rome. The gospel was propelled by the earliest followers of the risen and ascended Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who is arguably the chief protagonist in the narrative. Spencer's reading offers a traveler's guide through the book of Acts. He charts narrative features---plot development, character building, and shifting points of view---and explores cultural scenarios that affect the events in Acts---honor-shame contests, patron-client relations, and purity-pollution boundaries. Within this literary-cultural framework, Spencer undertakes to map the temporal, spatial, and social settings of each segment of the Acts journey. Journeying through Acts offers students, pastors, scholars, and lay readers a satisfying---although by no means exhaustive---understanding of the overall narrative of Acts in light of recent academic scholarship. "It is the one commentary available in English today that is genuinely fresh and exciting in its engagement with the text of Acts. I have used it in every course I have taught on Acts since it first appeared in 1997, and regularly recommend it to pastors at conferences where I am presenting on Acts." ---Joel B. Green, PhD, Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean of the School of Theology, and Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary "A fresh nineteen page introduction and expanded bibliography enhances Spencer's solid, tested and proven literary-cultural commentary. This new edition testifies to its welcome acceptance by a wide range of readers. Spencer has successfully met the desires of a broader audience for up-to-date scholarly interpretations of Acts of the Apostles. The engaging style of his stimulating book continues to provide a satisfying experience for every reader." ---John J. Pilch, Georgetown University, Theology Department, Washington, D.C.
"Finally, we have a fresh and evocative reading of Acts that is fully conversant with the vast and sometimes intimidating world of Lukan scholarship, a richly nuanced and compelling reading of Acts that is more than a catalogue of competing opinions. Spencer's crisp and delightfully clear writing provides a provocative engagement with the social and literary questions that most interest contemporary interpreters. This self-consciously theological reading of Acts will enliven and enlighten both the pew and the academy for years to come. No serious student of Acts will want to be without this commentary." ---Thomas E. Phillips, Associate Professor of New Testament, Colorado Christian University, Co-Chair of the Society of Biblical Literature's Consultation on Acts
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