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The Gospel of Luke (Sacra Pagina) [Paperback]

Luke Timothy Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 23.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier Inc (1 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814659667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814659663
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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What makes this commentary on Luke stand apart from others is that, from beginning to end, this is a literary analysis. Because, it focuses solely on the Gospel as it appears and not on its source or origin, this commentary richly and thoroughly explores just what Luke is saying and how he says it. "The name of the editor is a guarantee of their high quality." - Liguorian. "If [Matthew and Luke] are any indication, this series will become a classic. Both books are landmark commentaries." - Catholic Library World.

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1. Since many have tried to arrange a narrative about the matters that have been brought to fulfillment among us Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful and refreshing commentary 7 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a medium-sized scholarly commentary which takes the approach of treating Luke as the intentional shaper and editor of the gospel rather than as simply the collector and compiler of material. I have found it helpful and refreshing to use in sermon preparation. The author provides his own translation of passages which adds to its helpfulness.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT GUIDE TO LUKE'S GOSPEL 13 Nov 2003
By Timothy Kearney - Published on Amazon.com
I first became aware of the Sacra Pagina commentary of Luke's Gospel when I was taking a course on Luke's Gospel at Boston College. From a student's point of view, the commentary was both insightful and chock full of details. In that same year, the gospel readings in the Roman Catholic Lectionary as well as the Common Lectionary were generally taken from Luke's Gospel, and I would sometimes read the commentaries prior to hearing the Gospel proclaimed in a church. From a spiritual point of view, the commentary also had much to offer.
The set up of this commentary is like the other volumes in this series. It begins with a general introduction to the Gospel of Luke as well as current research on this gospel. As far as the actual commentary is concerned, the gospel is divided into major sections and subsection. The sections are divided into the major plot lines of Luke's Gospel, e.g. the birth narratives, early ministry, journey to Jerusalem, etc. Each subsection begins with the scholar's translation of a short gospel passage, has notes about significant words and phrases in the lines that have been translated, and ends with an interpretation of the passage and how it relates to specific themes in the Gospel. Johnson, a noted Catholic scripture scholar and a respected authority on the Gospel of Luke includes ample material in the commentary. His scholarship is current, but also includes historical interpretations as well. While it is evident that Johnson's perspective is Catholic, his sources are not limited to Catholic scholars alone.
People who preach will more than likely found this commentary most useful. Since so many of Luke's stories are relatively well known, finding new interpretations that are authentic to the text can be challenging for anyone involved in preaching. Johnson includes a plethora of information that is bound to capture the interest of a congregation or Bible study group. Students will also find the commentary helpful since it includes an extensive bibliography for further research on Luke's Gospel. This commentary may not be that interesting for a person looking for casual or semi-serious scripture study, but people who want to study Luke's Gospel at home or in a small group in an in depth manner will certainly find this book worthwhile.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Luke-Acts Volume 1 7 Aug 2004
By Bahij Bawarshi - Published on Amazon.com
The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, jointly called Luke-Acts, have long been recognized as the single work in two volumes of an author with a distinctive understanding of the origins of Christianity. Luke Timothy Johnson has written the commentaries on booth books for the Sacra Pagina series. He has treated them as a literary unity, and chosen the progression of the narrative as his interpretive tool, almost to the complete exclusion of historical-critical concerns. With rhetorical flair he can declare (p. 362), "We ask not about the facts of history but about the meaning of narrative." This approach to understanding particularly suits the study of Luke-Acts. Luke appears to have believed in the persuasive power of narrative, as evidenced by the Gospel prologue (proposing to present an "orderly account"). Not so evident is that Luke's literary art, used so successfuly to communicate his religious perceptions, stamps the whole composition. It has taken the efforts of scholars like Johnson, Robert Tannehill and Joel Green, among others, to bring it out, for which all interested readers should be grateful. The selective remarks below have to do with Luke-Acts as a whole. My review of Sacra Pagina Volume 5 is a brief recap.

Johnson has classified Luke-Acts as an apologetic work in the form of historical narrative--not in defence of Paul or of the Christian movement within the Roman Empire, as some have supposed, but of God's faithfulness to his promises and his people. The early chapters of Acts are crucial to Johnson's interpretation of the whole. He reads the perspective of Acts 1-7 back into the Gospel story and forward to the remainder of Acts. In the Lukan drama God acts in the world to form a "people after his name," and the offer is universal. God indeed had been faithful to the Jews (or the people--Greek "laos"--which in Luke's idiom usually means God's people) and had acted to "restore" them, as the events concentrated in Jerusalem show. Those who rejected the good news cut themselves off from the blessings. Only after establishing that understanding does Luke move on to narrate the Gentile mission. The Christian movement was a continuation of the biblical story.

Many scholars have thought of Luke's composition as an account of salvation history. Johnson does not deny the idea but sees the main story line as that of the Prophet and the people. From beginning to end he relentlessly brings out the prophetic structure of the narrative, first as concerning the words and deeds of Jesus, then of the apostles in their capacity as Jesus' prophetic successors richly gifted with the Spirit. The principal OT model is Moses; his prophetic career of sending and rejection, especially as sketched in Stephen's speech (Acts 7), is paralleled by that of Jesus and the apostles. The death and resurrection of Jesus, and the words of the resurrected Messiah (Luke 24), throw light on the Scriptures and offer the key to interpreting them. As Johnson sees it, "that which is written about me has a fulfillment" (Luke 22:37, author's translation) is a "stark statement" that "stands as a summary of Luke's view concerning Jesus." (p. 349.)

The disciples' recounting of the resurrection appearances (Luke 24) and the accounts of Cornelius' conversion (Acts 10, 11, 15) stand out as examples of narration in Luke's scheme of things. Johnson's astute observation is that the telling and retelling of what had happened, with accompanying interpretations, provided the basis for discernment, and not only became "communal narrative," but began to form the believing community itself.

The commentary is arranged in discrete sections, each consisting of the author's own translation of the Greek, followed by notes, an interpretation, and a brief bibliography. The notes combine the technical notes and the verse by verse exposition found in other commentary formats. The many references to Hellenistic literature identify Luke's cultural milieu and place his writing within it. In terms of content and the space they occupy, the notes constitute a very important part of the commentary. But it is in the interpretation subsections that Johnson's Luke-Acts shows the most vigor. Here he does not use many words, and he does not have to. He makes almost every paragraph tell as it contributes to building an overall picture of what Luke was up to when he composed his masterwork. Each discrete section has meaning in itself, but Johnson has avoided an atomistic study of the text by relating sections to each other, pointing out recurring themes and, best of all, showing how the various vignettes accomplish Luke's literary and religious goals.

I recommend getting both commentaries and reading them in sequence. But note this: neither volume has a subjects index, something to be regretted in works so rich in content. The four-star rating is my assessment of each commentary standing by itself--taken together they rate more, for sheer consistency in demonstrating (1) the prophetic structure of Luke-Acts, (2) the overarching theme of God's faithfulness to his redemptive purpose, (3) how each part relates to the whole, and (4) that Acts continues the Gospel narrative, confirms it, and provides the key to interpreting it.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a little thin 3 Mar 2006
By John Nordin - Published on Amazon.com
At one point Johnson writes: "... the reader who wants to understand how Luke constructs his overall story in order to accomplish certain religious goals." It's a good description of Johnson's approach: using literary analysis to call our attention to the flow and structure of Luke's argument.

Johnson certainly knows the literature; in this commentary he chooses to present arguments and conclusions without extensive reference to the literature. Not many footnotes. He is a serious scholar and does not lead people astray, but those seeking an in depth study may be slightly frustrated. It might be a better commentary for those who are new to in depth scholarship rather than to those wanting to study a particular passage in depth.

I also found myself frustrated at times that he seems to stop just when things are getting interesting. That is, the space needed to draw out and explain Luke's argument doesn't leave room for the reflection on theological and spiritual implications of the text that I would have valued coming from Johnson.

Still, while I have written negative sounding comments, this is a serious commentary by a prolific, respected author and worth attention.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Book! 3 Mar 1998
By DecTommy@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
It provides a clear and concise summary of the Gospel. I am a deacon in the Catholic Church and I use it for both homily preparation and teaching. It uses plain english to present what many complicate.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book on Luke 9 Aug 2010
By LexOrandi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Luke Timothy Johnson is an outstanding Catholic biblical scholar with an acknowledged expertise on the writings of Luke. I was introduced to this series when I took a graduate level course in the New Testament. The professor recommended this series as excellent New Testament reference books. I lead a weekly bible discussion group and I have found this series to be of immense help. I am able to review Luke line by line and receive the benefit of knowledgeable Catholic bible experts. I may not share the same views as the author on every passage but I can review his analysis and he also points me to other sources. If you needed one book as a guide to Luke this is it.
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