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The Acts of the Apostles (Anchor Bible Commentaries) (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) Paperback – 4 Dec 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (4 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300139829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300139822
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.9 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

For anyone interested in the origins of Christianity, Joseph A. Fitzmyer's "The Acts of the Apostles is indispensable. Beginning with the Ascension of Christ into heaven, and ending with Paul proclaiming the kingdom of God from a prison in Rome, this New Testament narrative picks up where the Gospel of Luke left off. The Acts of the Apostles is indeed a journey of nearly epic proportions--and one that requires a guide as adept as Fitzmyer.
Since Acts was most likely written by the same person who composed the Gospel of Luke, it is only fitting that the Anchor Bible Commentaries on these New Testament books should be written by the same author. With "The Acts of the Apostles, Fitzmyer gives readers the long-awaited companion to his two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

About the Author

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, a Jesuit priest, is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America and resident in the Jesuit community at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has edited and published numerous books on the New Testament, ancient Aramaic, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Society for New Testament Study.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you plan to do a serious, in-depth study of the book of Acts without side-stepping the intellectual arguments, Fitzmyer's book on it is a virtually-essential starting point. He seems to have read everything that has been written by anyone on Acts, and gives detailed summaries of their arguments, followed by full bibliographic information.

I was surprised to discover that in this book all Greek text is printed only in a Roman lettering transcription, when one really would have expected the Greek alphabet to be used for a book of this standing. In amazing contrast to this, a Norwegian source is quoted in the original language and without a translation. With theological works of a certain academic level (which this book presumably purports to be), quotations from German are often not translated, on the (arrogant? unreasonable?) assumption that any serious theologian will be able to read German - but no Norwegian would be offended if his words were translated for speakers of other languages - especially in a book where Greek quotations are always translated into English (except for re-quotations of words and phrases from a verse that has been translated at the beginning of the same section).

Fitzmyer deals with textual and theological problems, instead of pretending (as do some commentaries) that such problems do not exist. An example of this is his discussion of the circumcision of Timothy as recorded in Acts 16:3 (cf. Fitzmyer pp 573-575). However, the best treatment of this is - as is often the case - in F.F. Bruce's book on Acts.
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Format: Paperback
Fitzmyer's is one of the best commentaries on Acts. It is learned and covers each and every aspect one could think of, and more. Scholarly, exegetical. It doesn't converse much with patristic authors, e.g. Chrysostom; one might have expected a bit more of that from a Catholic scholar. The notes on verses don't always read with ease, but are always rewarding. The Introduction is solid, the bibliography extensive and illuminating.

The work is comparable with Barret's Commentary in 2 vols.:Acts 1-14: 1 (International Critical Commentary); the latter is equally monumental, but is more technical and converses more with German scholarship (which can take its toll on the more casual reader). Equally technical is Pervo's Acts in Hermeneia, which is critical of most things (some would say in the extreme).
Buy Fitzmyer (and/or Barrett).

The paperback is the cheaper option, but, at 800+ pages, will most likely have a short life. After 2 weeks or so, mine is already showing signs of wear.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9bc011a4) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c330c84) out of 5 stars Very Good Sequel to Fitzmyer's commentary on Luke 13 Feb. 2008
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`The Acts of the Apostles' in the Anchor Bible series, by distinguished Jesuit scholar, Joseph Fitzmyer, is one of the better commentaries on Acts I have read (with the understanding that I have certainly not seen all those done in the last 25 years, especially the very highly regarded one by Ben Witherington. Fitzmyer's volume has an advantage shared with several others, in that the same author has also done a commentary on the Gospel of Luke, written by the same ancient writer who wrote Acts.
I was quite surprised to discover that this work was but one volume long, since `Acts' is almost as long as the Gospel. The reason is as mundane as an editorial judgment by senior editors at Doubleday, the publisher of the Anchor Bible series. Oddly enough, the foreshortened perspective this forced on the author may actually have been a very good thing for non-professional readers. That is, pastoral and lay readers, who may be using the book as part of a Bible study series. Fitzmyer left out much discussion on the wide range of opinions on many issues which, for the non-scholarly user is largely a waste of time.
In spite of this loss, Fitzmyer still provides one of the most valuable resources, the detailed bibliographies after each pericope, giving sources of opinions in interpreting the text. Fitzmyer also includes several features which one does not find very often, and which are revealing, even if you do not read them in depth. The first is the complete text of his own translation of `Acts'. This is an excellent feature, as one suggestion all advisors on Bible reading agree on is that it is wise to read the entire book through before digging into the details of individual verses and pericopes. It is unusual for him to do this, as he did not do it in his two volume treatment of `Luke'.
A second valuable feature is Fitzmyer's survey of all the different sources of the original Greek texts. Few commentaries on `Acts' do this, and few commentaries on many books of the Bible do this. It is interesting to see this survey for at least one book, and Acts is more interesting than many, since there seem to be many more such sources than for, for example, the Synoptic Gospels.
I have used Fitzmyer's commentary on `Luke', and found it slightly less useful than some others, especially Joel Green's contribution to the NICNT series. In contrast, F. F. France's NICNT volume is also quite good, but not as deep as Green's, so Fitzmyer comes off (sans scholarly baggage) much more useful than his `Luke' volume. Fitzmyer's `Acts' (and everyone else's `Acts') may also benefit by the absence of the many comparisons between the three synoptic Gospels, which may be interesting for textual analysis, but is not too rewarding for those interested in culling the pastoral lessons from the text. The other side of the coin is that since `Acts' stands alone, it is much harder to get some sense of from where Luke's sources came. Much of this thinking seems pretty speculative. While Fitzmyer gives us a fair reading of current thought on this, he also wisely agrees that this is secondary to Luke's pastoral message. What is vexing is that we have only the barest sense of why this book was written. Why did no others write similar texts, just as there were four Gospels written. (Of course, I know of all the various apocryphal `Acts of' this, that and the other figure, but none carry the interest of the book which made it into the canon.
One of the few drawbacks of Fitzmyer's `Acts' is that it relies on your reading his `Luke' volumes, especially his long exposition on Luke's theology in Volume 1. This is fair, since the overwhelming consensus is that `Luke' and `Acts' are very much two volumes of a single cohesive work.
I would not go so far as to say this was the BEST 'Acts' commentary, as you may simply want the less scholarly offering by F. F. Bruce or the social orientation of Wetherington, but this is very good, especially for serious Bible study.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bb37b04) out of 5 stars Solid Advanced Level Commentary 24 Aug. 2012
By Brian J. Hendricks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Anchor series as a whole rarely ever disappoints as far as the authors and size of the commentaries that they put together. This commentary by Joseph Fitzmeyer fits this mold perfectly.

The only drawback that I found to be with the commentary was that it felt like Fitzmeyer could have put more of his own voice into it. He does an amazing job of gathering resources and interacting with almost everything that he mentions, but it felt, at times, he could have expanded upon his own thoughts a bit more. Please do not get me wrong, this is an excellent commentary. Especially if you are looking for a commentary that is going to give you all of the facts without an exegete trying at every turn to force their own specialized understanding of the text upon you.

If you are looking for a solid, approachable, and scholarly commentary on Acts you cannot go wrong with Fitzmeyer's Anchor Commentary. If you want something that has as much information but may be slightly less conservative in regard to the author sharing their own views on some of the more ticklish verses in the book, I would suggest taking a look at Bock's Baker Commentary. Or, you could always purchase both.

Overall, probably the most accessible of the higher level commentaries that will show you the standard approach to the Book of Acts. A perfect starting point.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bb37a68) out of 5 stars Virtually essential starting point for a study of Acts 9 Dec. 2011
By TRA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you plan to do a serious, in-depth study of the book of Acts without side-stepping the intellectual arguments, Fitzmyer's book on it is a virtually-essential starting point. He seems to have read everything that has been written by anyone on Acts, and gives detailed summaries of their arguments, followed by full bibliographic information.

I was surprised to discover that in this book all Greek text is printed only in a Roman lettering transcription, when one really would have expected the Greek alphabet to be used for a book of this standing. In amazing contrast to this, a Norwegian source is quoted in the original language and without a translation. With theological works of a certain academic level (which this book presumably purports to be), quotations from German are often not translated, on the (arrogant? unreasonable?) assumption that any serious theologian will be able to read German - but no Norwegian would be offended if his words were translated for speakers of other languages - especially in a book where Greek quotations are always translated into English (except for re-quotations of words and phrases from a verse that has been translated at the beginning of the same section).

Fitzmyer deals with textual and theological problems, instead of pretending (as do some commentaries) that such problems do not exist. An example of this is his discussion of the circumcision of Timothy as recorded in Acts 16:3 (cf. Fitzmyer pp 573-575). However, the best treatment of this is - as is often the case - in F.F. Bruce's book on Acts.

However, because of his background (as a Roman Catholic and a Jesuit), Fitzmyer sometimes sees "problems" where there are none, for instance, in the phrase in Acts 1:14 referring to Jesus' brothers, and the subsequent references to "James, the brother of the Lord". On page 216 he writes, "Luke uses the same words that he used in the Gospel (8:19-20), where he took over a phrase from Mark 3:31, in which context hoi adelphoi autou [TRA: his brothers] at first sight suggests that blood brothers are meant." Fitzmyer goes on to say "In Mark 6:3 Jesus is said to be the adelphos [TRA: brother] of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon." He then says "That relationship is further complicated by what Paul says of James in Gal 1:19, `the brother of the Lord' (cf. 1 Cor 15:7), and of the Lord's brothers in 1 Cor 9:5." Fitzmyer concludes "the most natural meaning of adelphos is blood-brother", and subsequently in the book when this James is referred to, Fitzmyer uses the phrase "the brother of the Lord". All of this does however at least serve to show that Fitzmyer engages honestly with matters that he perceives as problems, and does not limit himself by presenting uncritically the traditional Roman Catholic party line.

Another blind spot for Fitzmyer is any real understanding of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. For him, the Holy Spirit is imparted (automatically and simultaneously) by baptism, which results in him having great difficulty with Acts 8, which states (in verse 12) that when the people of Samaria believed, they were baptised - but verse 15 states that they had not yet received the Holy Spirit.

As one has a right to expect from a serious commentary, Fitzmyer gives very thorough references throughout to other relevant passages of Scripture, and this would be a great help to anyone wanting to prepare either Bible studies or serious, in-depth, Bible-based teaching on the book of Acts.

There is also a wealth of relevant historical and geographical background (dates, locations of cities, etc.)

Each section of Fitzmyer's book starts with his translation of the relevant portion of Acts. While this is generally very good, it is not always totally accurate, as can be seen, for instance, in his translation of 16:3: "Paul ... had him circumcised", which implies, incorrectly, that Paul got someone else to do this. In Acts 9:13 Ananias "apekrithe" [TRA: "answered"] is translated "protested" by Fitzmyer and "tois hagiois sou" [TRA: "your saints" or "your holy ones"] is translated "your dedicated people" by Fitzmyer, who is presumably inhibited by the (non-Biblical) meaning attributed to the word "saints" by Roman Catholics (and some other groups). While he clearly wanted to avoid misunderstanding by his readers, in a book of this standing one would have not expected him to side-step the issue, but to address it, explaining the Biblical meaning of the word "saints". Perhaps this would have been a step too far for a Roman Catholic theologian - or perhaps he thought that if he did discuss it, he would run the risk of not obtaining the RC Church's licences to print - the "Imprimatur" and the "Imprimi Potest" and the church's acceptance that the book was not harmful to the faithful, the "Nihil Obstat" - all of which are prominently displayed in the accustomed way at the beginning of the book.

While Fitzmyer is conservative, and therefore rejects various outlandish theories concerning the text or the incidents related, he is of course in no way an evangelical, and those with a high view of Biblical inspiration will not like comments such as "Luke makes Paul formulate ..." (p. 609). Fitzmyer's position is that Luke has made up speeches by Paul and others.

After his translation of the original text, there is a section with the title "Comment". Sometimes (e.g., p. 600) this provides additional information. But on other occasions (e.g., p. 722), it merely summarises what the text says, and one must then ask what purpose it serves.

The "Comment" section is followed by a much longer section with the title "Notes". This generally goes into considerable detail and is frequently extremely enlightening. However, by the time that we get to chapter 22 or 23 of Acts, we begin to get the impression that Fitzmyer is tiring of his task (or perhaps he realises that he is in danger of exceeding the word or page limit imposed by his publisher), as the Notes sections are a lot shorter and go into much less detail.

I can appreciate that some of Fitzmyer's supporters might be outraged that I have not given this magnum opus five stars. I hope that this review explains the rationale behind that.
HASH(0x9bd522d0) out of 5 stars A very good commentary on Acts 30 May 2015
By P-F - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fitzmyer's commentary in the Anchor Yale Bible series replaces the one that Johannes Munck wrote for the original Anchor Bible. Fitzmyer corrects many of the deficits that Munck's had, providing in-depth analysis of the text as well as historical and exegetical materials. His review of other commentaries' strengths and weaknesses are usually insightful (though dated since this came out in 1999). This is an invaluable reference for Bible study and preaching, yet accessible to those with no Greek.
HASH(0x9bd52654) out of 5 stars I recommend it 14 April 2015
By Mario Svigir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
prof. Fitmayer is one of the best in the field of Lucan biblical theologians. Erudition, style, comprehensiveness, overview of variety of theological traditions. Just name it, all is included in this glorious rendition of the history and literary history of the early Christianity called Acts of Apostles.
As a result I have learned to better appreciate and actually love the Lucan perspective and I am sure that you would to
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