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Comment: Publisher: Polebridge
Date of Publication: 2008
Binding: paperback
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Description: ix, 181pp. No ownership marks Binding tight, text unmarked
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The Mystery of Acts: Unraveling Its Story Paperback – 30 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: EDS Publications Ltd. (Consignment) (30 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159815012X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598150124
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 739,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Richard I. Pervo is the author of several books on Acts including Profit with Delight: The Literary Genre of the Acts of the Apostles (1987), Luke's Story of Paul (1990), Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts (with Mikeal A. Parsons, 1993), Dating Acts: Between the Evangelists and the Apologists (2006), and Acts. A Commentary (Hermeneia, 2008).


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By H. A. Weedon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recall being reprimanded for questioning the validity of Acts during religious knowledge classes at grammar school. The miracles recorded within the narrative simply did not ring true for me and some of the punishments meted out in the name of God seemed way out too severe for the crimes committed, like when a husband and wife were struck dead for embezzlement. This kind of thing didn't seem to tally with the spirit of forgiveness, which I had been brought up to believe was an essential part of the Christian ethos. I was unimpressed by the tale about the risen Christ floating away on a cloud into the distance and the one about how the chains were miraculously struck off Paul and his companions and the prison doors opened, allowing them to escape. If God was doing that kind of thing for Paul, why isn't he still doing it like, for instance, releasing all the unjustly imprisoned people, such as political prisoners, all over the world? And where is the heaven Jesus was floating off into? Is it in our solar system, or the Milky Way or somewhere else in the vastness of space?

As it turned out my need to train for a worthwhile profession and make my way in the world took me far away from biblical considerations, which is why I am now so grateful to Richard I Pervo for writing this carefully researched and very readable assessment concerning the truth about Acts, revealing why and when it was written and by whom as far as anyone is able to ascertain. It is also interesting to discover that he agrees with Burton L Mack (The Lost Gospel etc.) in dating the compilation of Acts to circa 120 AD, in addition to which we cannot be certain who actually wrote it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Luke is a historian of the first rank...This author should be placed along with the very greatest historians...Luke's history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness." Thus spoke noted archaeologist and New Testament scholar Sir Willam Ramsey (1851-1939). Not surprisingly Sir William is much beloved by Christian apologists and much quoted by them. But was his verdict on Luke's prowess as a historian just a tad over-enthusiastic?

The author of the gospel of Luke does indeed begin his work by seemingly donning the mantle of a responsible historian and diligent researcher and in an elegantly worded prologue he assures us that having consulted all the best sources he now feels equipped to give us a truthful account of events concerning Jesus Christ. But he then kicks off his account with a beautiful and pious fiction, a nativity story so crammed with supernatural and pseudo-historical events that his credentials as a historian and diligent researcher are immediately suspect. If Luke begins with invention why should you place any confidence in the reliability of anything he has to say thereafter, not only in his gospel but in the companion work he wrote known as the Acts Of The Apostles?

Acts has always been regarded as a crucial document in the New Testament because without it the history of the early Church - what happened in the years immediately following the death of Jesus - would be an almost total blank, with only sketchy material to be derived from the letters of Paul.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8f7feb64) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f845bb8) out of 5 stars Objective and Appreciative Approach 3 July 2013
By E. Kriner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One thing evident in this book is that the author has a very high level of respect for Luke and Acts. In my opinion, the author made a very solid case to back up his premise (I won't spoil it, if you are here you probably already have an idea). I believe that this book should be approached AFTER reading Luke and Acts and having a decent idea about what is going on, or at the very least be willing to check the verses. Mr. Pervo employs a detective style narration of the evidence that he presents to back up his thesis and gives opposing viewpoints. He even illustrates for us where on the scale his interpretation sits. I get the impression that he is genuine in his approach and objective in his analysis.

If you are truly seeking a deeper level of understanding of Acts, this book is surely a valuable reference.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f845e04) out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Acts 31 Mar. 2015
By Tacitus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite a good book and well researched. Because Acts is "all there is" it has been mistakenly used as a reliable historical document of the history of the early Christian Church but the author leaves out too many important issues. For example what actually happened when Paul brought the Collection (of alms) to Jerusalem in his last visit? Was the Collection accepted or rejected? Why didn't anyone from the Jerusalem Church (led by James the Just) step forward to help defend him when he was accused by the High Priest and his cronies? I wish the book were available in Kindle format and also that the author expand his two sections on historical problems, especially chronology.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f845dc8) out of 5 stars Excellent view of literary creativity of Luke 19 Dec. 2013
By judaswasjames - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is great little read. One could do it in one long day. But the author packs a tremendous amount in the space. He shows the repeated patterns of literary need fulfilled, not history being written. And, it is a really helpful addition to Robert Eisenman's incredible accomplishment on Luke in James Brother Jesus Dead Scrolls
This one is going to be referred to in my library many times.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f8843c0) out of 5 stars Scholarly, delightfuf and funny 26 Jan. 2015
By Laura Knight-Jadczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This little book really turned me on to the work of Richard Pervo. I was so thankful to read that somebody else was seeing many of the things in Acts that I had been seeing: that it was just TOO good a story to be true. It was pretty clear that Acts was borrowing like crazy from the Old Testament, Greek epics, Josephus and more, creating a patchwork of dramatic scenarios that had nothing at all to do with the real life of the Apostle Paul.

What becomes clear from Pervo's analysis is that "Luke" (whoever the author really was) was not the least bit interested in writing a real history; the discrepancies between Acts and Paul's authentic letters are only the beginning! Still, as Pervo demonstrates a bit in this book, but even more in another of his works, is that the author had concerns for the survival of the church and was trying to address those concerns by "re-writing" the history of primitive Christianity. Some may suggest that maybe Christianity should not have survived, witness all the horrors committed in its name, but I don't agree. A lot of good came out of Christianity, too. However, it's long past time for Western civilization to address the myths that underpin its attitudes and ideas and coming to grips with the issue that Paul more or less created Christianity according to his own vision (literally or figuratively or both) and it's no more the "Word of God" than any other revelation then or since.

Thanks Richard I. Pervo for a great introduction to the problems that manages to be not just scholarly, but delightful and often funny at the same time.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f8845dc) out of 5 stars A must for any Biblical scholar, professional or amateur 9 Mar. 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Book of Acts is one of the most chaotic ones of the Bible. "The Mystery of Acts: Unraveling Its Story" tries to decipher the code and history of the Book of Acts. Asking the who, what, where, when, why, and how behind this book, "The Mystery of Acts" is enlightening, as understanding the Bible's origins can invaluable in understanding its content. "The Mystery of Acts" is a must for any Biblical scholar, professional or amateur.
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