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What Are They Saying About Acts? (WATSA Books) [Paperback]

By Mark Allan Powell (Author)
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Item description for What Are They Saying About Acts? (WATSA Books) by Mark Allan Powell...

Provides an overview of current scholarship on Acts that will serve as a suitable introduction to that book of the Bible.

Publishers Description
Provides an overview of current scholarship on Acts which will serve as a suitable introduction to that book of the Bible.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.34" Height: 0.49"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Paulist Press
Series  WATSA Books  
ISBN  0809132796  
ISBN13  9780809132799  

Availability  0 units.

More About Mark Allan Powell

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Mark Allan Powell has published articles on contemporary Christian music in "Christian Century, Christianity Today, " and "Trinity Seminary Review." He is frequently interviewed in print and over the airwaves concerning the proliferation of rock, rap, and other popular genres of Christian music. He is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and is the author of seventeen books, including the best-sellers "Jesus as a Figure in History" and "Narrative Criticism: A New Approach to the Bible."

Mark Allan Powell was born in 1953.

Mark Allan Powell has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Guides to Biblical Scholarship
  2. Methods in Biblical Interpretation
  3. Symposium Series

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about What Are They Saying About Acts??

Acts Today: Its Theological and Ecumenical Importance for Modern Day Application  Nov 20, 2007
"What Are They Saying About Acts?" by Mark Allan Powell, presents the reader with present-day study of contemporary scholarship regarding the New Testament book of Acts.

The book of Acts is one of the most important books of the New Testament, but for many years it has been neglected. The canonization of the book of Acts did not carry with it the enthusiasm of the Gospels. It wasn't until the fourth century that many were made aware of its existence. It is in Powell's book that the reader will gain a clear understanding of recent scholarship and be familiarized with the many schools of thought surrounding the book of Acts. It is important for the reader to understand the various things being said about the book of Acts and seek to recognize its theological and ecuminical importance for modern day application.

There are many things that scholars do not agree on about the book of Acts. We must seek to endeavor together the possibilites of unity expressed in the writings of Luke. Powell's overview of current scholarship is educational and to some degree edifying. However, it is easy to get lost in the perspectives. A surface reading of the book of Acts reveals a clear emphasis on the Holy Spirit's power and guidance to untiy and freedom found in Christ. As Powell proposes, and of which I am in agreement... it is the "Acts of the Holy Spirit" and not the traditionally accepted "Acts of the Apostles." The promised Holy Spirit has come upon the disciples... this is the reason for the mighty works of Christ.

What are those things essential to the book of Acts? I believe it is those things that are plain to the reader who has observed the Scripture in context. Let us continue to pursue our study of this great written account of God's salvation, not forgetting Christ's Spirit, seeking untiy among the believers.

I also recommend reading:
The Untold Story of the New Testament Church: An Extraordinary Guide to Understanding the New Testament
Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Cultural Setting, Revised Edition
Sufficient  Mar 2, 2004
In Powell's work on the books of Acts he states his objective as:
"provide a non-technical survey for those who would like to know a little something about this subject [Acts] but have no intention of pursuing the matter further. For others, I hope it will serve as a suitable introduction to the field, on that offers a general overview as well as some guidance on where to go next." (Powell, 2)
That seemed like a reasonable objective to this reader. On the other hand, Powell does not set the bar very high for himself as an author either. Looking at the first part of his objective, I would argue he does a decent job of giving a broad based overview to the study of Acts. He provides a general overview of the composition of Acts, a fairly thin section on the theology of Acts, further reading on the Eschatology and Ecclesiology of Acts, and reading Acts as History and Literature. In each chapter Powell seems to do a good job of synthesizing relevant arguments of noted scholars, and draws some non-binding conclusions for each subject.
At the end of the introduction Powell points out that there are some areas of disagreement in the study of Acts, but some wide ranges of agreement. (Powell 19) The areas of agreement originate from scholars almost unanimously agreeing the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts need to be read as one unit. (Powell 19) This is a pattern that emerges from the Powell work, laying out the areas of agreement, and then trying to find out what, if any, consensus is available. While this is certainly not my style of writing, Powell sticks to his stated purpose and does not let on his own opinion on nearly any matter. With an introductory text this seems to work well.
In the second chapter of the book Powell repeats his pattern and again and lets his reader know what the arguments are regarding the writing of Acts, e.g. how much Luke actually wrote and how much he relied on sources. (Powell 37) This again underscores his stated purpose, if you want to know more he shows you where to go, if you think you have had enough, you at least know what the basic issues in the book of Acts.
The third chapter deals with the theology of Acts. This section could encompass hundreds of pages of Powell does an admirable job of defining the main issues, the Christology of Jesus, the role of the Holy Spirit, and God's part in Acts. The conclusion of this chapter is by far the best work Powell does. This is because he actually makes an argument and shows his cards. He quotes Beverly Galenta as saying there are four methods for attaining a theology of Acts, and goes on to say "all these methods are problematic insofar as they neglect certain aspects of Acts while accenting others." (Powell 57) This is really the only point in which Powell varies from his pattern of being neutral on the issues of scholarship surrounding Acts. The diversion is appreciated by this reader. He quickly goes back to finding consensus and moves on to the next chapter.
The next three sections deal with eschatology, ecclesiology and what happens if you read Acts as history or narrative. These sections are fairly typical to the rest of the work. Powell clearly lays out different perspectives on each issue, and tries to find consensus among the scholars studying Acts. To this he succeeds because you do not get bogged down on any particular issue, and are left to draw your own conclusions or just move on. The final conclusion of the book is weak. Powell says, after studying the subject I am sure at great length, "future directions for scholarship are impossible to predict, but present trends can be noted." (Powell 109) It seems to be a lack of courage on the part of the author not to predict future trends. But, this is just my humble opinion. Powell does accomplish what he set out to do, albeit in a very safe manner.

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