Dec 6, 2008

Review of Bovon's. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50.

Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy.

Bovon, François. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50. Hermeneia, ed. Helmut Koester. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2002.

The author is a seasoned Lukan scholar who is currently serving as Frothingham Professor of the History of Religion at Harvard Divinity School. This volume is the first of a three-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke originally published in German as Das Evangelium nach Lukas (EKKNT III/1. Zürich: Benziger Verlag & Neukirchen¬Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1989).

Bovon’s commentary is similar to the format and approach of other volumes in the Hermeneia series. Luke 1 begins with a surprisingly short introduction of twelve pages. Nonetheless, the introduction is worth reading since Bovon is able state in brief what takes others much longer.

Following the introduction is the commentary proper, which, is divided into forty-seven sections. Each section is further demarcated into five sections: bibliography, translation of the text, analysis, commentary, and conclusion. The analyses typically set the entire passage in context with the commentary section discussing the parts. The conclusion attempts to relate the passage theologically and practically. For the most part, the format works and Bovon’s comments are generally clear and judicious. The bibliography is helpful but does not appear to be quite up to date. The lack of interaction with more recent scholarship is acknowledged in the author’s forward and for some will make this volume less attractive since it reflects the state of scholarship of the German 1989 edition. In the fast-paced world of biblical studies some would consider it out-of-date.

Overall the commentary is a solid contribution to Lukan studies. Although the lack of interaction with more recent scholarship will be off-putting for some, Bovon’s contributions to the sttudy of the Third Gospel in this volume should not be ignored.

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