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Luke: 2 Volume Set (Reformed Expository Commentary)
Philip Graham Ryken
P & R Publishing, 2009
1488 pp., $59.99
A Pastoral Commentary
Commentaries stand on the shoulders of previous commentaries or, to shift the metaphor only slightly, they stand among other commentaries. The Gospels are just inside the century mark of being 2,000 years old and, while commentaries didn't immediately show up in ancient bookshops, the trail of commentaries on each of the Gospels goes back 1,700 years and more. The Gospel of Luke was not the favorite of the Fathers—Matthew and John got the nods—but we have homilies from Origen (253), Titus of Bostra (378), and Ambrose of Milan (397); Augustine's Harmony refers to Luke (430). After Augustine came Cyril of Alexandria (444), Philoxenus of Mabbug (519), and the Venerable Bede (735). The medievals, such as Bonaventure (1274), had an interest in Luke, as did the Reformers (Luther, 1546; Calvin, 1555). I will avoid a complete listing and jump, as we often do in the Protestant world, to modern scholarship: I think of T. Zahn (1913), Erich Klostermann (1919), B.S. Easton (1926), and J.M. Creed (1930). But it was in the 1970s and '80s when Luke particularly flourished as a text for commentators, and thus one thinks of Heniz Schürmann (1969), F. W. Danker (1972), I. H. Marshall (1978), J. A. Fitzmyer (1981), L. Sabourin (1985), F. Bovon (1989), and J. Nolland (1989). In the '90s some hefty volumes emerged, and Darrell Bock (1994) and J. B. Green (1997) remain among my favorites.
Sorting through what others have said leaves the commentator weary, wondering if the task can be done by one person and in manageable length, but the fresh commentary both sums up briefly what has gone before and takes us into new territory. Frequently enough it is a methodological approach that provides fresh light, as Howard Marshall subjected tradition criticism to withering scrutiny and Darrell Bock examined Luke through the lens of a biblical theology, while Joel Green read Luke through the lens of a literary approach alongside a judicious use of social-scientific discoveries about ...