David R. Bauer
The Book of Acts as Tory: A Narrative-Critical Study
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2021.
This volume by Bauer examines the Book of Acts by taking seriously the book's storied character as an engaging and powerful narrative through which Luke communicates the history of the church. While giving attention to historical background, Bauer’s purpose is to lead readers through a close reading of Acts that yields fresh insights into the deeper meaning of passages throughout the book of Acts. It thus demonstrates that a narrative-critical study can yield exciting theological fruit.
This book is really good as an explanation of narrative criticism and an exemplary application of narrative criticism to the Book of acts. There is no bogging down with questions of authenticity, sources, or extraneous Einleitung. Bauer simply re-tells the story of the church by Luke or shows how Luke’s story creates meaning through various devices and features. It’s a good alternative to the dry and dreary grind of historical parallels and lexical data that many Acts commentaries possess.
To be honest, I think I still prefer Robert Tannehill’s narrative critical summary of Acts, which is great for how the repetition of themes creates meaning. However, Bauer has done a good job of updating the discussion of a narrative critical view of Acts in a way that is accessible and useful.
Here’s the TOC
1. Approaching Acts
2. Narrative Criticism and Acts
3. Literary Structure of Acts
4. The Promise and the Preparation: Acts 1:1-26
5. The Witness to Jerusalem: Acts 2:1-8:1a
6. The Witness to All Judea and Samaria as Far as Antioch: Acts 8:1b-12:25
7. The Witness to the End of the Earth: Acts 13:1-28:31