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series: Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament

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Mikeal Parsons, a leading scholar on Luke and Acts, offers a practical commentary on Luke that is conversant with contemporary scholarship, draws on ancient backgrounds, and attends to the theological nature of the texts. This commentary, like each in the Paideia series, proceeds by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the historical, literary, and theological insight Parsons provides in interpreting the Gospel of Luke.

About the Series
Paideia commentaries explore how New Testament texts form Christian readers by
• attending to the ancient narrative and rhetorical strategies the text employs
• showing how the text shapes theological convictions and moral habits
• commenting on the final, canonical form of each New Testament book
• focusing on the cultural, literary, and theological settings of the text
• making judicious use of maps, photos, and sidebars in a reader-friendly format

Editorial Board
†Paul J. Achtemeier (emeritus, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia), Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield), C. Clifton Black (Princeton Theological Seminary), Susan R. Garrett (Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary), Francis J. Moloney, SDB (Salesian Province of Australia)


"With this outstanding new commentary on the Gospel of Luke by Mikeal C. Parsons, Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament adds another stellar volume. This lucid, concise commentary displays the distinctive strengths that Parsons has brought to a distinguished career as scholar and author. With a keen eye for the literary artistry of Luke's narrative, impressive knowledge of Luke's cultural environment, and an ear carefully tuned to the rhetorical design and impact of this Gospel, Parsons provides a reliable guide for readers of Luke. On a variety of selected themes the commentary offers brief and provocative theological reflections that engage the religious imagination and allow the narrative's ethical vision to gain a fresh hearing by contemporary readers. I am pleased to give this book my enthusiastic endorsement."

John T. Carroll, Harriet Robertson Fitts Memorial Professor of New Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, Virginia; co-chair of the SBL Section on the Gospel of Luke

"Since his groundbreaking Departure of Jesus in Luke-Acts in 1987, Mikeal Parsons has been a leading voice in Lukan studies, and this outstanding Paideia commentary marks his latest important contribution to the field. Rich with illustrations and informative sidebars, this text not only explores the first-century literary, rhetorical, historical, cultural, and theological contexts of the Lukan narrative but also carefully interprets the final form of Luke section by section and distills critical theological issues raised by the Lukan text. No one is better suited than Parsons for the task of creating such a multifaceted commentary on the Gospel of Luke, and he delivers an innovative and helpful work--brilliant yet succinct and accessible."

David B. Gowler, Pierce Chair of Religion, Oxford College of Emory University

"Mikeal Parsons deftly navigates through Luke's Gospel, attending to its rhetoric, theology, historical context, and interpretive history. His rich engagement with the text itself makes this companion volume to his Acts Paideia commentary a welcome read."

Brittany E. Wilson, Duke University Divinity School

"Contract a Greco-Roman historian, a literary critic, and a theologian--or commission Mikeal Parsons! Filled with rich interdisciplinary and intertextual insights, Luke in the Paideia Commentaries is vintage Parsons: tersely brilliant."

David P. Moessner, A. A. Bradford Chair and Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University

"Mikeal Parsons's Paidea commentary on Luke adds to the growing appreciation of the literary and rhetorical environment in which the Gospels were written. Parsons's close attention to the rhetoric of the narrative--his exposition of and at times delight in the various devices and figures that help to advance Luke's story of Jesus--will reward many readers. Rather than focusing on historical elements behind the Gospel story, Parsons allows us to see and at times hear the way the ancient audience might have heard this story of Jesus. Working with a rich understanding of ancient literature and rhetorical education, Parsons leads the modern interpreter to a richer appreciation for the context of this Gospel. He allows the various texts that would have been present for the ancient audience, including but not limited to other Gospels, to help inform a deeper understanding of Luke's rhetorical strategy. This will certainly be an important volume for readers of both Luke and the Gospels in general."

Mark A. Matson, associate professor of Bible, Milligan College

The Author

  1. Mikeal C. Parsons

    Mikeal C. Parsons

    Mikeal C. Parsons (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Kidd L. and Buna Hitchcock Macon Chair in Religion at Baylor University and the author of several books, including Acts in Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament and The...

    Continue reading about Mikeal C. Parsons


"The series foreword . . . states, 'This series is aimed squarely at students' from upper-level undergraduates to seminarians. Seldom has a book hit its target as well as this volume. A better first commentary will not be easy to identify. Those who employ Luke for professional purposes will also find it a useful addition to their library. . . . Parsons is in firm control of literary criticism and can deploy it so deftly that his readers may not know that their guide is an expert until they reach the end of their journey. . . . Parsons knows the rhetorical textbooks and cites them more than fifty times to illustrate Lucan techniques. . . . Format and layout are excellent. A concise introduction is followed by a section on 'narrative flow,' with fine sidebars that keep the context unrolling before the audience, paragraphs of detailed comment on units of varying size, and 'theological issues.'. . . These sections place the commentary in an explicitly Christian context. Their presence urges readers to think about application. . . . An exemplary text for a student series."

Richard I. Pervo,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Parsons here offers rich fare. His theological reflections may not always emerge from Luke's text; they are stimulating and focused. . . . Assuredly, his volume will remain a readable, insightful introduction to Luke as Christian writing. Readers are indebted to Mikeal Parsons."

Peter Doble,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"[Parsons] draws upon Lukan scholarship effectively and judiciously, providing the reader with adequate guidance to additional resources without overwhelming the reader's patience. In keeping with the goals of the series, the volume is particularly noteworthy for its attention to ancient texts, parallels, and cultural insights. The (black and white) pictures, insets, and textual enrichments are well conceived and professionally produced. These added materials significantly enhance the interpretive value of the volume for modern readers. . . . This commentary is highly recommended for students, scholars, and ministers."

Thomas E. Phillips,

Religious Studies Review

"[Parsons] has written numerous books and articles on Luke and the Acts of the Apostles and brings that rich expertise to this commentary on the gospel. . . . Parsons writes clearly and incisively, laying out the structure, content, and, in a concluding section, the theological issues that emerge in each major segment of Luke's account. This is a very well-balanced and valuable resource for exploring Luke's gospel."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"Parsons provides seminarians and other theologically interested students of Luke's writings with an erudite grasp of Greco-Roman rhetorical techniques, biblical and intertestamental literature, as well as interpretive traditions from the ancient to late-modern periods. . . . All who read Parsons will benefit greatly."

Gregory R. Perry,


"[Parsons] masterfully paints a portrait of Luke as literary artist. . . . Numerous figures, tables, maps, photographs, and structural outline graphics appear throughout the work helping to immerse the reader in the first-century Lukan Sitz im Leben, as well as to trace the rhetorical flow throughout Luke's Gospel. . . . There is much to commend in Parsons's work. . . . [It] is scholarly, yet accessible. . . . Many of Parsons's insights are fresh and make a novel contribution to Lukan studies. . . . Parsons's commentary enables its readers to focus on the text of Luke holistically--thus, noticing the connections between the macro and micro structures of the text. . . . Parsons's commentary evinces the erudition and fruit of a lifetime of scholarship devoted to the study of the literary artistry of Luke's Gospel. . . . This work hits the mark and deserves a spot on the shelf of any serious student of Luke's Gospel. . . . It is a valuable tool for anyone who is teaching/preaching through Luke's Gospel."

Gregory E. Lamb,

Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

Praise for the Paideia series

"The Paideia commentary series has established itself as a solid series of concise works that focus on the final form of the biblical text, highlighting narrative flow, rhetorical devices and structure, and commenting particularly on relevant historical background and theological significance."

Craig L. Blomberg,

Denver Journal

"[I] continue to be impressed by the contributors' skill in combining academic rigor with accessibility. . . . The [series] authors . . . combine historical and linguistic analysis with theological reflection, which makes these commentaries useful for those interested in bridging the gap between the ancient world and contemporary Christianity (seminarians, clergy). . . . Frequent inserts with asides [offer] additional explanations or attempts to relate ancient texts to contemporary issues."

Michael Gilmour,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly