The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles (5 volumes)
The landmark 5-volume critical commentary on the Book of Acts, edited and written by eminent New Testament scholars and historians Kirsopp Lake, F. J. Foakes Jackson, Henry J. Cadbury and J. H. Ropes, along with other contributors.
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In celebration of the day of Pentecost and the birth of the Church, we are proud to offer The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles—a Biblesoft exclusive—available here for the first time as a full electronic text! This five-volume work, published between 1920 and 1933, and originally planned as the first part of a larger project, represents a landmark of critical scholarship on the New Testament. At more than 2500 pages in print, this comprehensive commentary covers virtually every area of the book of Acts. If you have a question on any point of the text, you are likely to find it addressed somewhere in these volumes.
Volumes 1 & 2 (also available for purchase separately): The first two volumes serve as an Introduction (Prolegomena) to the book of Acts. Volume 1 treats the historical and cultural background (Jewish, Roman, and early Christian) of the book, with articles by the Editors (F. J. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake), as well as several other scholars. Volume 2 is devoted to questions of authorship and composition of the book, along with sections on the history of criticism, with articles by leading scholars of the period.
Volume 3:The Text of Acts, is a detailed text-critical Commentary on Acts by James Hardy Ropes. Textual criticism on this book is especially complicated due to the significant differences between the Majority Text and the so-called "Western" recension. These issues are dealt with both in the lengthy Introduction and in the Textual notes. For each verse or passage discussed in the notes, the Alexandrian Text (here represented by the Westcott-Hort critical text) and the Western Text of Codex Bezae can be brought up side by side for comparison.
Volume 4:English Translation and Commentary, by Kirsopp Lake and Henry J. Cadbury. This volume represents the main Commentary, and, on its own, stands as a valuable critical commentary on Acts, with nearly every verse discussed in some detail. The accompanying English translation can be accessed at the start of each chapter, or together at the end of the volume.
Volume 5 (also available for purchase separately):Additional Notes. A Supplement to the Commentary in Volume 4, these are in-depth articles (by Lake & Cadbury, as well as several others) on key passages and related matters—including critical questions, points of interpretation, historical background, literary parallels, and more!
We have given considerable time and attention to this valuable work, making sure that the Greek text and all the many references are accurate and linked together. Bible references by default link to the Greek New Testament (and LXX); in addition, references to the Pseudepigrapha, the Early Church Fathers, Josephus and Philo are linked, including (wherever possible) to the Greek text of the Apostolic Fathers, Philo and Josephus. When a verse is discussed in more than one location within the volumes, Biblesoft's Commentary interface allows you to browse all occurrences—whether in the main Commentary, Textual Notes, Introduction or Supplementary articles—and select the one you want. Despite having been written more than 80 years ago, these volumes have more than stood the test of time. Nearly all subsequent critical studies on Acts have built on the work of Lake, Cadbury, Ropes, et al, and it continues to be consulted and cited with great frequency by scholars today. All told, The Beginnings of Christianity remains unsurpassed, and is arguably the most thorough and comprehensive Commentary on Acts ever written.
The Beginnings of Christianity was produced in the same period (and in much the same manner) as the landmark International Critical Commentary (ICC) series. Since the original ICC set did not include a volume on Acts, the 5-volume Beginnings serves as the perfect complement. If you have not yet purchased the ICC New Testament series from Biblesoft, you may want to take advantage of this limited opportunity to buy both the ICC and The Beginnings of Christianity together—and save! These are two commentary sets that belong in the library of every serious Bible student (and aspiring scholar), and are well worth the investment.