(Commendations From Scholars)
“In this engaging book, Borgman and Clark open the ears of their readers to the patterns that helped n ancient oral culture hear and respond to the good news. In so doing, they offer us the opportunity to hear the good news afresh and to respond with renewed vigor to the message of Jesus.”
Ruth Anne Reese, Asbury Theological Seminary
“This is a wonderfully written, theologically alert, and practically purposeful book. Teachers and clergy alike, who are keen to lead their students and parishioners in close readings of Scripture, will want to add this book to their libraries. Highly recommended!”
Robert Wall, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary
“Written to be Heard pays huge dividends for modern/postmodern readers of the gospels today, as the authors show how ‘oral performance’ connects each successive unit to an emerging new whole and thus establish a cadence of advancing coherence, significance, and lasting impact of Jesus’s many interactions with his ‘followers.’ Indeed, Borgman and Clark advance narrative comprehension to a new level!”
David P. Moessner, Texas Christian University
“In the introduction, the authors state that they intentionally limit their engagement with secondary references to keep the gospel messages front and center (5). This is commendable, as the prose is clear and accessible to readers at every level. This is also practical, as the book attempts to provide fresh readings of five canonical texts….Borgman and Clark’s close reading of the biblical narratives, especially in identifying key ideas and literary structures within each text, is both ambitious and commendable. Not only do the authors show extensive care for the narratives, but the volume is accessible and could comfortably find a place in an introductory course at either the high school or undergraduate level.”
Zechariah Eberhart, in Reading Religion (American Academy of Religion), 9/24/22
“While many other commentaries provide word-by-word dissection, Written to Be Heard fills in the often missing literary angle by providing a valuable overview of the themes of each book, helping the reader not to lose the forest in the trees. As a future minister of Word and Sacrament, I find Written to Be Heard an incredibly practical guide to noticing what the oral literary approach to the Gospels can teach us about the kingdom of God.”
Brianne Christiansen, in Journal of Reformed Theology, 2021
The Forward For Written To Be Heard By Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale University, Professor Emeritus)
You and I, literate citizens of the modern world, typically engage the New Testament gospels in the same way we engage most narratives: we read them; we don’t listen to them read aloud. And in our reading, we naturally employ the habits and skills we have acquired for reading and interpreting modern narratives, historical or fictional. We read the gospels as if they were modern narratives.
Some of us listen to passages from the gospels read aloud in church. But the printed liturgy for the day usually includes the text of the passage, inviting us to follow along by reading. And even if we don’t follow along, our listening is no different, in essentials, from reading the passage for ourselves.
Almost always, our reading of the gospels consists of reading snatches. Few of us have ever read a gospel straight through, and, almost certainly, none of us has ever listened to a gospel read aloud straight through. We don’t have time. In our liturgies, our group Bible studies, our private devotions, we content ourselves with snatches.
In our interpretation of what we read, we typically treat each gospel as part of that larger composition which is the Gospels, or the New Testament. And we employ theological lenses—the lens of Pauline theology, the lens of the theology of the book of Hebrews, or some alternative. We interpret what one of the gospels says about salvation, about sin, about righteousness, about Christ’s crucifixion, in the light of what the other gospels say about those matters and through the lens of our theology.
After developing the point that the gospels were written to be listened to by people who had the listening skills and habits of antiquity, the authors of Written to Be Heard analyze each gospel in detail to answer the question, What would ancient listeners have heard as the message of the gospel when they listened to it read in its entirety rather than in snatches, and when it was presented as a unified whole rather than as part of that larger entity which is the Gospels, or the New Testament? What cues would they have picked up as to the structure of the gospel and hence its message? What would they have heard as the message when they did not interpret it in the light of the theology of the New Testament epistles?
In their introductory discussion of ancient compositional and listening practices, the authors place special emphasis on two points. Authors in the ancient world who created compositions for listening typically made heavy use of repetitions to structure their composition: repetitions of words, of turns of phrase, of types of episodes, of images. Listeners grasped the structure of the composition, and hence its meaning, by being attentive to those repetitions. Repetition is seldom a structuring device in modern narratives, with the result that we are not attuned to taking note of repetitions. And even if we were, the fact that we read and listen to the gospels in snatches results in our seldom being aware of the repetitions and of their structuring function.
Authors in the ancient world were also fond of using so-called chiastic structures. In a chiastic structure, the main point of the passage is in the center. What immediately follows the center (call it A′) mirrors what immediately preceded the center (call it A); what follows A′ mirrors what preceded A; and so forth. Modern authors do not use chiastic structures, and so, of course, we are not attuned to taking note of them when we read ancient literature. We fail to catch the main point of a chiastically structured passage.
The detailed reading of the four gospels plus the book of Acts that Written to Be Heardpresents is a literary reading. But it’s a literary reading of a very different sort from most so-called literary readings. Most literary readings of the gospels treat them as texts meant to be read rather than listened to, and they employ modern skills and habits of interpretation. They do not invite and enable us to become first-century listeners.
The experience of many readers will be, as was mine, that of scales falling from one’s eyes. So that’s the message of Matthew, of Mark, of Luke-Acts, of John! I had never noticed those repetitions, or those chiastic structures. Nothing in my training as a reader led me to notice them. So I missed the cues to the structure of the gospel, and hence its main message. And even if I had been trained to notice repetitions, the fact that I engage the gospels in snatches means that I miss most of them. As for interpretation, I had always interpreted each gospel as part of that larger composition which is the Gospels, and through the lens of Pauline theology.
Why didn’t someone write Written to Be Heard long ago?
Journal of Reformed Theology © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2021 | doi:10.1163/15697312-01501011
Reviewed by: Brianne Christiansen pc(usa) Candidate for Ministry, Arkansas, USA
In the world of literary criticism, Borgman and Clark’s Written to Be Heard: Recovering the Messages of the Gospel provides a practical guide for “reading” the Gospels as they were originally intended: to be heard. Paul Borgman has spent his life studying the biblical narrative through the lens of literary criticism. He currently teaches literature at Gordon College. Kelly James Clark is a research fellow at Kaufman Interfaith Institute and an international advocate for interfaith dialogue, focusing on the Abrahamic religions. He joins Borgman for Borgman’s fourth book on scripture and literary criticism.
Written to be Heard focuses on the gospels and Acts. Borgman and Kelly claim we most often approach the Gospels as a portion of the larger story of scripture. While this reading has value, it causes us to focus only on the beginning and end of the story, and “we ignore their ‘missing middles’—precisely where we learn what the life and death of Jesus mean. The main body of each gospel, which tells us what it is about, has been lost” (3).
Borgman and Clark suggest we should instead approach the Bible as a text meant to be listened to—or written to be heard. An oral reading of the gospel pays attention to repeated words, phrases, and themes, and notices chiastic structures. Reading the Gospels as a book meant to be heard will fill in that missing middle as these tools of oral literature highlight the larger themes of each individual gospel.
Contrary to what the title may suggest, this book is not a lengthy argument regarding the orality of scripture. Instead, Borgman and Clark make their case for hearing the Gospels in their first chapter and then argue their case through what follows: commentaries on the four Gospels and Acts. Each section focuses on a different biblical book, highlighting overarching themes and then briefly walking through the book, taking note of literary repetitions and structuring.
The book in totality is just under four hundred pages, including the endnotes, so the commentary is not as extensive as one would experience in most verse-by-verse explorations of biblical texts. But it is clearly well researched. The book contains an extensive bibliography and a notes section that highlights significant cross-references and explains more about the literary culture of the Gospels.
The commentary itself has minimal footnotes by design. Borgman and Clark want the reader to experience the text as close to the original hearing/reading as possible, so they believe extensive footnoting might distract. But those who have not done work with the orality of biblical literature (and particularly the field of performance criticism) may miss the footnotes and textual references that have been eliminated in Borgman and Clark’s commentary.
Though the opening argument for reading the Gospels as oral texts is interesting and important for understanding the methodology of the commentaries that follow, I think this book is best used as a commentary companion when studying the Gospels or Acts. It is short enough that one could skim the entire section on a given gospel, getting an overview of the book’s themes, and then zero in on a particular section to see those themes reflected through specific repetition and chiastic structure.
While many other commentaries provide word-by-word dissection, Written to Be Heard fills in the often missing literary angle by providing a valuable overview of the themes of each book, helping the reader not to lose the forest in the trees. As a future minister of Word and Sacrament, I find Written to Be Heard an incredibly practical guide to noticing what the oral literary approach to the Gospels can teach us about the kingdom of God.
Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology,” 2020, Vol. 74(3) 306–324
Reviewed by Holly Hearon of Christian Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota
Reading the Gospels is a skill that requires some understanding of how each text goes about telling the story of Jesus. The purpose of this volume is to help beginning students of the Bible develop their skills at identifying the narrative arc and central themes of each Gospel.
With N.T. Wright, authors Paul Borgman and Kelly Clark emphasize the importance of attending to the whole of the narrative, not just the beginning and the end, and to considering how the parts contribute to the whole. They also stress that the written Gospels were “written to be heard.” This translates into attention to patterns that occur and recur in each text.
Following a brief introduction, the volume is divided into five parts, one for each Gospel. Because Acts is treated as an extension of Luke one part is dedicated also to this text. Each part contains five to seven short chapters, on average twelve pages in length, making the volume well designed for parish or classroom settings.
Each chapter examines a subsection of the unfolding narrative, keeping the focus sharply on the story being told. The authors employ straightforward language that draws readers into the biblical text. Copious subheadings serve as guideposts. The experience is of reading alongside a master reader, who skillfully guides us through the landscape of the text, ensuring that we don’t miss key points on the way.
The volume does not stray into historical background, discussion of authorship, or consideration of genre. This is in no way a shortcoming; there are other places to find such information. The result is that the authors challenge readers to keep their attention fully on the text and only the text. This is, as experienced readers know, harder than it seems.
Such focused reading also challenges readers to set aside their assumptions about what the text means based on information outside the text. This, too, is harder than it seems. A distinctive aspect of the volume is the attention to “hearing cues”: ways in which the narrative appeals to the ear rather than the eye.
This opens up new dimensions in the reading/hearing experience and illuminates often overlooked aspects of the text. If there is a critique, it is that this could be developed even more.
This well conceived volume is recommended to any who have an interest in the practice of reading with care in order to hear what the Gospels say.
Reviews From Peer-Reviewed Journals:
Genesis: The Story We Haven’t Heard Reviewed in Review of Biblical Literature, SBL/RBL, 10/2003. Roy E. Gane, Andrews University
At first glance the subtitle of Paul Borgman’s Genesis: The Story We Haven’t Heard (252 pages, including selected bibliography plus subject, author, and scripture indices) looks pretentious. After all, the analyses of Genesis over hundreds of years and the plethora of recent commentaries coming at it from a variety of scholarly and popular angles, how could we not have heard the story of this biblical book? Haven’t sensitive and astute literary critics, such as Robert Alter (Genesis: Translation and Commentary [New York: Norton, 1996]), alerted us to every nuance on several levels? Borgman delivers on his subtitle. The contribution of this English professor is to convincingly expose a web of narrative/literary connections that reveal dynamics of human and divine repetition and change within the context of a unified drama. Rather than viewing Genesis as a series of exegetical, literary, theological, or devotional bits and pieces, Borgman perceives under the surface of the whole book a powerful clarification of human experience that can transform hearers or readers by involving them in the narrative.
Reviews From Peer-Reviewed Journals
J.E. Tollington, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 2009
In this monograph B. challenges readers to engage with the story of David in the books of Samuel and Kings with the ears and interpretative skills of an ancient audience rather than the methodology of modern readers or literary critics. Initially he reviews recent scholarship that focuses on interpreting the story‘s final form and draws attention to what he perceives as weaknesses in the approach adopted or conclusions reached. According to B. the story is unified and has been carefully crafted, making deliberate use of patterns and repetitions, so that a ‘reader‘ is prompted to recall a memory from earlier in the story both to enhance understanding and to move the story forwards. Each chapter explores one or two of the patterns identified by B. through a close reading of the relevant sections of the biblical text whereby the whole story is studied. He argues that the story concerns the identity, character and intentions of Saul, David and above all, the God of the Bible. Through the complexity of the narrative, the choices made by the major participants, the good and bad outcomes that result, the messiness through which the story moves and the indeterminate future to which it always points, the audience ultimately comes to know God, a God whose steadfast loyalty towards Israel‘s well-being is unchanging even though the divine mind can and does change. B.offers a new way of understanding ambiguous or seemingly contradictory texts which is a welcome contribution to this field of study.
Graeme Auld, New College, University Of Edinburgh
Theological Review, Volume 21, No.1, 2009
From the formulation of his title onwards, Borgman gives us confidence that he is confronting two of the principal themes of the book of Samuel: why was(an admittedly flawed) David more to the divine liking than Saul, and what does this tell us about the nature of God in this book? He finds his answers by exploring a selection of the patterns of varying repetition: anointing’s, sparing’s, sinning’s, responses-to-death-news, and the make-up of leadership….All of these are interesting; and most of them convincing. Twice David spares Saul’s life. On the second occasion David has Saul in his power, but spares his life (1 Samuel 26), he does not just recall the first, but also reminds us of his earlier lone self moving confidently into Goliath’s space.
In a final chapter, he checks his reading of Samuel by comparing its David and Yahweh with Homer’s Odysseus and his divine patron Athene.
There are minor mistakes, but not many: Jerusalem-born Solomon was not senior to Hebron-born Adonijah; the Shimei of 1 Kings 1 is unlikely to be the same man as the always carefully introduced ‘Shimei ben Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim’.
It is particularly pleasing that Borgman takes 2 Samuel 21-24 very seriously as integral to the book and vital to its interpretation: Saul illustrating again with the Gibeonites his capacity to ruin even a good thing; flawed David always able to confess and seek forgiveness; and what it can possibly mean for such
a sinful king to claim integrity before Yahweh (2 Samuel 22:21-31). He buttresses his case by extending the parameters of the text under review to include the bleak kingless chapters at the end of Judges and the opening of 1 Kings, with Solomon on the throne, the temple built, and the ark installed there (1 Kings 8).
Yet, had he applied his method to studying the many comparators in Samuel to the progressive collapse throughout 1-2 Kings of two monarchies, he might have developed a third principal theme of Samuel: that kingship itself, though better illustrated in David than in Saul, is still unsatisfactory to Yahweh Barbara Green’s powerful reading of 1 Samuel (How Are the Mighty Fallen?, 2003) is listed but never discussed.
Comments Solicited By The Publisher (Oxford University Press)::
Everett Fox, Allen M. Glick Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies, Clark University, and author of The Five Books of Moses: A New English Translation with Commentary and Notes
In an era of numerous deconstructions and reconstructions of the Hebrew Bible’s David, Paul Borgman has produced a detailed and thoughtful close reading of the accounts found in Samuel and the opening of Kings. Acknowledging the veneration and vilification applied to ‘Israel’s greatest, if massively flawed king’ by traditional and recent interpreters, Borgman seeks to unravel the mystery of who David is, making pointed use of the text’s significant patterns of repetition. While engaging fully with recent literary scholarship on Saul and David, Borgman sets out in a fruitful direction of his own, examining the larger seep of the narrative fully incorporating such oft-misunderstood sections as the ‘Appendix’ of II Samuel 21-24. In helping us to see David in both his unabated complexity and his ability to grow morally, Borgman makes new sense of texts which are often viewed as ambiguous or contradictory. His reading illuminates Saul, David, and, above all, the God of the Bible.”
Peter D. Miscall, Author Of 1Samuel And Reading Isaiah
In a literary reading of the books of Samuel, Borgman makes special used of both small and large patterns of repetition to develop his view of David. He sets it against other depictions of David, especially those presenting a dark, questionable David. His book is an excellent introduction the the complexity of the biblical portrait of David and to the contemporary study of biblical narrative.
Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, And Author Of First And Second Samuel
Borgman undertakes an important study of the narratives in which he lays out, in an astute way, the artistic patterns that shape the narrative in quite intentional ways. While Borgman of course cannot offer and ‘final interpretation,’ his scholarship opens new ways of seeing and reading, and is a welcome contribution to a growing literature.
Reviews From Peer-Reviewed Journals
Thelologische Literaturzeiting, 132 (2007) 6 (translation, Joanna Epling)
Borgman wishes us to learn to hear, since the Lukan double work [Luke and Acts] itself goes back to oral tradition and must have been read aloud originally. A professor of English at Gordon College in Wenham/Massachusetts, the author chooses the path of narrative exegesis, managing almost completely without diachronic analyses. In his introduction (1-15) he states the problems inherent to modern-day recipients of the Lukan writings and communicates in this way his own motivation: To promote a better understanding, we should not just read but read aloud the text of Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles in their total context, not split up into individual text portions. Borgman’s work is easy to read because of its clear structure, and he addresses it to exegetes, as well as to students and interested laypeople. The latter will presumably not mind the absence of a discussion with other scholarly authors and approaches, though the first readership might. There is no attempt to structure the work into the history of research or to synchronize it with the concert of Luke-exegeses, and Borgman’s remarks limit themselves mostly to Biblical references. It is clear that those attempting to delineate the entire Lukan works in one book cannot offer any detailed individual exegeses – Borgman sketches the broad strokes of the narrative and studies the places and themes that seem to him most important. With short italicized passages at the beginnings and ends of individual sections, he creates reader-friendly headlines. He also encapsulates his conclusions in precise summaries.
Borgman tries to connect the theme of the “Way” (not in the geographical or biographical sense, however) to the Lukan double work as a whole, and so he calls the first part of his work on Lk 1:1-9:50 (17-74) the narrative preparation for the Way. Just as he recognizes in Mary an exemplary person for Luke’s request, so he shows in different places that the auctor ad Theophilum is an author very adept at composing and a brilliant wordsmith. Mary is a type insofar as she “hears” God’s word and acts appropriately (23-25); that is, she demonstrates obedience – and so she is on the Way. Borgman sees twelve preparatory pieces of poetry (“clustered poems”) in the first part of Luke’s gospel, to which he adds Lk 1:46-55 and 1:67-79, but also 4:18-19 and 6:20-49. The content of these texts centers on the Peace as all-encompassing “shalom – justice” that Jesus is supposed to bring (28). As Luke places these admittedly positive aspects in the limelight, he also broaches the issue of opposing forces (Satan, demons, darkness; 54-74) and shows in this way how important the fight for justice is, which again makes clear why a large treatise is necessary to communicate that which is crucial to the gospel (72).
Logically consistent, Borgman recognizes in Lk 9:51-19:44 a section teaching the principles of the Way (75-214) and he shows that Luke has fashioned a well-thought-out ring composition whose center is Lk 13:23-30 (see Organizational-overview ). Here it is however critical to ask how a “hearer” of the gospel according to Luke can deduce such an extensive compositional design. Is it really possible to connect these distant “echoes” to their initial presence in the text? Even Borgman’s arranged themes are certainly not in all places as obvious as he claims, which is probably also because he has bound together the content of several pericopes. According to this principle, Lk 9:51-10:24 and 18:35-19:44 would coincide thematically in that they focus on peace (77-96). The same would be true of Lk 10:25 and 18:15-34 in their joint handling of eternal life. Borgman works out further themes of the Lukan travelogue as prayer, the question of sign (Zeichen) and status, poverty and wealth, the renunciation of property, privileges, family and old religious ties (111-202). The travelogue is for him a way or a journey, since he sees it as the story of the journey to the Kingdom of God, compared with whose importance geographical details play a peripheral role. In any case, Luke creates in this way a dramatic tension between the Kingdom of God and Jerusalem – this is proven not least by the “bull’s eye” of the ring-composition, the pericope of the narrow gate and the closed door (203-214). For Borgman, this is at the heart of Lukan theology; he shows much less attention to Jesus’ stay in Jerusalem and to the Passion story (Lk 19:45-24:53), a section that Borgman names as indicative of the Way.
In the fourth part of his work, Borgman turns to the book of Acts, which focuses on the ever-broadening Way (247-372). While Luke’s gospel introduces and develops the themes of the Way, Luke’s second work no longer puts a strong emphasis on the content of the new teaching, instead of reaching back to Jesus’ initial teaching, outlining its effects (263). The first chapter features a doubling of the Ascension account (249-263); then follow seven chapters with 19 structured speeches. It is here that Borgman sees the material of central importance to the author, so that the narrative passages and the geographic notes and progression are only of peripheral interest. One wonders whether this is appropriate for a work with a programmatic beginning such as the one found in Acts 1:8. Borgman shows the principles of organization in the speeches and outlines their exemplary structures (c.f. also the overview charts, for example 279, 307, 325). In this way, [that] the first three speeches of Peter follow the scheme of Jesus’ last speech in Luke 24:44-49: the centrality of the Resurrection, Conversion/Repentance, and the Holy Spirit/Empowerment (264-279). Stephen’s speech, says Borgman, marks a turning-point in Acts, since with the opening to the pagans, the Way widens literally, especially after Peter presents it as free (293-308).
In the portion of the text concerning Paul, Borgman recognizes the two speeches (Acts 13:16-41; 28:25-28) signs of framing. While the first is paradigmatic in its handling of the Israel-theme, the last speech shows with its “bittersweet” tone the discrepancy in the idea that some will be saved, others lost (323). Borgman believes it is of primary importance that peace will come to the nations through Israel (324). The “Gospel” according to Paul, especially recognizable in the speeches in Acts 17:22-31 and 20:18-35, is characterized by the nonappearance of forgiveness of sins and sacrificial death. Instead, the system of sacrificial offering is replaced by a particularly Lukan vision: every “Wayfarer” bears the responsibility of the consequences of other people’s misconduct by doing good for others and bringing peace to the outsiders (326-339). Of Paul’s three defense-speeches Acts (21, 24 26), Borgman sees the last one as offering an excellent overview of Pauline theology from Luke’s perspective (340-354). The three-fold mention of Paul’s conversion experience in Acts (9, 22 and 26) shows, finally, the huge significance of the Conversion-theme as turning away from darkness and towards the light (355-372).
Borgman closes his work with the idea that in Acts 16:30ff we can see the entire message of Luke in nuce (373ff). Using nine key concepts, he delineates Lukan theology, at the center of which he sees the declaration of peace through Jesus Christ, a peace that is accepted and shared by people who hear God’s word and act in obedience to it. This is the Way of which Luke speaks (374-391).
Borgman presents us with an interpretation of the Lukan double work, whose metaphor of the Way draws its recipients on an unexpected journey. It is his goal to inspire us to the Lukan notion of hearing the Word of the Lord as we listen aurally to Luke and Acts; however, the question of whether the hearer is actually in a position to recognize and receive the details of Luke’s composition as Borgman offers them remains to be explored in greater detail.
Sharon H. Ringe, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC
Dr. Borgman’s book begins with the premise that modern practices of reading the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts separately—and, even worse, reading isolated pericopes—instead of hearing the two volumes read aloud as a single work, mask the true genius and significance of Luke’s project. He uses literary critical techniques, and narrative criticism in particular, to attempt to counter-balance the deficiencies produced by those modern reading practices.
Each term in the book’s title is important in B.’s analysis of Luke-Acts. According to B. “the Way” summarizes that which is taught and demonstrated by Jesus (in the Gospel) and by redeemed Israel in Jesus’ name (in Acts). That Way is further described as the “way of salvation,” the reign of God, and the “way of peace,” and it must be both understood and practiced. “According to Luke” calls readers to engage in the Evangelist’s project as outlined in both volumes of his work—God’s purposes seen in the events around Jesus, especially as those are demonstrated in Acts. “Hearing” is the mode by which B. understands that Luke’s narrative is to be grasped, and he highlights “hearing-clues” in the dominant patterns of repetition by which the story’s themes, characters, and actions unfold. “The whole story” expresses B.’s determination that the two volumes of Luke’s work be seen as a single whole, and that narrative be recognized as Luke’s means of carrying out his historical and theological goals.
Despite his focus on reading (or hearing) Luke’s two books as a single narrative, B.’s analysis of the various constituent units (down to individual pericopes) is clear and fresh. While most of the study follows the narrative order in moving through the pericopes of each section that elaborates one aspect of “the Way,” B. discerns a chiastic structure of the journey narrative (Luke 9:51-19:44) that demonstrates the literary and thematic integrity of that important section of Luke’s Gospel. Even if it stood alone, that section of B.’s book would be worth the price of the whole.
Borgman has presented a readable and accessible study of Luke-Acts. It is that accessibility and the conciseness of his book that distinguishes it from those of B.’s many colleagues on whose work he draws, and whose various perspectives he draws together in a single volume. Combining as it does critical insight and theological and pastoral sensitivity, this is a book that could well be assigned in a seminary or advanced college course on Luke-Acts, and it would be an excellent resource for pastors or educators who are working with those books (for example, during Year C of the lectionary cycle).
Comments Solicited By The Publisher (Eerdmans):
Joel B. Green, Author Of NICNT Volume On Luke And The Theology Of The Gospel Of Luke
“In this exploration of Luke’s literary art, Paul Borgman displays his significant gifts as sensitive reader and trusted guide. Although fully engaged with contemporary study of Luke-Acts, he is no slave to ‘the experts’ as he demonstrates again and again how Luke’s narrative works to shape our grasp of Luke’s literary and theological agenda. Biblical studies is the richer on account of this sort of interdisciplinary work.
Robert W. Wall, Author Of NIB Commentary On Acts
“This fine study from Paul Borgman examines the narrative coherence of Luke’s gospel and his Acts from the perspective of an auditor, who likely would have been among the first beneficiaries of Luke’s literary masterpiece. Repeated themes and wordplays are ‘ear clues’ that not only frame the plotline of a good story but more importantly supply the rich texture of the core beliefs of a biblical faith. Borgman’s formalist treatment of Luke and Acts amply shows the importance of a careful analysis of literary patterns in guiding the theological interpretation of biblical narrative.”
James L. Resseguie, Author Of Narrative Criticism Of The New Testament: An Introduction
“Paul Borgman gives us an engaging and lively reading of Luke-Acts that attends to the balanced patterns, narrative echoes, and interlocking themes of Luke’s two-part story. By reading the narrative on its own terms as narrative art, Borgman recovers what is often missed — a coherent and compelling story of God’s message of peace. The Way according to Luke sets high the standard for how to read and hear New Testament narratives, and is certain to stir interest in biblical stories as artistic, unified narratives.”