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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Pharisees and Figured Speech in Luke-Acts
Howell, Justin R.

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017 pp. xii + 386. $141.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/456

Description: Published in English. A scholarly consensus holds that Luke is ambivalent toward the Pharisees, or at least that he has left readers with an ambiguous depiction of them. What previous evaluations of the Lukan Pharisees have left unanswered, however, is why Luke would give such an impression of these characters and then what might lie behind the rhetorical effects of ambiguity. Justin R. Howell reevaluates the long-standing debate about the Pharisees in Luke-Acts, arguing the thesis that there is ambiguity in the Lukan Pharisees because, in his portrayals of them, the author has applied what ancient Greco-Roman rhetoricians call “figured speech.” The fact that the Lukan Pharisees appear ambiguous to some readers does not necessarily mean that Luke was also undecided about or ambivalent toward them, for the use of figured speech can presuppose a firm and critical stance on the characters in view.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Luke, Acts, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism

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Review by David B. Gowler
Published 5/23/2019
Citation: David B. Gowler, review of Justin R. Howell, The Pharisees and Figured Speech in Luke-Acts, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2019).

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