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Les Actes des deux Apotres. V. Commentaire historique (Act. 9,1-18,22). By JUSTIN TAYLOR, SM, with an excursus by M.-E. BOISMARD. Pp. xxii+397. (Etudes Bibliques, 23.) Paris: Gabalda, 1994. ISBN 2 85021 069 2. Paper 210 F.
This commentary on the middle section of Acts is the fifth part of what is intended to be a six-volume work on the book of Acts. Written in French, the series is produced by a team of scholars from the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique de Jerusalem. Three previous volumes, co-authored by M.-E. Boismard and A. Lamouille, appeared together in 1990 and focus on textual, exegetical, and literary issues in that order. The original intention was that there should follow a final, fourth volume, which would be a historical commentary to be written by Justin Taylor. What has happened, in fact, is that this fourth volume has become large enough to fill three books which will eventually be numbered vols. IV, V, and VI. Because the middle volume, V, is ready first, it has been published before vol. IV.
The overall title of the commentary, Les Actes des deux Apotres, must not be confused with that of an earlier work in French by Edouard Delebecque, Les deux Actes des Apotres (Gabalda, 1986). After a brief introductory mention, the work does not interact with that of Delebecque, whose title refers to the two textual traditions of Acts, commonly known both as the 'Western' and the 'Alexandrian' recensions, and as the longer and the shorter texts. The title of the more recent work, on the other hand, refers to the authors' division of the book of Acts into two distinct accounts--the Acts of Peter and the Acts of Paul. Both commentaries argue strongly the case for favouring the 'Western' text as representing the original text of Acts, but they do so on somewhat different grounds and with a frequently conflicting interpretation not only of what the original text means but, indeed, of what the original text says.
The very publication of two commentaries on Acts which share an interest in the 'Western' text is a testimony to the place which, increasingly over the last ten years, is being accorded to textual questions by French scholarship. An important aim of Boismard-Lamouille's work was to reconstitute the text of Acts as it was originally written. This was the object of a two-part work published prior to the present series (Le texte occidental des Actes des Apotres. Reconstitution et Rehabilitation (Paris, 1984), reviewed in this journal by Professor Neville Birdsall, 1988) in which the variant readings of the text of Acts were analysed verse by verse. The 'reconstituted' text was a thoroughly eclectic one, made up of readings from a very extensive range of witnesses, the majority of …