Book Note: S. Matthews, The Acts of the Apostles

I won't say much here about Shelly Matthews' The Acts of the Apostles: Taming the Tongues of Fire because I am slated to review it for RBL, but I would like to highlight it for those who may follow this blog and/or my presence on social media. For those who are overwhelmed by massive commentaries on the Book of Acts this is an antidote. It is short: 91 pp. + Introduction and Indexes. It is straight and to the point covering traditional questions about Acts, providing a narrative overview, bringing readers up-to-date on the subject of Acts and empire and Acts and Jews/Judaism, and it ends with an interpretive case study on Acts 2 (Pentecost). I find that people from a variety of perspectives will find this little book to be quite thought provoking both in addressing Acts from a historical-critical perspective and its reception history (Matthews' explanation of a "rhetorical-ethical" approach to reading was quite enlightening for me). The large commentaries remain an important resource, but for educators wanting to teach students to read Acts this may be an even more important book for helping them engage the text directly.