The Gospel of Luke
in Sacra Pagina
Pages 480 pages
Publisher Liturgical Press
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- D. A. Carson's "Best Buys" by D. A. Carson
- New Testament Commentaries & Monographs by Princeton Theological Seminary
Surprisingly compact. Considering the length of other Luke commentaries, the fact that this is as good as it is with such a small page count is a welcome surprise. Obviously it isn't comprehensive, but what was dropped, compared to other commentaries, is the commentary on commentaries. In other words, Johnson does not get bogged down in responding to every commentary on Luke. The textual details cover the important features and leave aside the speculations. While the interpretation is a bit briefer than I may have wanted, Johnson is still able to provide reliable, useful conclusions. I find the Sacra Pagina series to be a helpful approach, and it's format engaging and accessible. It won't give you what Fitzmyer does, but if you don't want to sift through details, and want to get to the vital stuff, Johnson is the best short commentary I own.
This commentary is best for its literary analysis. In studying Luke I consistently found his detailed notes on the text itself very helpful. That is surprising since often that is the part of commentaries I skip. The author himself wrote in his introduction that this was indeed the void he was primarily trying to fill in writing this commentary. The commentary itself is uneven. For some passages I found very helpful insights and summaries. But there were many where he digressed into Luke's sources and then ended up commenting little on the text itself. I have been disappointed in most commentaries on Luke, this one however serves an important purpose and is recommended.