Book Notice: The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles

Brandon D. Crowe. The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020. 256 pages. $ 29.99.

In The Hope of Israel (a sequel to his book The Last Adam), Brandon Crowe, associate professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, argues that a robust appreciation of the resurrection of Christ provides a hermeneutical guide to untangling several difficult passages in Acts. Through this study, Crowe seeks to demonstrate the centrality of the resurrection to the book of Acts and subsequently to the work of the apostles.

Each chapter seeks to unpack the “that, why, and so what” of the resurrection (6). The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 analyzes the resurrection accounts in Acts, while Part 2 explores the theological significance of these accounts. Crowe begins his inquiry into the significance of the resurrection in chapter 1 by surveying the current state of the question in biblical scholarship. He notes the surprising absence of sustained attention among scholars to the resurrection as the centerpiece of Acts. Chapters 2–4 work through the voices in Acts that testify to the resurrection. Crowe focuses particularly on Peter (chap. 2) and Paul (chap. 3) before discussing the shorter accounts of James, Stephen, and Philip (chap. 4). Part 2 attempts to synthesize the exegetical insights of Part 1, beginning with an examination of the relationship between the resurrection and the history of salvation (chap. 5). Crowe argues that the resurrection “marks the denouement of the coming of the kingdom, in anticipation of the kingdom’s ultimate consummation” (105). In chapter 6, Crowe then turns to the resurrection’s implications for the ordo salutis (order of salvation). In chapter 7, he outlines how Luke’s focus on the resurrection serves as a thoroughgoing defense of Scripture. The volume concludes with an examination of the role of Acts in the emergence of the New Testament canon and the role of the resurrection in framing the emergence of orthodox Christian theology (chap. 8).

Crowe makes a strong argument for his thesis and provides an integrated approach to the resurrection, which in turn contributes to both Biblical and Systematic Theology. The argument flows seamlessly and rightly focuses on the testimonies of the apostles. Just as Peter and Paul make the resurrection the centerpiece of their gospel proclamation, so The Hope of Israel seeks to advance the Gospel through a robust appreciation of the resurrection. In so doing, it presents a thoroughly biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical treatment of a vital topic and thus deserves a wide readership.

CBS book notices provide brief descriptive summaries and assessments of new publications in biblical studies and biblical theology. The present book notice was written by Charles Nathan Ridlehoover, Ph.D. (University of Bristol), a secondary teacher at North Raleigh Christian Academy, Raleigh, NC. He also occasionally teaches New Testament courses at Columbia International University.


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