K:JNWTS 29/1 (May 2014): 14
R. T. France, Luke. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013. 404pp. Cloth. ISBN: 978-0-8010-9235-0. $39.99.
This is the last work to flow from the pen of R(ichard) T(homas) France. It is the posthumous testament to his career which ended in the year of our Lord’s grace 2012. The commentary is clearly written, contains brief albeit suggestive insights and is beautifully illustrated. However, it should not be equated with the penetrating and detailed work which is found in France’s other two commentaries on the synoptic gospels: Matthew (2007; 1233pp.) and Mark (2002; 757pp.). What we were spoiled in receiving with an embarrassment of riches in the previous synoptic commentaries is absent in the present volume. We will not speculate on the factors which have produced the difference; we can only lament the difference in question.
This is not a volume to compete with Fitzmyer (1982-1985; 1685pp.), save that it is more evangelical. Nor is it the equal of Nolland (3 volumes, 1989-1993; 1481pp.) or Bock (2 volumes, 1994-1996; 1250pp.), although it could have been more than equal to both given France’s genius with regard to the “finality” of Christ (cf. his superb Jesus and the Old Testament, 1971).
This is an easy read, very ‘user friendly’, but it does not take us deeply and richly into the mind of God as revealed to and in Luke. A narrative biblical-theological approach to this largest of the four gospels remains the order of the day. As for France, we salute his career and the legacy of riches found elsewhere in his oeuvre.
—James T. Dennison, Jr.