Some of you might right away think that I must have something wrong here. “Lightfoot doesn’t have a commentary on Acts and he’s been dead for sometime now. So, unless someone found something . . .” Yep, you nailed it. Someone found something. “In 2013 Ben Witherington III discovered hundreds of pages of biblical commentary by Lightfoot in the cathedral library of Durham University. While incomplete, these commentaries represent a goldmine for historians and biblical scholars, as well as for many people who have found Lightfoot’s work both informative and edifying, deeply learned and pastorally sensitive. Among those pages were two sets of lecture notes amounting to a richly detailed, albeit unfinished, commentary on Acts 1-21. Well over a century later, these commentary notes remain a relevant and significant resource for the church today and reveal a scholar well ahead of his time, one of the great minds of his or any generation.” (From the catalog description)
N.T. Wright says, “The discovery of hitherto unknown exegetical works by J. B. Lightfoot is a rare gift, full of potential for fresh insight both about the man himself (acknowledged worldwide as the leading scholar of his day) and, as he would have wished, about texts which he knew so well and which themselves express the heart of the gospel. Hearty congratulations to finder, editor and publisher on an unexpected and exciting addition to the core library of seminal biblical studies.”
Craig Keener writes, “J. B. Lightfoot was perhaps the greatest New Testament exegete in the nineteenth-century English-speaking world, and his works remain useful today. The discovery of his previously unpublished research, which addresses in a balanced and informed way many issues still debated today, is an epochal event in New Testament studies.”
James Dunn adds, “Joseph Barber Lightfoot has been, for me, in many ways the epitome of what the commentator on New Testament and early church texts can and should aspire to. His detailed knowledge of the literature of the time was unsurpassed, and his ability to shed the light of that knowledge on the New Testament writings was without peer. His commentaries on New Testament texts and the early Fathers retain a relevance and a value to this day almost unique for nineteenth-century scholarship. That a fuller publication of his writings is now available in these volumes is a wonderful bonus for those who want to hear these New Testament and early church texts as they were first heard.”
Watch for this in November. The Acts of the Apostles edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still will be a hardcover with 400 pages and sell for $40.00.