My main hesitation at this point--aside from the fact that Johnson interacts not at all with other scholars and that I disagree with his model of prophecy at some points--is that Johnson tends to set Jesus and the church over against Second Temple Judaism in a way that I find unhelpful. Take the following two quotes, for example:
(1) "Luke's description of Jesus' mission of embrace stands in starkest contrast to what might be considered two alternate prophetic programs within contemporary Judaism, each of which sought to secure a holy people, a restored people, on the basis of a strict observance of Torah and a sharp distinction between insiders and outsiders" (131).Read on and it becomes clear that one of the main problems with the Essenes and Pharisees is their strict "observance of purity regulations." What, I wonder, was the problem with purity regulations, which had their origin in God's law?
I am tempted to use this quote as a negative illustration next time I teach "Jewish Backgrounds to Early Christianity":
(2) "Luke also shows Jesus reversing conventional standards in the way he pays attention to and invites into fellowship those who, in the ancient world, were regarded as little deserving of attention and of little worth on the scale of social prestige....[T]he progressive silencing of women as agents in the Hebrew Bible--see above all 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah--is continued in the earliest protorabbinic writings, in which women appear mainly as distractions from the male work of studying Torah." (137-8)What does Johnson do with early Jewish books like Tobit, Judith, and Susanna?
To be sure, I am happy to assign textbooks with which I disagree. The problem is that I would not ordinarily take time to deal with these issues in a course on Acts, but I would not want to leave comments like these unaddressed.
So my question is this: What else would you recommend?