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SailingActs: Following an Ancient Journey    by Linford Stutzman order for
by Linford Stutzman
Order:  USA  Can
Good Books, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Jessica Weaver

SailingActs refers to two things: the journey Linford Stutzman and his wife, Janet, took, traveling the routes Paul sailed in the biblical Book of Acts; and the name of their vessel. Stutzman details each and every step of their nautical adventure - from the moment the idea entered his head, to the difficult acquisition of a Greek sailing vessel, to the two sailing seasons spent in the Mediterranean.

Stutzman is a religion professor at Eastern Mennonite University, and is incredibly knowledgeable about the topic of Paul's journeys. As he and his wife prepare for their journey, he makes every detail a metaphor for what Paul might have thought or done in the first century. Although the metaphors are interesting and thought provoking, I found them slightly annoying as they continued throughout the text.

SailingActs tends to read more like a textbook as Stutzman describes every single thing that happens throughout the journey. He obviously kept a detailed journal from which this book arose. I grew bored with mundane details such as 'Janet left her sunhat in the taxi' and other unnecessary facts. I also felt Stutzman could have refrained from describing each piece of the sailing equipment in such precise terms. As someone who knows nothing of sailing, my mind would start to swim each time he talked of the pieces of the boat.

I would recommend SailingActs only to those who are quite interested in Paul's journey and also knowledgeable about sailing! The book might be slightly mystifying to other readers, as it was to me. I do think it would be an excellent textbook for a religion course on Paul, which may be what Stutzman intended as its use.

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