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New Jerome Biblical Commentary, The (paperback reprint) (3rd Edition) 3rd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
It is encyclopedic in its examination of the prevailing theories of 'higher biblical criticism.' If you want to know what scholars think about the development of a particular book of the Bible, this is a superb source to consult.
It is not a 'preaching commentary,' however. And though it will tell you a lot about theological ideas associated with particular texts, it is the text, not the theology, which is of principal interest to the authors. This commentary reads more like a technical manual than like Shakespeare -- but this is not a fault. Rather, this commentary fills a much-needed niche among commentaries.
The would-be reader and purchaser of this book should also know that it is born out of a Roman Catholic perspective and often provides critical insights into how the Roman Catholic Church has interpreted Scripture. Similarly, however, this perspective often leaves the reader without the contrasting Protestant and Orthodox perspectives. Again, this is not a fault -- simply something to keep in mind.
This is a superb work that deserves a place in the library of preachers, biblical scholars, and serious students of the Bible.
If you desire an academic commentary which covers the entire corpus of Scripture in a single volume, this is the book for you. Named after the premier Scripture scholar of the Patristic period, it is an update of the Jerome Biblical Commentary of more than a quarter century ago.
Not only is every book of the Bible discussed in detail, there are numerous scholarly articles dealing with history, critical methods, contemporary issues and the like. It's perspective is honestly centrist; catering to neither the fundamentalist, nor to the deconstructionist. Controversial issues are handled in an appropriate manner, giving numerous bibliographic citations representing a wide range of learned opinions.
Although Catholic in orientation, the book is equally valuable to believers from other faith traditions, and indeed, to non-believers as well. Its editors, especially the late Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmyer represent the very best of Catholic critical scholarship.
This book is probably not the best choice for the average layman; it presupposes a certain familiarity with theological academics. However, it is indispensible for the seminarian, the graduate student, the clergy, and the academic.
(For an "informed layman's" version, please see my review of the excellent "New Jerome Biblical HANDBOOK").
I heartily endorse this book.
First, allow me to address what strengths the commentary has.
1) The finest historical/critical scholarship in the modern Catholic Church is presented.
2) The commentary is well organized and easily used.
3) The commentary is well edited and lean. This commentary covers the entire bible, including the apocrypha, and is available in one volume for a reasonable price.
4) The commentary can be of help when trying to deal with a difficult passage of scripture.
These four strengths however do not, to my mind, make up for the book's myriad weaknesses. A few of the most egregious problems with the commentary follow:
1) The commentary focuses solely on the insights of the historical critical method. The method can and does provide valuable insights. However, it can be problematic in that it takes skepticism as its starting point. Its conclusions therefore can be biased against faith. One example is the dating of texts that include prophesy. The historical critical scholar will postdate the text to after the prophesy had been fulfilled. The assumption is against the idea that a prophet from God could have warned about the future BEFORE the event occurred.
2) Historical critical method, by definition, can only address the literal sense of scripture. (Who wrote the text, when was it written, what is the author's agenda, what does he or she want tell us etc. etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did not have the expected cover but it was in excellent condition.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
True and in depth exposition of the scriptures. Very helpful!Published 3 months ago by Herald Goodnews
JBC notes that many commentators interpret the book as an historical narrative and identify Jonah with the eight century prophet mentioned in II Kings 14:25 and consider him to be... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Israel Drazin