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Judges Through the Centuries Hardcover – January 28, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0631222514 ISBN-10: 0631222510 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631222510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631222514
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,277,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A sometimes sober, sometimes whimsical, sometimes disturbing, sometimes delightful, and always enlightening journey through the centuries alongside all manner of Bible readers... Gunn has attempted a large feat here – to provide readers with a meaningful survey of over 2,000 years' worth of reception of the book of Judges – and has succeeded admirably. Hopefully, other volumes in the Blackwell series will live up to Gunn's example. This is an engaging and enlightening commentary that deserves attention from anyone interested in the history of the interpretation, use, and influence of the book of Judges.” The Bible and Critical Theory


"In this first volume of the new Blackwell Bible Commentaries series to treat a book from the Tanak, David M. Gunn has not only provided a useful tool for students of the book of Judges but also established a new standard for biblical commentaries in general." Review of Biblical Literature

"If you want to know how learned rabbis and church fathers, Puritan divines and rationalist skeptics, musicians, painters and graphic artists, guardians of public morality and improvers of children’s souls all wrested religious and moral significance from an unruly Book of Judges, this is the book for you.
David Gunn selectively assembles some twenty centuries of professional and popular interpreters of the Book of Judges and provides a running commentary on how, in various times and places, these readers found meaning and instruction from the Book of Judges, often treasuring the book and sometimes recoiling from what they found to be its alien ways. Writing with humor and verve, Gunn provides thematic continuity among interpreters separated by centuries and alludes to social and political issues that help explain shifting interpretations. Mostly, however, David Gunn allows his choir to sing and his artists to imagine. The voices and illustrations have sometimes been univocal—as in consistently holding up Delilah as femme fatale. Very often they have been troubled and dissonant, finding conflicting allegories and ambiguous moral instruction in hair, heroic militarism, rapacious slaughter, sex, foxes, and sacrifice. Gunn, or rather the readers he assembles, offer eye-opening testimony that the Bible-as-cultural-force has never been a single thing, but a malleable text which people have received quite variously, depending on the changing circumstances in which they lived and the social issues they sought to address." Burke O. Long, Bowdoin College

"This is an exciting new commentary series, which presents a fresh and stimulating approach to understanding biblical interpretation. Leaving behind the verse by verse analysis typically found in commentaries, this series focuses instead on the broad spectrum of interpretations that have been applied to each story/textual unit by Jews and Christians throughout the ages.

Gunn’s ground-breaking volume on Judges, the first in the series to treat an Old Testament book, is filled with many new insights and stimulating analyses. Gunn demonstrates very effectively that surveying the reception history of a particular passage focuses one’s attention on key issues in an intriguing and often provocative way. Numerous perspectives for understanding each narrative in Judges are compared in a lively manner that highlights the many subtle nuances implicit in the text. Gunn’s volume is thoroughly researched and exceptionally informative, and will provide a stellar model for subsequent volumes to emulate." Alan J. Hauser, Appalachian State University


"Gunn has attempted a large feat here - to provide readers with a meaningful survey of over 2,000 years' worth of reception of the book of Judges - and has succeeded admirably...This is an engaging and enlightening commentary that deserves attention from anyone interested in the history of the interpretation, use, and influence of the book Judges." R.Christopher Heard, Pepperdine University California

Book Description

This bible commentary focuses on The Book of Judges, a fascinating biblical text, full of rich and colorful stories of which the best known is Samson and Delilah. It treats the text story by story, making it accessible to non-specialists. Predominant are women's stories, which have both offended and inspired readers for centuries, including the stories of Deborah; Jael, who slew Sisera; and Jephthah's daughter, sacrificed by her father. The commentary traces the reception of Judges through the ages, not only by scholars and theologians, but also by preachers, teachers, politicians, poets, essayists and artists. It shows how ideology and the social location of readers have shaped the way the book has been read, disclosing a long history of debate over the roles of women and the use of force, as well as Christian prejudice against Jews and "Orientals." In this way, it offers a window onto the wider use of the Bible in the Western world.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on April 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Judges by David Gunn (Blackwell Bible Commentaries: Blackwell Publishers) (Paperback) The commentary is constructed around the biblical book's main constituent stories and characters. The first chapter deals with the entry into the land and includes the cameo stories of Adoni-bezek who lost thumbs and big toes, Achsah who asked for water, and Othniel the first "judge" (Judg 1:1-3:11); the second chapter is on Ehud's assassination of Ehud (Judg 3:12-31); the third chapter covers Deborah and Barak defeating Sisera, and Jael putting a spike through his head (Judges 4-5); the fourth chapter discusses Gideon testing God and defeating the Ammonites (Judges 6-8), and the next its sequel, Abimelech's abortive kingship (Judges 9); the sixth chapter examines Jephthah, his vow, and his daughter's sacrifice (Judges 10-12); the seventh chapter deals

with Samson the Nazirite, from annunciation to self-immolation, and, of course, his Timnite bride, the prostitute of Gaza, and Delilah (Judges 13-16); the eighth chapter treats Micah, his Levite, and the rampaging Danites (Judges 17-18); and the ninth chapter closes with a story of rape writ large, the Levite's woman and the Benjamite war (Judges 19-21).

Each chapter begins with an abstract of the story (the "argument;" as older commentaries called it) and a summary of the discussion. (Names are given as commonly found in English, usually Protestant, sources, with Catholic alternatives where these differ.) A reader desiring a brief overview of responses to Judges over the centuries is invited to read through these summaries. Two main sections follow: "Ancient and Medieval" and "Early Modern and Modern.
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By Eric Owens on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides a very interesting and thorough explication of the way Judges has been viewed and used in debate by various luminaries through the centuries. It's a neat companion to the book itself. You can read each narrative section of Judges, then read the pertaining chapters of Gunn's book, and really come away with an understanding of the text itself and the meaning it has taken on at various times in Western history.
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By StudyLeader on January 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is difficult to find a good commentary on the book of Judges and this one almost lives up to it's promise but falls short. I was expecting a more comprehensive commentary on Judges and the various opinions and uses of the book over the ages, but it would be best to say I am disappointed.

The good part of the commentary is it doesn't go the path of others who turn everything into a metaphor and miss the historicity and critical interpretation of the text. It also doesn't avoid the difficulties of the text nor attempts to defend its place in the canon of scriptures. But again I would have liked to have had a bit more information on the difficulties and historical interpretations than are given.

Overall this commentary won't answer anything more about the book than the reader can find on his or her own through careful reading, cross study and the use of a good Hebrew lexicon. However, the price is less than many scholarly texts so the inclusion of the various references from the ages is worth the price.
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