Commentary but not a Commentary,
This review is from: Ecclesiastes: Life Beneath the Blazing Sun (Paperback)
I am preparing to lead a semester long study on Ecclesiastes so have purchased several commentaries on Ecclesiastes to help me understand the complex work better. Taylor's work on Ecclesiastes stands out distinctly from the others. In some ways the work should not be classified as a commentary at all (and am not sure if Taylor himself suggests it is one). The book is predominantly a collection of very brief (usually a paragraph long) stories illustrating a specific theological point from the book of Ecclesiastes that Taylor has drawn out of the text. The book proceeds through in this manner following Ecclesiastes chapter by chapter. I do not treat this book as a commentary per se because this style of writing does not engage the text beyond a superficial manner. However, Taylor is clearly conversing with the text and offering commentary on it and on how it relates to the reader today and to society as a whole. Taylor comes across as a wise pastor who is sharing his wisdom while reading Ecclesiastes. The book is very engaging, and is an easy read that still offers insight to readers of all types. I would very much like to talk with Taylor or hear him preach, and for this reason reccomend the book as an excellent source of sermon illustrations for the pastor. However, I do not recommend this as a top commentary on Ecclesiastes, though Taylor's main thesis - that we must look above the sun for purpose - is one that does help in interpreting the text.
On a side note, Preston clearly writes with a specific audience in mind - southern conservative (republican?) evangelicals. There are several references to Sadaam Hussein as a standard villain, countless (helpful) references to professors as Southwestern Baptist Seminary, suggestions that unemployment might be resolved if people were less lazy, and random jabs at neo-orthodox, liberal, and existential Christians. All this to say that if you do not fall within Preston's audience you might not appreciate the work as much, or that if you are in his audience you might enjoy it more than I did. Overall, his comments do not significantly detract from the text, but still were conspicuous to one who might not agree in all respects.