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The First Epistle to the Corinthians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Hardcover – July 10, 1987
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Prepared by some of the world's leading New Testament scholars the NICNT series provides an exposition of the New Testament books that is thorough and fully abreast of modern scholarship yet faithful to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. While based on a careful study of the Greek text, the commentary introductions and expositions contain a minimum of Greek references. The NICNT authors evaluate significant textual problems and take into account the most important exegetical literature. More technical aspects-such as grammatical, textual, and historical problems-are dealt with in footnotes, special notes, and appendixes.
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- The biggest strength of this commentary by far is Fee's determination to find the unifying problem lying under the issues at Corinth. In this respect, he succeeds remarkably well, and as a result has completely given new light to my understanding of the Corinthian problem.
- In conjunction with that, I was especially interested in the way that Fee highlights the Corinthian's "over-realized eschatology." He successfully demonstrated that this was a major problem at Corinth, and found several applications of it in the text that I had not previously considered.
- The handling of the first four chapters is top-notch, and it should be since these chapters serve as the foundation to Paul's argument. By the time I was done with chapter 4, I felt as if the book had already paid for itself (and there was still more to go!)
- Fee's coverage of chapters 7, 8-10, and 11:17-34 in particular are excellent. He takes a fresh approach to each of these passages and helps resolve some of the numerous problems with their traditional understandings.
- As already stated in another review, Fee's coverage of the resurrection materials in chapter 15 was extremely mature, and gave good food for thought.
- Finally, I was deeply appreciative not only of Fee's scholarship, but also of his commitment to viewing the word of God as something relevant, a fact that is too often lost in most scholarly treatises. The end of each section is given a short editorial comment that raises some practical / hermeneutical observations about how we in the church today should view these passages. In a commentary this thick and this rich in academic insights, this made the writer seem more personable than your stereotypical "ivory-tower" professor.
- Although Fee's logic is extremely compelling throughout the bulk of the material, there were a few of places where I felt he was ignoring key evidence to grind an axe. The most obvious example is his coverage of 14:34-35, where he adopts a reading that appears in no extant witnesses at all, insisting that the Western Text must be accounted for. I cannot help but think that if the passage in question dealt with anything other than the roles of women, he would have been less quick to see the Western reading as needy of explanation. While I do not dismiss Fee's conclusion outright, I felt that the case against these verses was heavily overstated in the commentary.
- Also, Fee dismisses outright (in the footnotes, no less!) the idea that 11:2-16 could be talking about anything other than an assembly setting. The fact is that the structure of 1 Corinthians seems to lend more to including that section with the chapters on temple meals (8-10), rather than artificially grouping it with 12-14 as a section on worship and the assembly. While I realize this is a minority viewpoint, it is a viewpoint that I subscribe to, and I was disappointed that it was not at least addressed. This dismissal ironically contributes to his reason for rejecting 14:34-35.
In spite of my criticisms, I would still give this commentary 5 stars. In a book this thick, one is unlikely to agree with everything (I also find his charismatic ideas questionable!), but that does not take away from the thoughtfulness and insight that the author offers on this especially challenging book of the bible. I definitely recommend using this book, but using it intelligently (as with any book).