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The First Epistle to the Corinthians (New International Greek Testament Commentary) Hardcover – November 22, 2000
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"A prodigious commentary on First Corinthians which will be welcomed by students, scholars, and pastors alike. . . A fine scholarly achievement. The substantial bibliographies, the excursuses incorporating ancient as well as the most recent scholarly discussion, and the comprehensive indices at the end make the volume not only a welcome addition to the literature on First Corinthians, but also a useful resource for the study of Pauline theology."
"The volume's comprehensive scope demonstrates Thiselton's command of both this letter and the wider issues of Pauline studies. The exegesis is careful and rigorously represents the various interpretations available for nearly every passage. . . The volume is extremely lucid for such a technical work and will serve the field of New Testament studies for many years to come. . . Highly recommended."
Raymond F. Collins
"I have read Anthony Thiselton's commentary with delight. It is an impressive conversation with the best of contemporary interpretation of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. Its clearly articulated juxtaposition of opposing views makes it a valuable tool for those who want to go further in the study of one of the most important documents of the early church."
Craig L. Blomberg
"Every New Testament book except 1 Corinthians has had at least one major English-language commentary on its Greek text published in recent years. For 1 Corinthians the last such commentary was Robertson and Plummer's revised edition in 1914! Now this gap has been amply filled by one of the most detailed, widely ranging, and exegetically compelling commentaries ever written on any book of the Bible. Scholars, pastors, and students alike are all now massively indebted to Tony Thiselton for this prodigious work."
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This study is not for the casual reader or the easily distracted. If that sounds like you, try his abridged version of this volume. It is very good with a more personal touch. But for those willing to explore the depths of this important letter to a confused congregation, this is as good as it gets.
One thing I like about him, unlike O'Brien in his NIGTC commentary on Philippians, is that if he disagrees with an accepted scholarly consensus about a topic, he does not merely say so. He points out fallacies and weaknesses and thus allows the reader to make his/her own judgements. Another is that while he himself is quite orthodox in his beliefs, his commentary is neither too conservative nor too liberal (I dislike either of those terms anyway) and thus one is assured a good moderate commentary composed by one who is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge--all put in a way that the beginner can grasp the most difficult spots of Paul's Greek.
Thus for really anybody--Greek expert or not--who wants to make up his/her mind about topics in 1 Corinthians with all the major relevant information in one volume, this is one commentary you need. It is a fitting companion to the New Interpreter's Commentary which, for this book, is disappointingly sparse on information.
I have included all of this about Fee, so that the work of Thiselton can be seen for the gem that it is. This volume is massive (almost one-hundred pages devoted to each chapter). For some, this is a problem. However, as one who as actually read the commentary (many reviewers have only read a few pages of the book they review), the bulk is absolutely necessary. In the preface Thiselton says that it was his intention to answer every question a responsible scholar might bring to the text. As he says, "I am keenly aware of the sense of disappointment so often experienced when readers take up a substantial, scholarly commentary only to find that in the end it has failed to address precisely the questions to which they are seeking some kind of answer" (xvi). If you have every experienced this frustration, you won't find it here.
Thiselton is a Greek scholar, an accomplished linguist, philosopher and theologian. This background makes this the most thorough commentaries I have ever read. Having been through the entire commentary, I can say, there is no question that he does not address. This is not to say that I agree with all of his solutions, but at least he attempts an answer. He pays close attention to the Greek text, addressing text critical issues where appropriate as well as syntactical issues.. He gives sociological and rhetorical criticism sufficient weight, without allowing these more subjective disciplines to run away with the clear sense of the text. He carefully traces the flow of argument in the epistle, and like Fee, introduces and summarizes every major section of the letter so as to keep the entire argument in focus as the commentary progresses. He offers many special studies into particular sticking points of the letter--the point of rhetoric in 1:10-4:21, the possible source of the divisions, the meaning of sophhia and teleios, divorce, Paul's use of the OT and MUCH more. As I said, every responsible question is addressed. As a counterpart to Fee's not to present day application, Thiselton includes a substantial section on the history of interpretation and wirkungsgeschichte after each chapter.
So, is this commentary worth the money? First ask, what are your needs? This commentary, despite the claims of the NIGTC editors, is not altogether suited for those just beginning Greek student, and certainly not for those unfamiliar with the language. These two groups could still utilize certain sections, but would miss many of Thiselton's careful points. If, though, you are skilled in Greek and fed up with commentaries that go on and on about simple points and never address the challenges of the text, this is for you.