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The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (The New International Greek Testament Commentary) Hardcover – March 29, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Up-to-date and well-informed expositions. James Dunn has developed into one of the best interpreters of the Pauline epistles. His positions on introductory and exegetical matters are solid and clearly argued, and his coverage of the secondary literature is impressive. One can learn a good deal about exegetical relevance from Dunn's Pauline commentaries."

Andrews University Seminary Studies
"His commentaries reflect his careful attention to detail, his unusual ability to identify ancient parallels, and a keen insights into modern-day applications. It is a commentary characterized by careful exegesis of the Greek text, yet it is presented in language that is not beyond the grasp of the average minister. Even the footnotes are concise and not highly technical. In spirit of the number and variety of NT commentaries now available, this recent series, and this volume in particular, make a valuable contribution."

Bibliotheca Sacra
"The content of the commentary reflects first-rate scholarship."

Church Libraries
"This commentary will take its place among the best on these two New Testament books."

Church Times (U.K.)
"A serious academic commentary on the Greek text. A balanced study, carefully weighing alternatives."

Expository Times
"Retaining his close attention to detail and immense sweep of the literature, Professor Dunn provides a full discussion of critical and historical issues in the introductions to the two letters and his verse by verse comment. Useful for the minister as well as the scholar."

"Any commentary by James Dunn is worth reading, and this one is no exception. Clearly written and widely researched, the comments are well informed with respect both to the ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman thought-worlds and a wide range of early Christian traditions, and to contemporary scholarship. . . There are many useful insights in the volume for preachers and scholars alike, and it will richly repay a careful reading."

Journal of Biblical Literature
"James D. G. Dunn's well-known and formidable exegetical skills are amply displayed in his new commentary on Colossians and Philemon for the New International Greek Testament Commentary Series. On both these texts Dunn offers balanced and reasonable readings that will certainly become essential moments in scholarly discussion of these texts. . . A wonderful exegetical resource for at least two reasons: first, Dunn offers persuasive and plausible readings of these texts, and, second, he provides a wealth of information on scholarly debate on these texts. . . The exegetical balance and conceptual complexity of Dunn's readings will make this commentary an essential part of subsequent discussion of this text. . . Overall this is a stunningly successful commentary. Once again, Dunn shows that he is an instructive and persuasive reader of biblical texts."

Journal of Theological Studies"In a lively and almost conversational way, he marshals the evidence with painstaking care so as to show exactly what his own conclusions are and how he reaches them. It is a mine of information."

Religious Studies Review
"Based on the Greek text and intended mainly for scholars, the commentary on both epistles is reliable, thorough, and fully engaged with the results of contemporary research."

The Bible Today
"Superb commentary. A fine, reliable commentary."

The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
"Bringing his well-known exegetical skills to two closely related NT letters, James D. G. Dunn offers a volume of interest to biblical scholars and theologians alike. Overall, this is an excellent, carefully crafted commentary eminently worth a place in the scholar's study."

"The maturity and depth of Dunn's scholarship result in a commentary that is balanced and rich but not overwhelming in detail. The reader would have to look hard to identify someone better suited to comment on Colossians and Philemon and to find scholarship that is so consistently good. What in particular makes this volume worthwhile is the balance it strikes between depth and approachability: the commentary has the weightiness of a reference volume but its writing has a clarity and economy that engages the reader. It is one of the most readable commentaries around."

About the Author

Widely regarded as one of the foremost scholars in the world today on the thought and writings of St. Paul, James D. G. Dunn is Lightfoot Professor Emeritus of Divinity at the University of Durham in England. His many books include


(volumes 1 and 2 of

) and commentaries on Romans, Galatians, and Colossians and Philemon.

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Product Details

  • Series: The New International Greek Testament Commentary
  • Hardcover: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (March 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802824412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802824417
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard Smith on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I am a great admirer of Professor Dunn. I frequently consult his excellent work "The Theology of Paul the Apostle" which I suppose puts me squarely in the "New Perspective" school. There is enough of the "New Perspective" in this volume to challange serious students of Paul's work, but the work mainly consists of excellent, sound exegesis and application. Professor Dunn has a calm and entertaining writing style that make his books hard to put down.

As regards to the controversial postion of the authorship of Colossians, Dunn believes that Timothy actually wrote the letter, due to textural differences between this letter and the undisputed Paulines. I will leave this debate to the scholars; since Timothy is listed as one of the authors I certainly have no problem with Dunn's postions.

I have a very high regard for this series in general, and for my thoughts I would refer you to my other reviews on volumes in this series. I highly recommend this work to any serious student of Paul. And, by the way, he does a great job with Philemon as well.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very solid commentary on the books of Colossians and Philemon. Though this series is intentionally more technical then most, I found it to be helpful beyond just its language strengths. Dunn writes in a way that gets to the meaning of the text and is specifically helpful in lexical studies. Dunn spends lots of time looking at comparative literature to derive the meanings of the Greek words which the original author used in these letters. (Dunn believes that most likely Colossians was not written by Paul himself, which may concern some readers of this commentary and thus should be known in advance of purchasing.) Yet he also spends a great deal of time looking beyond individual words into an understanding of verses. Yet as a weakness the commentary does not excel at strengthening an understanding of paragraphs or the books as a whole. Therefore, this commentary would not be the best stand alone commentary for studying these books but would rather work well alongside Wright, Pao or O'Brien.

Overall, I would recommend this commentary because of its ability to help someone understand the text but should be supplemented with other aids or commentaries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Usually an unabashed fan of the NIGTC series, I have to take a star off Professor's Dunn's otherwise excellent commentary for what I perceive to be his limited ability to understand the tradition of Christian "mysticism" which leads to him belittling it unnecessarily and without textual support and analysis (the passage I am thinking of specifically is his commentary on Col 3:1-4).

Having said that, from the narrower focus of evangelical scholarship Dunn provides a thorough and engaging volume. I just prefer a broader perspective, and so cannot award the fifth star as I need to purchase another commentary on the Greek text to find the analysis I am seeking.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are a student of Paul's writings, then you know the name James Dunn. He has written the VERY WELL recieved Theology of Paul. Dunn is very qualified and his writing clear and understandable.

No, I don't agree with every point he makes, but Dunn has really opened up Colossians for me in a way that O'Brien (Pride of Place) never did. Very insightful.

DA Carson, in his excellent commentary on commentaries, New Testament Commentary Survey, picks Dunn as second for Colossians and comments that he is more up to date than OBrien on various issues.

This is one that you will enjoy.
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