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The Gospel according to Mark (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)) Hardcover – November 8, 2001
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"The present volume should have broad appeal to lay persons, ministers, and scholars as it fits within Pillar's purpose of exacting, accurate exegesis without being overly technical. Yet, this commentary is not a lightweight: the text and footnotes reflect both rigorous research and a thorough use of the most recent Markan scholarship."
The Bible Today
"Based on the New International Version of the Bible and often making reference to the nuance of the Greek original, the commentary provides the reader with a clear, well-informed, and thoughtful interpretation of Mark's Gospel."
Ralph P. Martin
"James Edwards's new, careful study of the earliest Gospel brings together his interest in and ongoing research regarding Mark's work. He does so in a way that will have a broad appeal to a wide audience, including both the academic community and the service of pastors and teachers. This is an excellent piece of applied research and rigorous study."
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Edwards writes many excursuses and articles that naturally flow, at least in my mind. When I think, "Man, I ought to explain this term, 'Son of God,' or 'Pharisee,' or whatever..." Edwards is right there with me, and if he doesn't list the excursus right there in that chapter and verse that I'm thinking, he at least alludes to a later excursus, as in, "See Chapter 9:2" (example) for excursus on this term." These are great.
Like a good Pastor, I don't rely solely on Edwards commentary, but it is a great enrichment to the sermon series through the book of Mark. It is also just a great studying tool for College-level classes, I'm sure.
UPDATE: I dropped this review from 5 stars to 3 stars as to what I found to be very problematic. I went on and studied other reviews of this commentary and found similar occurrences throughout this commentary. Edwards seems to obviously skip verses in his commentary due to perhaps personal lacks of trust or faith in the text. To give you my example, in Edward's commentary concerning Mark 5:27-29, Edwards makes NO reference to verse 28 and in fact, in complete ignorance (or opposition) to verse 28, Edwards starts his commentary, "Mark does not explain what was in the woman's mind as she attempted to touch Jesus." This seems to be in direct opposition to what Mark states is in Mark 5:28.
A few more 3-star reviews on this site might give you some other examples to where Edwards makes a few liberal observances that were entirely unnecessary, but apparently personally desired.
While this commentary is very good in certain areas, particularly in fleshing out some of the Greek, Edwards does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and occasionally objects to what the inspired author has written in favor of tradition. Which is strange, because traditionally the church regarded Scripture as inerrant.
Another reviewer has already pointed out Edwards' dismissal of Peter being identified as the ear chopper in the Gospel of John as being "later tradition" simply because Mark doesn't include that detail. I will add yet another comment, also on Mark 14, that is indicative of Edwards' approach to Scripture throughout. He says of Jesus in the Garden at Gethsemane, "Certain early witnesses attempt to mitigate the catastrophe at hand by reporting that an angel comforted him in prayer (Luke 22:43). But Mark -- and the majority tradition -- is silent about angelic aid." I cannot understand how it is Edwards feels comfortable rejecting both John and Luke's accounts on account of the silence of Mark and/or the "majority tradition," but here are two examples of him doing exactly that.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary Series has had a bumpy ride. They've got Edwards here rejecting Scripture as inerrant and had to pull two books that were plagiarized by Peter O'Brien.
As a pastor, I have especially benefited from the conceptual work in this commentary. It is not uncommon for verse by verse works to get lost in the weeds (pastorally speaking), or segmented from itself as it pours over words, their origins, and their possible interpretations. Edwards, however, is consistent in keeping his eyes on the sweeping themes of Mark, especially discipleship. Not only is there rich commentary in the introductory paragraphs of each section, but within the verse by verse work as well.
I highly recommend this book as a well-grounded, evangelical commentary that does a phenomenal job of providing conceptual and pastoral insight along the way. It has been a joy to use.
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