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Sacra Pagina: 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter (Volume 15) Hardcover – September 1, 2002
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- Publisher : Michael Glazier (September 1, 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0814658172
- ISBN-13 : 978-0814658178
- Item Weight : 1.56 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,933,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From a structural perspective the text is laid out in the standard format for modern biblical commentaries; an introduction discussing dating, authorship, audience and situating the author's work within the broader body of scholarship followed by a section-by-section analysis of the text. The latter analytical portion is sub-divided into a general commentary discussing the section's main points as well as notes on translation, textual and interpretive issues.
Overall, while this is a solid critical commentary I was struck by a couple of points. First, with regard to perspective, while Sacra Pagina identifies itself as a Catholic commentary, having read several of the texts in the series I have been surprised by the lack of distinctive Catholic language or exegesis (in comparison to the more popular-level Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series). Whether this is good or bad will likely vary by reader. I would say the text is best described it as a modern liberal commentary.
Second, while not a criticism per se, the positions taken with regard epistle authorship and dating struck me as somewhat curious coming from Catholic priests (perhaps it is my expectation of priests that is curious). For instance they follow many contemporary liberal scholars and posit that 1 & 2 Peter and Jude are peeudepigraphical texts. To say that a text is peeudepigraphical is to assert that it is not written by their purported author - a polite academic word for forgery. To mitigate the impact of claiming that there are forgeries in the cannon it has been asserted that pseudepigraphy was an accepted literary form in ancient times, and while this may have been the case to some degree in the wider Greco-roman culture, the available Christian evidence argues against its acceptance within the early church (e.g. rejection of forgeries and criticism of forgers). While I do not consider the internal and external arguments for pseudepigraphy in these cases to be compelling (many contemporary scholars disagree), it is interesting that Senior and Harrington so readily accept their alleged inauthentic nature. Indeed, it seems a difficult position to hold as an orthodox Christian - that the NT contains forgeries?
Overall this is a solid little commentary. That said, I am not sure that it has an audience, better critical commentaries are available (e.g. the Anchor and Hermeneia collections), and the general reader seeking an introduction to 1 & 2 Peter and Jude is likely to be better served by a good NT introduction. Two excellent NT introductions that come to mind are those by Brown (moderate-liberal) and Carson (moderate-conservative).