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Old Testament Commentary Survey Paperback – January 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Tremper Longman III (Ph.D., Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He has authored more than a dozen books, including Introduction to the Old Testament, Literary Approaches to Biblical Interpretation, and several commentaries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Tremper Longman III (Ph.D., Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and chair of the department of religious studies at Westmont College. He has authored or co-authored numerous books, including commentaries on Daniel, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and the Song of Songs.
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Top Customer Reviews
The negatives -- this third edition is not what it could be.
Omissions are plentiful. How could he possibly exclude reviews of Dale Ralph Davis' commnetaries on Joshua, Judges, I and 2 Samuel and I Kings? These are some of the best commentaries I've ever used. Another example, how could he leave out O. Palmer Robertson on Jonah?
Also, he often does not clue the reader in on the ideological biases of some works. P. 23 doesn't mention that the Daily Study Bible series is highly critical. Same for p. 58 and Kath. Sakenfeld (far left).
Other puzzles -- how can a book on p. 20 be a "fine" commentary when he gives it just 2 stars (overall he is a very generous grader!).
Some are P&R publishers' editing flaws. How can Longman mention in vol. 1 of a set that the author for vol. 2 is "announced" for the future to be.... when vol. 2 is already out and reviewed by Longman? (see p. 100). Also, some abbreviations used don't appear in the Abbreviation Key ("MT" on p. 107). In three places Longman reviews his own books in the first person ("I was trying to do this..."), whereas for another of his books he refers to himself in the third person as "Longman" (see p. 89). On p. 128 he says it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on his own book (no way!), but he does this anyway in four other cases.
Overall, excellent book. But it needs better editing, and the addition of some outstanding works that are ignored. (He could easilly cut some things, if need be, that are highly dated, and irrelevant.)
Again Longman offers judicious and careful advice on the merits and demerits of a large number of OT commentaries. As with all such comments on the commentaries, there is subjectivism at work, and not all will agree with all of Longman's assessments. After all, how can one say what is the best commentary on, say, Deuteronomy? It really depends on the needs of the reader. A busy pastor may want something more expository and devotional, while the academic may prefer the more technical and scholarly.
Thus Longman tries to rate the commentaries by what they set out to do, or what the series they are contained in set out to do. Thus he comes up with recommendations that may differ from others. For example, of the 19 commentaries on 1 and 2 Kings, he gives the highest rating (5 stars) to Iain Provan's volume in the NIBC series. While acknowledging that it is a bit too brief (in keeping with the series), he believes that in terms of accessibility and readability, along with a good balance of literary and theological emphases, this is the best thing going on Kings.
Interestingly, David Bauer, in his An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry (Hendrickson, 2003), does not even give Provan's volume a mention, in the 21 books he lists. However, John Glynn in his Commentary and Reference Survey, 9th ed. (Kregel, 2003), does mention it, along with 16 other commentaries.
Thus there will always be disagreements in this area, as a lot of differing criteria and measuring sticks are used to make assessments.
One omission from this volume is the section on OT reference works and Hebrew helps. They too, like the commentaries, continue to pour forth at an alarming rate. Thus cuts need to be made somewhere.
But of the three reference works cited here (the other two cover the NT as well), Longman is my first port of call. Unlike the other two authors, Longman is an OT specialist, with several fine commentaries of his own.
Longman mentions in his intro that many people emailed him, urging him to get a revised edition of this work out. I was one of them, and such lobbying has paid off. One hopes to see a 4th edition before another 8 years lapse however!
Longman is himself a fine and knowledgeable commentator. He reviews his own commentaries in this book, but modestly does not rate them, so I'll rate one for him. His commentary on Proverbs in the series by Baker Proverbs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms) is the best commentary on Proverbs I've seen, and I'll give it 5 stars.