Which commentary for?

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Mar 22 2018 6:01 AM

Hey I'm hoping to get a commentary set during March madness.

Background: 

I'm pretty strong in Biblical Hebrew/Greek.

I'm fairly new to serious commentaries as my focus has been mostly on reading the text and understanding the original languages. I'm really enjoying a commentary I'm reading which empoloys linguistic notes; I own M Dahood's 3 volume commentary on Psalms from the Yale Anchor bible series (hard back) and love it.  He uses cognate languages to justify much of his translation and often quotes from Ugaritic texts.  Sometimes he re-points words from the MT so they make more sense.  I'm not sure how many other books in the Anchor bible series take such a Philological approach to the commentary. I searched through a handful of the samples and it didn't seem many of the other authors in this series do this.  I'm leaning towards getting the Anchor Yale bible commentary but I'm unsure.

I'm wondering can anyone recommend a commentary available in logos which takes an approach similar to M Dahood's i.e. heavy leaning on philology? I glanced at "berit olam" and it seemed very basic.

I'm hoping for a full bible commentary during March madness but even if you just know a great OT or great NT series that's very helpful too. Thanks!

-Jeremiah

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 6:16 AM

Jeremiah:
I'm hoping for a full bible commentary during March madness but even if you just know a great OT or great NT series that's very helpful too.

The discussion at https://community.logos.com/forums/t/163624.aspx could be helpful here - suggesting the WBC set is a good option and NIGTC for the New Testament

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 7:01 AM

Jeremiah:
I'm wondering can anyone recommend a commentary available in logos which takes an approach similar to M Dahood's i.e. heavy leaning on philology?

There are very few, if any, commentaries that have the focus on language as Dahood does. (Some would add 'thankfully!'). Most good technical commentaries obviously use philology to understand the text, but will have that as one tool of many.

If you want to focus almost solely on language/translation, the only sets I can think of that you might find helpful would be the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament and Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible. Other commentary sets, whilst obviously seeing language/translation as important, will also emphasise such things as form, cultural context, theology, etc.

I'm pasting the comments on Jonah 1:1, so you can get a feel for what's on offer:

Narrative discourse—mainline. The presence of the wayyiqtol form indicates that the narrative opens on the mainline. וַיְהִי is best understood as a discourse marker, signaling the beginning of a narrative that presumably follows a preceding event or scene. Or to put it differently, the verb signals that “it is therefore part of the mainstream of a greater narration” (MNK, 331–32). The obvious problem is that it stands at the beginning of the book—with no preceding event clearly in view. Perhaps the narrator’s deviation from normal Hebrew construction and unexpected use of conventional language at the beginning of the book suggests the unconventional nature of the remainder of the book (Trible, 1994, 125).

וַיְהִי. Qal wayyiqtol 3 m s from הָיָה. When וַיְהִי appears elsewhere, an impersonal subject is often understood, rendering the phrase, “and it came to pass,” or “and then it was” (Gen 4:3; Ex 19:16; Esth 1:1), yet in these instances rarely is there a noun provided to serve as subject of the verb. In Jonah 1:1, however, the subsequent noun, דְּבַר־יְהוָה, operates as the subject, thus rendering the phrase, “Now the word of the LORD came.…” Sasson attempts to render the verb temporally, “When the LORD’s command … was” (67), but such a rendering makes the transition to the main clause in the next verse awkward. Kamp suggests that the transition marker וַיְהִי actually serves to divide the text of Jonah into five episodes or narratives (1:1–4a; 1:4b–2:1a; 2:1b–11b; 3:1a–4:7c; 4:8a–11c). See Kamp, 89–91.

דְּבַר־יְהוָה. The construct phrase indicates a relationship of possession (MNK, 198). Other grammars refer to this as a “possessive genitive.” The verb + subject phrase (וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה) + אֶל “is found only when contexts and circumstances regarding the prophet and his mission are already established” (Sasson, 67), as often seen in the Elijah narratives.

אֶל־יוֹנָה. The prepositional phrase serves as a complement to the verb, with the preposition marking the indirect object.

בֶן־אֲמִתַּי. The construct phrase stands in apposition to יוֹנָה. The absolute noun in the construct phrase functions attributively. On the role and frequency of the appositional phrase in Hebrew, see WO 226–34 (see AC, 21–24; JM, 477–81).

לֵאמֹר. Prep + Qal inf constr. The infinitive form of אָמַר is best understood as having “become grammaticalized as a complementizer” (Miller, 206). The absence of typical features associated with an infinitive, particularly the governing of objects, adverbial phrases or prepositional phrases, suggests that it has retained a different function, namely that of a complementizer. Miller explains that “a complementizer precedes its complement without intervening constituents” (207). In the present sentence, לֵאמֹר appears at the end of the quotative frame (initial clause) and introduces the complement, i.e., the quotation of direct speech. In addition to functioning as a complementizer, לֵאמֹר also functions as a discourse switch cue, noting the shift from narrative discourse to hortatory discourse.

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 10:55 AM

Thanks Mark,

Haha your "thankfully" regarding Dahood made me laugh.  For me, he's incredible I'm always complaining to my wife that he was taken too young.  So many psalms which I was certain I understood well he totally changed my way of thinking (er is changing as I'm still working through his 3 volume commentary on Psalms). I may get more out of it as I'm taking a first year Ugaritic course online and his comments add relevancy to that even though they are often a bit imaginative. 

I looked at the Baylor OT series per your suggestion and was disappointed that most of the OT is not included; specifically wisdom literature & Isaiah which is really where I'm looking to get the deeper linguistic commentary as those books are quite a bit more difficult for me to understand than the books included in the Baylor series.

The Greek series also is not complete.  I appreciate the recommendation and I'll remember it when someone asks for something like that. They look quite good for someone trying to make the jump from completion of their language instruction to working through some text.

I'm OK with culture and the such being included in a commentary; I just want them to at least take stabs at the hapax legomena or to include when relevant things like cognate language influence in the grammatical construction...doesn't have to be on the Dahood level.  

I'm still considering going with the Yale anchor series because I've never worked through a commentary for the whole bible; just wondering how many of the books will cover the text like I'm hoping they will and how many are "fillers".  I noticed there is no book of Matthew listed in the Yale Anchor series; is this just a webpage error at Logos you think?

Thanks so much again for your recommendation I truly appreciate it.

-Jeremiah

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 10:57 AM

thanks for the recommendations and link Graham.

I'm looking through some of the samples for WBC.

I appreciate the rec.s

-Jeremiah

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

Posts 360
Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 11:03 AM

I just realized I should add it's OK if the resource is in German language only. I notice from time to time resources here in German though they are usually also in English already (preferred).

I don't know if that will open up any additional suggestions. Thanks guys

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 11:56 AM

I don’t think you’re likely to find a ‘Dahoodian’ commentary. The Dahood talent seems to be author specific.  For example, Anchor’s Nahum looks at logosprosodic analysis, and musicality.  You sort of have to bounce across AYB, Hermeneia (a few), Continental, and ICC (both some early ones, and more recent). Then monographs and journal articles. Messy but invaluable.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 22 2018 1:08 PM

Jeremiah:
Haha your "thankfully" regarding Dahood made me laugh.

Perhaps what Mark is referring to is that most scholars today don't put as much stock into cognate languages and parallels as tools for understanding Hebrew as Dahood and others in his day did. Less is therefore better in this case.

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Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Mar 23 2018 12:50 PM

Jeremiah:
I'm wondering can anyone recommend a commentary available in logos which takes an approach similar to M Dahood's i.e. heavy leaning on philology? I glanced at "berit olam" and it seemed very basic.

I found this list of commentaries to be quite useful, perhaps you may find it useful as well. Berit Olam is not philological in its approach it is literary and for this, it is quite useful. Here's the link https://library.tiu.edu/commentaries 

I hope you find what you are looking for.

--Beloved

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 25 2018 5:33 AM

Thank you Beloved

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 26 2018 1:58 AM

That's kind of what I was starting to fear... it seems as I look across various commentary samples trying to make my mind up for my next payment plan that what I really want is just a few books from each series.

Too bad we can't piece together an entire bible "commentary" from the various ones available and then apply the march madness discounts for each resource. 

Now that, would be madness :)

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 26 2018 11:13 PM

Thank you for that somber analysis Denise

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 2:59 AM

Despite the inequalities within series, there are series that are definitely more scholarly than others. If I could acquire one series out of MM discounted sets, it would be Anchor. Surely you will find plenty of material to work with across the series even if you are disappointed in some volumes or lines of interpretation. Also, many Christians have not caught on the value of the Apocrypha to understand ancient Judaism and as background to the NT. There are few sets that include commentaries on them (Anchor, Hermeneia). These may be the only scholarly commentaries you will find on these books. 

In Anchor, there are some monumental volumes: Milgrom on Leviticus remains the towering work on this biblical book. Fox on Proverbs is also very good, etc. Though personally I am not a fan, Anchor also includes Dahood.

Of course, Anchor does not cater to Evangelicalism and may be found to be "liberal" scholarship. Perhaps it would be better to express this not so much as Evangelical vs not Evangelical but as encouraging vs ignoring or downright undermining faith. If you are able to ignore that noise (if you so desire) and focus on the data, then it is a useful series to own especially at such a discount.

Keep in mind also that it is much cheaper per volume to acquire series than to hand pick volumes from different series. In the long run, you can save more also by getting a greater dynamic pricing discount when you own series than if you own fewer commentaries. 

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 9:24 AM

Francis,

thanks for the input.  Yes, I'm currently leaning towards Anchor. 

A lot of what you wrote resonates with what I've been thinking as I've spent hours combing through logos screen shots from various commentaries. 

-Jeremiah

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 10:59 AM

Francis:
Also, many Christians have not caught on the value of the Apocrypha to understand ancient Judaism and as background to the NT. There are few sets that include commentaries on them (Anchor, Hermeneia). These may be the only scholarly commentaries you will find on these books. 

Amen. That is why I value the New Interpreter's Bible so much. I have anchor and find them good but still get more out of NIB on average. I know there was no NIB in this years MM. But just thought I would interject this minor point.

-dan

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 12:08 PM

Thank you Dan, I will keep my eyes open for it if it goes on sale after I pay off Anchor.

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 12:09 PM

Francis:

Also, many Christians have not caught on the value of the Apocrypha to understand ancient Judaism and as background to the NT. 

...

Of course, Anchor does not cater to Evangelicalism and may be found to be "liberal" scholarship. Perhaps it would be better to express this not so much as Evangelical vs not Evangelical but as encouraging vs ignoring or downright undermining faith. 

Not disagreeing per se, but the more I llook at the apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, Qumran, and later (?) talmud, the more I wonder exactly what an average judean in the 1st century might believe (and therefore what might be valid background).  Even Philo seems odd.

Regarding 'liberal' scholarship, I regard anything after Didache as liberal ... created creeds, demands for sign-up etc,  And at least at our church (super-conservative), that's ok.  And so, the liberal scholars questioning evangelical claims is a conservative behavior.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Nick Steffen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 4:34 PM

Jeremiah, another commentary series you may find helpful is the Eerdmans Critical Commentary Series. I have only had experience with Shalom Paul's commentary on Isaiah 40-66 and enjoyed the pointers to intertextual echoes, but think you would appreciate some of the more detailed linguistic discussions. I have not explored any of the others, but they may meet your interests.

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Jeremiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 9:34 PM

Thank you Nick,

I just looked at the one on Isaiah you mentioned and it is something I will surely benefit from and enjoy. It's too bad this one isn't on sale for MM.  I sure would like a  more complete set too but the one you mentioned on Isaiah  40-66 looks so good that I may bundle it in separately anyway. Wish they had all of Isaiah covered. 

Thanks for the help!

-Jeremiah

Dead languages are my mid-life crisis

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 27 2018 10:51 PM

Mark Smith:

Jeremiah:
Haha your "thankfully" regarding Dahood made me laugh.

Perhaps what Mark is referring to is that most scholars today don't put as much stock into cognate languages and parallels as tools for understanding Hebrew as Dahood and others in his day did. Less is therefore better in this case.

I think this is an example of a scholarly tool, i.e. philology, falling out of style after scholars trying to get tenure/prestige apply it to questions outside of the range of questions it answers. The same has happened with typology, sense of scripture, structuralism. It doesn't mean that cognate languages and parallels are not useful - it means one applies the insights they provide appropriately.

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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