How do we rate commentaries?

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jul 3 2010 6:37 PM

How do we rate commentaries?

 

Rosie Perera commented that the best one is “the one that you wrote yourself in PBB format after carefully weighing all the evidence from all the [other] commentaries” 

He also said “But you probably need to do some Googling to find out which authors come from which perspectives 

 

Many of the other posts on commentaries rate them by scholarship but I am not sure I want to read an author who puts the Millennium at the wrong end of time J

 

How many ways do we split Christians or how do we rate commentaries so that I know that it agrees with my ‘’one and only correct J ’’ Christian Beliefs?

 

Doctrine Criteria might be: ((perspectives))

A)     Where do they put the Millennium?  [Now, Before Jesus comes back, After He comes back]

B)      Where do they put the 70th week of Daniel? [before 75 AD or far in the future]

C)      What starts the count of the 69 weeks, 70 weeks, and 2300 days?

a.       Cyrus in Ezra 1

b.      Darius in Ezra 6 

c.       Artaxerxes’ seventh year in Ezra 7

d.      Artaxerxes' twentieth year in Neh. 2

e.      Something else?

D)     Dispensational?  Covenant theology?

E)      Conservative?   Liberal? 

F)      Evangelical?  [What is the opposite of an Evangelical?]

G)     Predestination or Free Will

 

PLEASE Join in – How many other Doctrine Criteria do we use to split Christians from Heretics J ?  What other things do we need the author of a Commentary to tell us of their bias so that we can know if we will agree with the author or consider them wild heretics?

 

Also needed is a simple test to check for ourselves?  [That is what do we Google?]

[for example: if I want to know that commentary XXX is Evangelical I search for YYY and find ZZZ]

[We will need a search to test for each Criteria and its opposite]

 

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 7:07 PM

David,

This is certainly a legitimate concern and one you will need to do a lot of research on. However, this is not directly the purpose of the Logos forum which is to assist each other in using Logos. True we use commentaries, but which commentaries is up to us, not Logos or this forum. Once we've made our choice, this forum comes into play. Of course you can seek advice on commentaries and other books here, and recommend books to be published by Logos, but discussing the criteria by which to rate commentaries is outside the reason we help each other here. When you begin to ask people here to help you separate the faithful from heretics you are taking the discussion outside the realm of this forum. For more information be sure to check the Forum Guidelines if you haven't. You can find them here: http://community.logos.com/forums/t/10072.aspx

There are forums and groups better devoted to answering questions such as this. I believe you'll be better served posting this sort of question there.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Ronald Quick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 8:39 PM

Would it be within forum guidelines to ask which commentaries are (for example) liberal or conservative but leave out any judgment about who is right or wrong?  I would like to know what commentary authors fall into which belief system.

By the way, I have no problem reading an author whose beliefs differ from mine.  I actually spend quite a bit of time doing so.

Thanks,

Ron

 

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 8:55 PM

A lot of this information can be gleaned by doing a Google search.  I also find Wikipedia a good source for background material on many authors.  Also, as you get to know members of the forums, you will begin to know whose opinions you trust or admire.  There are some here whose opinions I look forward to hearing.  There are others whose recommendations I tend to avoid.  But it would be non-useful for me give such a list -- your ideas WILL differ from mine.  Just keep reading and you will find who is who over time.  

Yours because His, 

Floyd

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

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Ken Shawver | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 9:02 PM

Ronald, like you I find listening to opposing views is a valuable use of time. It doesn't mean I will change my position, but it can open my eyes to a truth I have missed or did not fully understand. It can also lead to some very in-depth discussions that are very enjoyable, if done from a "love" perspective. 

In Christ,

Ken

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http://wiki.logos.com/

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 9:26 PM

The following link may be of value

http://bestcommentaries.com/

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 9:28 PM

David Ames:
He also said

By the way Rosie is a "she", but I am sure she is still honored to be quoted.

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 3 2010 9:36 PM

RonaldQuick:
Would it be within forum guidelines to ask which commentaries are (for example) liberal or conservative but leave out any judgment about who is right or wrong? 

I don't think the guidelines would hinder one from asking or one from trying to answer. But one person's liberal is another person's conservative and visa versa. I think trying to put all authors into one of two boxes is bound to get some folks upset by the box you assign someone to. That might begin to cross the guidelines.

I research commentaries all the time. The Internet is a good place to do that. Most commentaries have been reviewed by someone and you can find that on the 'Net. I don't always know all the beliefs of the author when I buy a commentary, but that's OK for me. It might not be for others. In my opinion, trying to impose a rating system is bound to end up pleasing the person who assigned the ratings but probably few others. Learn what you can and buy those you believe will profit you is what I recommend and do. You'll make some mistakes. We all do.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 3:40 AM

David Ames:
How do we rate commentaries?

 

While I sometimes like to know if a particular commentary will be Augustinian or Arminian, pre-mill/post-mill/amill, etc., my first instinct is to ask some of the following questions:

  • will it deal in depth with the many issues of a verse or pericope?
  • does it deal with context?
  • Is it focused on exegesis, theology, or giving good illustrations?
  • can I afford to purchase it.  Smile

etc.

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 4:10 AM

In addition to http://bestcommentaries.com which someone else already recommended, there are a few books I know of that rate commentaries, two of which we have available in Logos format:

There's an appendix in the back of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart) which lists the top few commentaries (in the authors' opinions) for each book of the Bible. This book was published in 2003, so any commentaries published after that date would be missing.

And there's D.A. Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey (Baker Academic, 2007). This is an excellent resource, because not only does it list and rank and review commentaries, but it compares them one with the other. Here's an example of the kind of writing (one paragraph out of the chapter on commentaries covering 2 Peter and Jude):

"By far the best work on 2 Peter and Jude is the exhaustive commentary by Richard J. Bauckham (WBC; 1983, £19.99/$39.99). There is no relevant literature up to his time that Bauckham has not considered, and he here puts to good use his knowledge of second temple Judaism and some of the more recent Gnostic finds. Why he concluded that 2 Peter is pseudonymous is still not clear to me: his evidence does not strike me as very convincing (see the brief but penetrating critique in the appendix of Grudem on 1 Peter). But this point should not put anyone off using what will be the standard in the field for decades to come. The contribution by Jerome H. Neyrey (/AB; 1993, $28.00) cannot compare with it. In any case, Neyrey’s reconstruction of the settings of these epistles, though entertaining, is too speculative to be very useful to the serious preacher. Methodologically, he combines historical exegesis with approaches grounded in cultural anthropology, social science, and ancient rhetoric. This sometimes yields thought-provoking insight; more commonly, it builds castles out of thin air. His forays are so un-self-critical and so dogmatic that the commentary becomes an exercise in frustration. The contribution of Steve J. Kraftchick, on 2 Peter and Jude (/ANTC; 2002, $20.00), is far more useful to the preacher. Because he begins with exegesis, the NIVAC volume by Douglas J. Moo (1996, £24.99/$22.99) is worth reading. Don’t overlook the FoB commentary by Paul Gardner (1998, £7.99/$14.99), certainly one of the stronger entries in that rather light series. The contribution by Edland Waltner and J. Daryl Charles, on 1 and 2 Peter and Jude (BCBC; 1999, $24.99), is so much akin to the corresponding updated commentaries by J. Daryl Charles in the new EBC (vol. 13; see above on Hebrews) that it is not worth using both."

Unfortunately, the corresponding Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman III (Baker Academic, 2007) is not available in Logos format. I hope that's just "not yet available" and that this lack will be addressed at some point. I've already suggested it.

Of course any commentary review is only as valuable to you as your trust of the author and his or her alignment with your theological perspective. But it's easier to research these authors and see if you find them to be trustworthy guides than it is to replicate all the commentary research they've done.

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Ted Hans | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 6:06 AM

To add to Rosie's list above, these are also available in Logos,

  1. Commentaries for Bible Expositors http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/COM4EXPROSSCUP
  2. Tools for Preaching and Teaching the Bible http://www.logos.com/products/details/3623

 

Ted


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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 9:37 AM

David Ames ASKED “How do we rate commentaries?”

>>>> David did NOT ask us to RATE them just how to rate them.

 

Two posters suggested books – have both that one listed and ordered one from the other list.

[will start reading – as soon as the download ends]

Some web sites were suggested and have looked at one – will follow up.

Thanks to all – (off line – have three books I need to read that have all the answers)

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J.R. Miller | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 10:31 AM

I will add another to Ted and Rosie's list "The Review of Biblical Literature (9 volumes)" is a worthwhile investment for researching commentaries and other books.

My Books in Logos & FREE Training

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Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 11:31 AM

Ted Hans:

To add to Rosie's list above, these are also available in Logos,

  1. Commentaries for Bible Expositors http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/COM4EXPROSSCUP
  2. Tools for Preaching and Teaching the Bible http://www.logos.com/products/details/3623

 

Ted


I didn't know we have those in Logos, thanks Ted.

Bohuslav

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Fred Chapman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 11:38 AM

Rosie Perera:
There's an appendix in the back of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart)

This is a great book. I refer back to it all the time.Yes

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Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 11:41 AM

Fred Chapman:

Rosie Perera:
There's an appendix in the back of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart)

This is a great book. I refer back to it all the time.Yes

Yes, I agree 100%

Bohuslav

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Ronald Quick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 6:52 PM

Mark A. Smith:

RonaldQuick:
Would it be within forum guidelines to ask which commentaries are (for example) liberal or conservative but leave out any judgment about who is right or wrong? 

I don't think the guidelines would hinder one from asking or one from trying to answer. But one person's liberal is another person's conservative and visa versa. I think trying to put all authors into one of two boxes is bound to get some folks upset by the box you assign someone to. That might begin to cross the guidelines.

I hadn't thought about that.  I can see how this could develop into an area that would cross the forum guidelines.

Thanks

Ron

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 9:11 PM

RonaldQuick:
I can see how this could develop into an area that would cross the forum guidelines.

It can be a problem especially if it sounds like one assumes everyone will agree with their viewpoint. However, who better to ask about a resource than those who have it. It seems to me that the safest approach it to state ones own religious bent and ask others to evaluate a resource with respect to that viewpoint. I'd hope that people sharing the viewpoint would give good advice and the rest of us stay out of the discussion. It may take time for such an approach to work - it depends a bit on the tone of the forums as a whole.

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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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 4 2010 9:58 PM

David Ames:
How do we rate commentaries?

When I first read your post I chuckled at the degree to which I didn't have the slightest idea what you were talking about in many of your distinctions. I've finally decided, however, to give my own criteria for rating commentaries - just because you'll likely find it equally worth a chuckle.

1. Does the commentary show me the underlying structure of the text?

2. Does the commentary indicate the difficulties in translation and offer the alternatives with their pro's and con's?

3. Does the commentary present connotations as well as denotations?

4. Does the commentary offer inter-textual relationships?

5. Does the commentary show the changes in interpretation over time?

6. Does the commentary assist me in questioning the Scripture i.e. lead me into deeper study?

Somehow, this is not conducive to inclusion of questions such as Darius in Ezra 6... although I am going to have to look in some commentaries that came in my Logos package to see why on earth that might come up.Smile Thanks to you, I will learn something even if I not quite sure what.

 

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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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 5 2010 6:52 AM

MJ. Smith wrote

2. Does the commentary indicate the difficulties in translation and offer the alternatives with their pro's and con's?

Try : [or my turn to help to thank all that have helped me]

United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series (20 Vols.) ($400)

 

United Bible Societies' Old Testament Handbook Series (21 Vols.)  ($400)

 

Have found these two very useful over the years.  Target audience is translators into new languages. 

They cover some of the problems we get into when moving from on language to another.

 

 

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