Convince me: Hermeneia/Continental Commentaries

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jul 7 2012 11:58 AM

Ok, so 50% off on this set is a great deal.  What I want to know is, do I really need it?  How good do you feel it is?  I currently own WBC, PNTC, BEC, NIGTC, NAC, Socio-rhetorical, NIVAC NT, and some other odds and ends, and I have the Hermeneia Enoch vol 1 in hard copy which I like because I like to study extra-canonical literature (which is part of the draw of the set for me).  I WANT this set, but do I NEED it?

Discuss...

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 12:11 PM

I'd suspect this package (both Hermeneia and Continental) would 'fill in the blanks' for you. Although it tends toward the more liberal side of the house, if you want a commentary on Shepherd of Hermas, Didache, detailed discussion of 'Q', Apostolic Traditions, Ignatius, 4 Ezra and on and on, 'Herm' is pretty unique. Plus Genesis from Continental is good.

When I'm using WBC and want to see what is 'left' of center I used Herm until I got AYB. Now Herm, as above, fills in the blanks on other commentaries.

I can't imagine doing post-NT early church study without some type of commentaries on the apostolic father period. And their quite 'even'.

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

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 6:39 PM

Awesome, thanks!

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 10:05 PM

I think you'll get a lot more input after services tomorrow from the other pastors; you might want to 'bump' it back up?

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

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 10:16 PM

Joseph Turner:

Ok, so 50% off on this set is a great deal.  What I want to know is, do I really need it?  How good do you feel it is?  I currently own WBC, PNTC, BEC, NIGTC, NAC, Socio-rhetorical, NIVAC NT, and some other odds and ends, and I have the Hermeneia Enoch vol 1 in hard copy which I like because I like to study extra-canonical literature (which is part of the draw of the set for me).  I WANT this set, but do I NEED it?

Discuss...

I read in another thread (didn't take the time to look it up but I remember what it was said) and Mark Barnes wrote something along this line: "If you're going to use it to do a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation." In other words, for a research paper yes use it, but how many research papers will you be writing; then again, if it's just for sermon preparation, then they're not that useful due to them being to "technical."

DAL

PS. you WBC NIGTC and NIVAC along with BEC should do.  If you have NICOT/NICNT even better - those will serve you more when it comes to sermon prep.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 11:28 PM

DAL:
a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation

Some of us are lucky enough to have homilists who don't distinguish between scholarly and pastoral in researching their homilies. I haven't found the money for ICC yet but Hermeneia was an early absoluter requirement - one I'd been introduced to in parish adult ed.

 

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 Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 2:06 AM

MJ. Smith:

DAL:
a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation

Some of us are lucky enough to have homilists who don't distinguish between scholarly and pastoral in researching their homilies. I haven't found the money for ICC yet but Hermeneia was an early absoluter requirement - one I'd been introduced to in parish adult ed.

Due to our different "traditions", I don't use the same terminology, such as "homilies"...but I certainly agree that not drawing a distinction between scholarly and pastoral is a positive. If it matters at all--I mean REALLY matters--then it matters for all. Ignorance of the issues at hand leads to ignorant misunderstandings. I can't think of anything that I know about God that I would ever feel comfortable saying others "don't need to know". Granted, I spend more time in study than anyone I know personally, and most of the people I know "have lives" and thus limited time to devote to scriptural matters. But nevertheless, I still feel they need to be up to speed on the stuff that we "hardcore" Logos users encounter in our scripture-mining and textual wrestling.

In my weekly Bible study sessions, we grapple with the Hebrew and Greek constantly. In studies I lead, I bring up whatever issues I think are germane, which usually means everything I can think of that touches on the issue at hand. I don't ever hold back because I worry I might "be over someone's head" or "might bore someone with too much detail". I feel that it would be both arrogant and a dereliction of duty to not share the relevant material I have encountered and uncovered, regardless of how "challenging" or "difficult" it might be.

As a special ed teacher, I had classroom observers over the years tell me on more than one occasion that I was guilty of talking over my students' heads and using vocabulary they wouldn't understand (even though I always rephrased such statements in simpler terms). I had one young man tell me that mine was the class he had to work the hardest in (in truth, it was probably the only one where he had to do any work at all). He also said my class was the only class in which he had an A. The observers, all of them, were wrong.

I also had a boy promise me that he was going to drop out when he turned 16. On his sixteenth birthday, he did just that. When I was filling out his final report card, I saw all of his grades. He had 4 classes: his grades were 23, 7, and 0...and in my class he had a 100. To get that grade, he had to correctly orally identify on blank maps the correct names of every state, province, and country in the western hemisphere (excepting the smaller Caribbean islands). I never once graded on a curve.

Dumbing down the curriculum, whether it is public school, Sunday school, Sabbath school, or what have you, is a disservice to all, whether they appreciate that or not.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 5:45 AM

I guess it would be useful to know what I use Logos for.  I would consider myself firmly on the conservative side of the fence, even though I may get strange looks from time to time from some of my Southern Baptist friends for not towing the line in some areas.  I enjoy studying critical scholarship because I like to know all of the information so that I can make an informed decision about issues.  I also teach a high school course on biblical and extra-biblical literature, and critical scholarship usually soars when it comes to literary construction and the like.  Lastly, I teach Sunday School, but I don't see Hermeneia being one of my go-to commentaries for that.  I have an MA in biblical studies so I am ok with the technical aspects of the series.

Thanks for all of the input so far.  I will see what others say after church.  My Logos dealer....I mean my rep is going to like hearing from me!  I already have a payment plan going.  If I can add it together and get the monthly payments to where I want them then I will probably go for it.  I just don't think I can pass it up.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 10:09 AM

It might boil down to a question on whether:

  1. You have time? Most of the volumes are quite elaborative. Despite the search functionality You need to read through a lot to come to the valuable conclusion and the points that make difference (regarding for example the critical ones, You know every critical remark doesn't actually make a difference.) This is so because You want to know which commentary is the best and You don't seem to have one preference which commentary set to use. The recommendation says to read through a commentary once (or twice?) from cover to cover before doing a study. That'll also help You understand how the author is thinking, otherwise You might have presumptions of that.
  2. You need this as an electronic version? Considering You focus on for example extra-Biblical books the option is to buy only the volumes You want and actually need, as printed matter + the Hermeneia Upgrade (3 vols.). These commentaries (from what I've seen so far) are organized from first chapter to last chapter, from the first verse to the last verse. If You focus on just one or a few verses at a time instead of doing a search throughout, a print copy serves well.

To have a critical commentary there is not much of an option for many of the books. However, these commentaries delve into more than that. As an example I'll mention that the Mt volumes give You the history of interpretation throughout different Churches both protestant and Catholic. The Gn commentary gives You a full investigation in the Documentary Hypothesis. The Documentary Hypothesis in the form it exists has started to be discarded, but these commentaries still hold to it.

Consider also that some important passages in the Bible are not currently included in these sets and that You are probably going to be tempted years from now when upgrades comes - so in due time You'll end up spending more than the (almost) initial $600.

I would recommend You 2 printed books:

  • James by Richard Bauckham, in the New Testament Readings -series, 1999. Originally fgh here on Logos User Forums has suggested that Logos digitalizes it. I have this book since a year as an original book; I got it cheap but would have paid more (the price has gone up). It has a lot of references to extra-Biblical litterature and Sirach, not just brief mentionings but actual comparison. However that includes references to the Targums and Rabbinic Literature. There are 12 references to 1 Enoch, and one reference to 4 Esdras that the author forgot to put in the index. It also discusses the views of some 20th century theologians and quite elaborately a Danish Christian philosopher.
  • If You haven't read it allready: The Language and Imagery of the Bible, ©G. B. Caird, 1980. If You didn't know, Caird was a specialist in languages, knew all of the GNT by heart, a reformed, participated in the translation team of the 1989 Revised English Bible (his wife did as well), and finally died of a heart-attack in 1984 (if I remember the year correctly) not that old, 60+. I have this book as hard-cover and am reading it through for the second time, and going to read it thrice to mark up corrections and explanations in the Bibles.

I'm looking for an even better commentary of Ignatius of Antioch.

It has been said that the Hermeneia -set has a more even quality than Anchor (or was it AYB, I keep confusing the two). But the same person wished that there would be a contract for new Jn -volumes in Hermeneia by someone else.

For a commentary on 1 Clem, I have a volume from 1937 by W. K. Lowther Clarke. It's good if You can stand that it's written by a Catholic. It includes a full translation.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 10:16 AM

Now, now, UNIX ... let's remember the subject of our discussion (apostolic fathers) were catholics (lower-case). And even though I'm pretty much in the evangelical 'camp', all my favorite authors are Catholic (upper-case).

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

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 11:08 AM

DAL:
I read in another thread (didn't take the time to look it up but I remember what it was said) and Mark Barnes wrote something along this line: "If you're going to use it to do a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation." In other words, for a research paper yes use it, but how many research papers will you be writing; then again, if it's just for sermon preparation, then they're not that useful due to them being to "technical."

I really don't buy that argument.  You need to have a solid foundation in the study of the text in order to provide any true "meat" in a homily.  The fact that so many sermons are milktoast is most probably attributable to the fact that the sermonizers aren't digging deeply enough into the text to actually get to the kernel of the passage.  Relying on "homiletical" commentaries make for poor teaching.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 11:26 AM

Well do You think the authors of homiletical commentaries in their turn relied on homiletical commentaries or technical critical ones? And what should Turner rely on when it comes to Qôheleth? Personally, I use Believer's Church Bible Commentary for it, and considering purchasing the Ep volume also.

George Somsel:
I really don't buy that argument.  You need to have a solid foundation in the study of the text in order to provide any true "meat" in a homily. [...] Relying on "homiletical" commentaries make for poor teaching.

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George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 11:39 AM

Unix:

Well do You think the authors of homiletical commentaries in their turn relied on homiletical commentaries or technical critical ones? And what should Turner rely on when it comes to Qôheleth? Personally, I use Believer's Church Bible Commentary for it, and considering purchasing the Ep volume also.

George Somsel:
I really don't buy that argument.  You need to have a solid foundation in the study of the text in order to provide any true "meat" in a homily. [...] Relying on "homiletical" commentaries make for poor teaching.

No comment since I'm not familiar with that set.  I think a good many of those who write homiletical commentaries either rely on other homiletical commentaries or simply don't dig into the text sufficiently.  For them it is enough to state something which sounds pious.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 12:06 PM

I attended the Cathedral at 5 pm local time yesterday, a line from the sermon:
When we contemplate this scripture, we definitely see the danger of modern piety:
Mark 6:1–7 (he preaches from 1986 RNAB): 1 aHe departed from there and came to his native place,* accompanied by his disciples. 2 *When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, "Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! 3 bIs he not the carpenter,* the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. 4 *c Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house." 5 So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,* apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

He went around to the villages in the vicinity teaching. 7 dHe summoned the Twelve* and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 1:14 PM

Unix:

Well do You think the authors of homiletical commentaries in their turn relied on homiletical commentaries or technical critical ones? And what should Turner rely on when it comes to Qôheleth? Personally, I use Believer's Church Bible Commentary for it, and considering purchasing the Ep volume also.

George Somsel:
I really don't buy that argument.  You need to have a solid foundation in the study of the text in order to provide any true "meat" in a homily. [...] Relying on "homiletical" commentaries make for poor teaching.

Well, currently I use WBC or NAC for Ecclesiastes (Qôheleth), so I don't know that this would be a determining factor.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 1:22 PM

Unix:

It might boil down to a question on whether:

  1. You have time? Most of the volumes are quite elaborative. Despite the search functionality You need to read through a lot to come to the valuable conclusion and the points that make difference (regarding for example the critical ones, You know every critical remark doesn't actually make a difference.) This is so because You want to know which commentary is the best and You don't seem to have one preference which commentary set to use. The recommendation says to read through a commentary once (or twice?) from cover to cover before doing a study. That'll also help You understand how the author is thinking, otherwise You might have presumptions of that.
  2. You need this as an electronic version? Considering You focus on for example extra-Biblical books the option is to buy only the volumes You want and actually need, as printed matter + the Hermeneia Upgrade (3 vols.). These commentaries (from what I've seen so far) are organized from first chapter to last chapter, from the first verse to the last verse. If You focus on just one or a few verses at a time instead of doing a search throughout, a print copy serves well.

To have a critical commentary there is not much of an option for many of the books. However, these commentaries delve into more than that. As an example I'll mention that the Mt volumes give You the history of interpretation throughout different Churches both protestant and Catholic. The Gn commentary gives You a full investigation in the Documentary Hypothesis. The Documentary Hypothesis in the form it exists has started to be discarded, but these commentaries still hold to it.

Consider also that some important passages in the Bible are not currently included in these sets and that You are probably going to be tempted years from now when upgrades comes - so in due time You'll end up spending more than the (almost) initial $600.

1.  I pretty much do research all the time, so that is not a problem.  I see the point about getting individual books and only what I NEED, but let's be honest, I don't really NEED any of them, but there are so many good volumes, that it is hard to pass up the deal. 

2.  I do prefer to get the Logos versions, as I like everything to be linked together.  Not to mention the fact that just buying a handful of the print versions would actually end up getting to around the $600 that I would spend on the set.

Great point about the future upgrade expense; I am already looking at the two volume upgrade with 1 Enoch volume 2 which is another $100.00, but it still equals out to $700 now vs. possibly $1300 later.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 1:35 PM

DAL:

I read in another thread (didn't take the time to look it up but I remember what it was said) and Mark Barnes wrote something along this line: "If you're going to use it to do a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation." In other words, for a research paper yes use it, but how many research papers will you be writing; then again, if it's just for sermon preparation, then they're not that useful due to them being to "technical."

DAL

PS. you WBC NIGTC and NIVAC along with BEC should do.  If you have NICOT/NICNT even better - those will serve you more when it comes to sermon prep.

Yeah, but it IS actually more for research, since it is more for teaching academically, as well as the added "benefit" to my poor SS class.Indifferent  I am not a preacher, but I agree that it would not be best suited for sermon building, as there are other scholarly, yet accessible commentaries to choose from.  NICOT/NICNT are too rich for my blood as a set, as has Hermeneia been historically, but this sell is tempting me something fierce!

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 1:53 PM

The Mt 8-20 -commentary which I bought as printed matter (not that expensive, and You would profit from lower postage than I did if You live in the US) has been a relief, look at this:
http://www.christianforums.com/t7644799-4/#post60163469
... note that the heretics specifically use the Mt passage.
Do You want to see more pages from the Mt commentary on that Scripture passage?

Are You ready to omit verses and/or refer to Hermeneia when You teach why a specific passage that is not omitted in any Bibles, should be omitted? Do You expect the high-school students (who don't have and won't afford to for many years to have the Hermeneia set) to easily agree on the statements. Well on second thought probably the will, they probably see You as an authority, I think that if they are listening to such a class they must be serious for their age.

But I talked to a 20-year old girl in a small Pentecostal Church today at 3 pm local time, over here in Sweden. She is in Sweden this summer (and I guess all summers) to take a driving license. She is studying in the US in a 4-year Bible College that leads to a degree. The Bible College uses the KJV and says that not too many commentaries should be used as they are only opinions and the whole focus of the Bible College is on what the Bible itself says. + they recommend, if necessary, only some specific commentary -series. This girl hasn't bought any commentaries or any Bible study software yet, but is a bit interested in Bible study software but is discouraged because she's heard that Bible study software tends to be expensive.

You mentioned an additional cost of $100. The future upgrades will cost many times more but it can take a while, these commentaries are published a slow pace instead of being rushed. Good authors to be contracted are not necessarily found/working at a given moment.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 2:14 PM

George Somsel:

DAL:
I read in another thread (didn't take the time to look it up but I remember what it was said) and Mark Barnes wrote something along this line: "If you're going to use it to do a scholarly paper, yes, they are good; but not very useful for sermon preparation." In other words, for a research paper yes use it, but how many research papers will you be writing; then again, if it's just for sermon preparation, then they're not that useful due to them being to "technical."

I really don't buy that argument.  You need to have a solid foundation in the study of the text in order to provide any true "meat" in a homily.  The fact that so many sermons are milktoast is most probably attributable to the fact that the sermonizers aren't digging deeply enough into the text to actually get to the kernel of the passage.  Relying on "homiletical" commentaries make for poor teaching.

I do agree with this.  We have so many preachers that get their theological positions from popular media and who don't really understand the Bible deeply, who are just creating congregations of ignorant Christians.  The funny thing is that it is these types of pastors that I find will be the first to talk negatively about THOSE SCHOLARS.  I got into a debate with a dear friend of mine the other day concerning a popular Southern Baptist theological position with which I disagree, and so he gave me a book to read by C. R. Stam (Things That Differ).  When I argued that I felt Stam had misrepresented a Greek translation to make his point, he said, "I'm not a KJV only guy, but the idea that we need a Strong's concordance and a phd in Hebrew and Greek to glean the meaning of scripture concerns me."  Now I am not fluent in Greek or Hebrew either, but the thought that there would need to be any deep digging to understand, or argue a point about the Bible was disconcerting to him.  My friend is very intelligent, but the attitude in many churches in the South is that your salvation is not just tied to your faith in Christ, but also your like mindedness concerning creation, end times, etc...  It is as though if you start thinking on your own or digging deeply into the context of scripture then you are opening yourself up to all kinds of satanic influences!  Once you question the Word of God (some pastors' interpretations), then you are questioning Christ himself, and that is not Christian.  That was the message of the good people from Answers in Genesis, who my church invited to speak to our congregation.Embarrassed

By the way, I do attend a Southern Baptist Church, so I am not talking negatively about Southern Baptists in general.  I don't have to agree with every position to enjoy being there!  My pastor is also usually not anti-intellectual, and I love his preaching style.  I did not like the AIG people being invited to my church, as they did not act in Christian manner.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 8 2012 2:26 PM

Unix:

But I talked to a 20-year old girl in a small Pentecostal Church today at 3 pm local time, over here in Sweden. She is in Sweden this summer (and I guess all summers) to take a driving license. She is studying in the US in a 4-year Bible College that leads to a degree. The Bible College uses the KJV and says that not too many commentaries should be used as they are only opinions and the whole focus of the Bible College is on what the Bible itself says. + they recommend, if necessary, only some specific commentary -series. This girl hasn't bought any commentaries or any Bible study software yet, but is a bit interested in Bible study software but is discouraged because she's heard that Bible study software tends to be expensive.

That is funny.  I thought you were saying that she was in school in Sweden and was told that.  I was going to say, "Ah, then it is not just in the Southern United States."  Then I re-read your post and realized that it is in the US, and probably the Southern US.Angry   We do have some great Christian schools in the South though!

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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