Heremeneia vs. Anchor Yale Bible Commentary

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Posts 115
Joel J. | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 11 2014 12:00 PM

How would you compare and contrast the Hermeneia and Anchor Yale Bible commentary sets?

I have read a sentence or two, here and there in various posts, but I would absolutely love a thorough comparison.  I haven't been able find one anywhere on the internet.

Basically, all I know is that the Hermeneia may be more critical and Lutheran, while the AYB is more liberal and ecumenical.  That provides a bit of insight, but it would be tremendously helpful to hear more about each set.

After a comparison and contrast, if you had to pick a better series, which one would it be and why?

Thanks!  You all continue to amaze me with your helpfulness!

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 12:28 PM

Personally, I'd think your queston should be 'How does WBC+Hermeneia+Continental compare to AYB?'

The reason is the price. WBC/Herm/Cont are often discounted to easily fit inside an AYB.

But as almost every commentary discussion on this site notes: depends on the author (each book).  Both AYB and Hermeneia are catch as catch can, more so than WBC.

Some books are absolutely great; others should have been rejected by their respective editors.  However some parts of a book can be great, depending on the author's interest.

In terms of general usage, I use WBC in the NT and AYB in the OT and Herm for everything else (apocrypha, Apostolic Fathers, Sermon on the Mount, etc).  In terms of stability (how wild the arguments are), WBC (least), AYB next, Hermeneia and then for a real party boy, Continental.


Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 1:09 PM

Correct:

Joel J.:
all I know is that the Hermeneia may be more critical and Lutheran, while the AYB is more liberal and ecumenical.

 

Another difference may be that Hermeneia is built to work rather well as a set - whereas AYBC is cited a little more often elsewhere outside the set.

If You want to do some short-term planning and if You want to choose just one set, maybe You should think about which books of the Bible You are most interested in and see which set has quality coverage of that book? One obvious example is Mt - if You look at the current volumes Hermeneia surpasses AYBC and You will probably not find anyone here who disagrees on that. True there is a new AYBC volume under contract but I would still think Hermeneia will probably proove to be better. I chose this comparison because this is the book of the Bible on which I've read commentaries for the longest time. I should have chosen a better comparison as I forgot Logos doesn't currently carry any AYBC volume on Mt.

Hermeneia includes Q. There has been more recent works on Q. But unless You have a lot of money to spend the works in Hermeneia might do.

Also, are You thinking of whole sets or just the Old Testament or just the New Testament?

Generally, AYBC is a little bit newer than Hermeneia. It's not a great difference but still helped me to decide to buy AYBC NT even though I had Hermeneia and Continental commentaries since before.

I would love to do more comparison but won't have time for that for the next 2½ weeks.

Aply!
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Posts 1599
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 1:19 PM

Not sure how "Lutheran" Hermeneia really is.  Yes, it is from the publishing house of a major Lutheran body, but it not trying to be specifically Lutheran.

But as to your question, as Denise rightly said, it depends on the author.

The goal of the Anchor series has varied and grown quite a bit over the lifetime of the series.  It started off as a non-technical series (eg. Albrights's brief comments on Matthew) and has grown into monumental works like Milgrom's Leviticus. The newer volumes are quite a bit more useful.

Hermeneia from the beginning was and is a technical series.  It is a mix of translations (mostly from German) and original works.  The early ones translated from German are more than a bit date - and some of them (eg. Bultmann's Epistles of John) have been replaced with more current ones.  IMHO, there is not a single volume from which a reader cannot learn something useful about the Bible, but sometimes the gems are buried in some hyper-critical reconstructions.  But the scholarship is consistently solid - even if you don't agree with it.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

Posts 4765
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 1:52 PM

Denise:

In terms of general usage, I use WBC in the NT and AYB in the OT and Herm for everything else (apocrypha, Apostolic Fathers, Sermon on the Mount, etc).  In terms of stability (how wild the arguments are), WBC (least), AYB next, Hermeneia and then for a real party boy, Continental.

I like a good party...I'll probably pick up Continental next time it goes on sale.

Posts 1874
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 3:23 PM

AYB very historical-critical in approach whereas Hermeneia uses a somewhat  broader canvas. Historical critical with a bit of literary-critical perspective. Both series are variable depending on the author and when the individual volume was written For instance, Yarboro Collins on Mark in Hermeneia is good and relatively modern (2006 I think from memory). Both series are useful but I would not be prepared to buy whole set of either, because of price and variability but I would like to have some as individual volumes, if the price was right. I have one or two in print.

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Posts 1829
mike | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 3:56 PM

David Paul:

Denise:

In terms of general usage, I use WBC in the NT and AYB in the OT and Herm for everything else (apocrypha, Apostolic Fathers, Sermon on the Mount, etc).  In terms of stability (how wild the arguments are), WBC (least), AYB next, Hermeneia and then for a real party boy, Continental.

I like a good party...I'll probably pick up Continental next time it goes on sale.

lol..  Thanks for the laugh Denise & David. I really do. 

(^_-) 

Posts 171
Adam Rao | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 5:18 PM

Joel,

A thorough comparison is somewhat difficult since both series have quite a long history and the aims of both seem to have changed over the years. What I can tell you is what I like about each better than the other – I like Hermeneia over Anchor when I'm particularly interested in intertextuality and/or the history of interpretation; I like Anchor over Hermeneia when I'm particularly interested in textual notes and/or (some) theological reflection.

The expense is definitely something to take into consideration, but I had no problem buying both when I compared the list of print volumes I had planned to buy in each series before switching to a digital reference library with Logos. Both series have enough useful (and, sometimes, essential) volumes to warrant the price.

Even with Hermeneia and AYB, you'll still want some additional individual volumes here and there to fill out your library, but those two sets would be an amazing start for anyone interested in reading the scriptures in a critical and serious manner. Let me know if you want individual book recommendations – I'd be happy to share which volumes I find particularly useful.

Posts 2038
Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 6:26 PM

I'm not Joel, but what would be:

  • A non-dispensationalist commentary on Is, 1-2 Chron or Dt? Do You think the Abingdon Commentary on Dt is good for the price?:
    Adam Rao:
    Let me know if you want individual book recommendations – I'd be happy to share which volumes I find particularly useful.

Aply!
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Posts 171
Adam Rao | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 11 2014 7:25 PM

Unix:

I'm not Joel, but what would be:

  • A non-dispensationalist commentary on Is, 1-2 Chron or Dt? Do You think the Abingdon Commentary on Dt is good for the price?:
    Adam Rao:
    Let me know if you want individual book recommendations – I'd be happy to share which volumes I find particularly useful.

Unix – It seems to me that this would be better placed as a new topic / post somewhere else since it doesn't have to do specifically with either the Hermeneia or Anchor Bible sets.

(But, to answer your question anyway – Brueggemann's commentary on Deuteronomy may the best of the Abingdon set. It's outstanding in every way. One can only hope that series makes it into Logos one day! Re: Isaiah – Blenkinsopp's 3-vol. Anchor commentary is excellent. Re: Chronicles – Klein's volumes in Hermeneia are very good. I prefer Sara Japhet's OTL volume, but it isn't available for Logos.)

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