Prioritizing commentaries from bestcommentaries.com

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 11 2014 3:09 AM

I haven't spent much time prioritizing commentaries, but I think it's time to do that. I would like to have a better order of commentaries for my Passage Guides.

I'm considering setting up my default prioritizations based on the top 5-10 commentaries (that I own) for each book of the Bible as listed on bestcommentaries.com, and then overriding those prioritizations for a few specific commentaries that I really like if they differ from BC's order.

Has anyone else done this, and do you think it's worth the time? How did you set it up? Did you create a collections of just those top commentaries for each book of the Bible and then put those all in a PG? Or did you only prioritize and then let the chips fall where they may when it comes to what commentaries show up (beyond the prioritized ones) in the PG when you expand "more>>"?

It would be really nice if this were the sort of task one person could do and then share with others via some shareable document. I.e., it would be nice if prioritization schemes were stored in a user-document that was shareable via sync with the cloud. It seems ludicrous for everyone who wants to do this to spend all this time. It seems like it would be a prioritization scheme that many people could benefit from.

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Jeremy White | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 3:17 AM

I have recently started exploring this too. What I have done so far is to manually prioritize the top two individual books (that I own) and then below that I have prioritized by series

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Martin Folley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 3:38 AM

I have prioritised commentaries by series (within the library) but found this to be a cumbersome interface and too much of a sledgehammer approach.

I have found that the question'What is my top commentary' for any given book depends on my needs. Sometimes I am looking at original languages and detailed accounts of how scholars have interpreted scripture, other times I want a detailed commentary that only focusses on the original language when it is particularly important, and at other times I want an application commentary. I find that I have a top five in each category! (plus the devotional and 'classic' commentaries that I usually exclude).

I have found that sorting by book is not needed since the PG will automatically find the relevant commentaries for the chosen book. Instead, I have tagged every commentary using 'Scholar' 'Pastor' 'Expositional', and created a collection for each. All three collections are then part go my PG, and I expand only the area that I am needing. To further hone the collections, I also use ratings on individual books so that the better commentaries may be 4/5 stars. Anything less than 4 starts would not be in the collection, and thus not in the PG. As far as I can see, this does not sort them within the PG itself but it will be close enough.

I use the BestComms ratings with my favourites, so that I have each book of scripture with a folder that contains an ordered list of commentaries, with the BestComm rating in the title. This is sortable for dragging. It is obviously not needed for the PG, but is the easiest way to find a commentary on an iPad. (note that I drag the commentary  from the library rather than an open panel, so that the commentary is remembered, but not that specific page in the commentary).

Am I correct in thinking that BestComm uses cross-references between commentaries in order to rate commentaries? Or am I thinking of Glynn or something else? If so, the BestComm ratings would tend to favour established academic commentaries, rather than new, or expositional commentaries. Either way, I have found it to be extremely useful for initially sorting the 'Scholar' and 'Pastor' type commentaries.

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 4:19 AM

Rosie Perera:

I haven't spent much time prioritizing commentaries, but I think it's time to do that. I would like to have a better order of commentaries for my Passage Guides.

I'm considering setting up my default prioritizations based on the top 5-10 commentaries (that I own) for each book of the Bible as listed on bestcommentaries.com, and then overriding those prioritizations for a few specific commentaries that I really like if they differ from BC's order.

Has anyone else done this, and do you think it's worth the time? How did you set it up? Did you create a collections of just those top commentaries for each book of the Bible and then put those all in a PG? Or did you only prioritize and then let the chips fall where they may when it comes to what commentaries show up (beyond the prioritized ones) in the PG when you expand "more>>"?

It would be really nice if this were the sort of task one person could do and then share with others via some shareable document. I.e., it would be nice if prioritization schemes were stored in a user-document that was shareable via sync with the cloud. It seems ludicrous for everyone who wants to do this to spend all this time. It seems like it would be a prioritization scheme that many people could benefit from.

I started with prioritized the series that I have then added a couple of commentaries that I have.

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Unix | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 4:50 AM

I don't know whether it's a publisher restriction, but I'm wanting to review another International Critical Commentary volume on the Logos/Verbum product page in the (original) series, and it's not letting me do that. Last time I posted a review was a while ago for another volume in the (current) series. I'm using the latest Firefox web-browser on Win 8.1 and Bitdefender antivirus.

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John Fidel | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 5:07 AM

I did this for the top two commentaries. The way I did it was to tag the commentaries "Best".  I then added a commentary section to My Passage Guide that includes Best Commentaries. I can explain further if there are questions. Basically this brings up the best commentaries according to the website for any passage in the passage guide. 

Prioritizing individual commentaries to use for other purposes can be done, but it was beyond the scope of what I needed. I just wanted to have access quickly to the commentaries recommended for any passage I was studying using the Passage Guide. I am considering expanding the best commentaries to the top 4 or 5.

I also copied and pasted sections of website to excel spreadsheets and then dragged them to my favorites in Logos. I am attaching the spreadsheets, but please know they are a few years old. The OT spreadsheets needs some clean up as each tab goes to the top 84 commentaries. If there isn't 84 commentaries, then there are numbers without content. I do not recall why there is color coding... getting too old.

Anyway, by having access to these in favorites you can quickly see the top rated commentaries for any book you are studying. Hope this helps.

8475.Best Commentaries NT.xlsx

6180.Best Commentaries OT.xlsx

7266.Best Commentaries Series.xls

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 10:26 AM

Thanks all.

Martin Folley:
I have found that the question'What is my top commentary' for any given book depends on my needs.

I'm just not familiar enough with individual commentaries to even be able to answer that question, except for a small handful of ones I would want to put in the top 2 or 3 for those books because I know and studied under the authors (Fee's on 1 Corinthians and Revelation, possibly Waltke's on Genesis and Peterson's on 1 & 2 Samuel).

Martin Folley:
Am I correct in thinking that BestComm uses cross-references between commentaries in order to rate commentaries?

I don't think so. They describe their rating methodology here: http://bestcommentaries.com/about/.

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 10:35 AM

I don't bother prioritising (I'm English and can't spell it with a z) them. What I've done is to tag any commentary in the top five for a particular book as "bestcommentaries". I've then customised the passage guide with an additional commentaries section at the top with Mytag:bestcommentaries as the setting. This way, I get the best ones appearing at the top of my passage guide.

I found prioritising got messy with commentaries like EBC where Carson on Matthew is one of the top ones, but the others in the same volume aren't and I had to mess about restricting prioritisation to Matthew. This does mean I get EBC appearing in the list when it's not one of the bet, but life's too short to worry about that! For sermon preparation and book study this works well for me, as I am presented with good commentaries, and don't end up lost in a sea of commentaries of very variable quality. 


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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 10:38 AM

GregW:
I don't bother prioritising (I'm English and can't spell it with a z) them. What I've done is to tag any commentary in the top five for a particular book as "bestcommentaries". I've then customised the passage guide with an additional commentaries section at the top with Mytag:bestcommentaries as the setting. This way, I get the best ones appearing at the top of my passage guide.

That's a great idea, and much quicker!

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 11:03 AM

Rosie Perera:

That's a great idea, and much quicker!

And it matches your propensity for tagging as well! 


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John Duffy | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 11 2014 4:42 PM

Rosie Perera:
It would be really nice if this were the sort of task one person could do and then share with others via some shareable document.

Hi Rosie, I don't think that a shareable document is practical. But I've spent some time categorising commentaries when I obtain new resources. I use a few different categories, including; All Commanteries, Best Commentaries, Good Commentaries, Favourite Series, Classic Commentaries, Pseudo Commentaries (which are mainly monographs on short passages but not commentaries per se), Unclassified Commentaries (new commentaries which I haven't been able to get sufficient review data to classify them yet).  I use mytags on the resources, with similarly named collections with rules based on those mytags. I then use those collections in the Passage Guide, with Best, Good, Favourite series at the top of the list.

I've mainly used Carson's NT commentary survey (latest edition most recently) and Glynn's OT and NT survey (which takes into account ratings such as those at Best Commentaries). My categorisation would not be the same as that of others, since I've given the highest rating to the best conservative evangelical commentaries.  Others would give the best rating to those with the highest academic standard.

If these ratings are of interest, even as a starting point, I've attached them below. There are a few corrections to be made still, so I only use it as a guide when using them within the Passage Guide.  It helps me access the best or favourite commentaries easily.  As I say, others will differ in terms of what rating to give them, but that's OK.

3568.Commentaries.xlsx

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 12:17 PM

GregW:
What I've done is to tag any commentary in the top five for a particular book as "bestcommentaries". I've then customised the passage guide with an additional commentaries section at the top with Mytag:bestcommentaries as the setting. This way, I get the best ones appearing at the top of my passage guide.

Greg, thank you so much for sharing this excellent idea. Based on your idea, over the past few days I have gone through all my commentaries and tagged them CommentariesBest based on www.bestcommentaries.com I tagged all commentaries I owned within the top ten of their listings and put 5 stars for each of the top three. (just for the sake of interest I used CommentariesBest instead of BestCommentaries so that all my commentary tags show up together)

Putting this in the passage guide is an amazing way of having my top commentaries show first.

I would highly recommend that anyone who owns lots of commentaries do something similar.

Thanks again!

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 1:32 PM

Bruce Dunning:

Greg, thank you so much for sharing this excellent idea. Based on your idea, over the past few days I have gone through all my commentaries and tagged them CommentariesBest based on www.bestcommentaries.com I tagged all commentaries I owned within the top ten of their listings and put 5 stars for each of the top three. (just for the sake of interest I used CommentariesBest instead of BestCommentaries so that all my commentary tags show up together)

Putting this in the passage guide is an amazing way of having my top commentaries show first.

I would highly recommend that anyone who owns lots of commentaries do something similar.

Thanks again!

Glad to be able to help - I've had a lot of help from these forums and always appreciate your gracious responses. I originally did it because I ended up with a whole load of commentaries in the Passage Guide as I was preparing sermons, and got into a sort of "commentary overload" This dealt with that. What I have prioritised are the specialist commentaries like the IVP Background Commentaries and the Beale/Carson Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old, which I always refer to when preaching, so these now appear at the top of my PG list of commentaries. 


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Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 2:51 PM

What about using ratings? 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 4:23 PM

GregW:
but life's too short to worry about that!

That outlook will save us all a lot of unnecessary stress. Yes

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 4:56 PM

GregW:
What I've done is to tag any commentary in the top five for a particular book as "bestcommentaries".

I did something similar using ratings tags. I rated the top 4-5 commentaries with 5 stars, some others I liked with 4 and then created a collection of only 4 or 5 star commentaries and now use that collection in my PG and SS guides. I think I like your idea better.

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Orpheus Heyward | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 6:58 PM

What i have done is prioritize my commentaries, starting with my top 5  language, top 5 critical commentaries, top 5 exegetical, and top five application commentaries. However, prioritization is a bit limited.  Another way to do this is to use a tagging system, tagging your commentaries, so that you can easily make collections for each commentary category.  For me, it looks like:

mytag:

Comm-Critical

Comm-Lang

Comm-Exe

Comm-App

Comm-Background

Each time i purchase a commentary set, i make sure to tag it in one of these categories.  I then make collections of these tags.  This way, when i tag a commentary set with one of these tag labels, the set is automatically placed in that collection without me having to manually do so.  Tagging seems to be a great way to ensure your books do not get lost in the shuffle, and will show up when you need them. 

Finally i create a commentary guide with the commentary collections i have made. It looks like this:

Notice my different commentary sections each with the different category of commentary i use.  Hope this helps and/or make sense.  Morris Proctor does an excellent session in his camp logos 2 seminar regarding tagging.  He covers this on the camp logos 2 video as well.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 14 2014 8:04 PM

Orpheus Heyward:
What i have done is prioritize my commentaries, starting with my top 5  language, top 5 critical commentaries, top 5 exegetical, and top five application commentaries.

Hi Orpheus, thanks for that. I do already tag my commentaries by type (Lang, Critical, Homiletical, Application).

Do you mean that you prioritize your top 5 language commentary sets and top 5 critical commentary sets and so on? Or do you prioritize your top 5 individual critical commentary volumes (and each other type) across the whole Bible? Or do you prioritize your top five in each of those categories for each book of the Bible?

I'm making a PG that will show my best five Genesis commentaries (regardless of what type they are), best five Exodus commentaries, and so on.

I also have a PG already that breaks down all the commentaries I own in to four sections of commentaries for each of my tagged types (like in your illustration above), but because I have not yet done much prioritizing (except whole sets, which isn't very accurate because some volumes in some great sets are weak, and there can be a single excellent volume in an otherwise so-so set), it doesn't yet give me the best possible results.

I'm now about halfway through tagging the top five commentaries I have for each book of the Bible (according to the ratings on BibleCommentaries.com). I've taken the liberty of adding the BestCommentaries tag to a few that are lower than the top 5 if I know and respect the authors.

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Orpheus Heyward | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 15 2014 5:52 AM

Hey Rosie,

I better understand what your saying. I misread.  The answer is yes.  I have prioritized my top 5 language, Top 5 Critical, and so on.  I am in process of prioritizing beyond my top 5 in each category so that my commentaries appear in the order i need them to.

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Matt Hamrick | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 15 2014 5:57 AM

I did this long ago. I prioritized two commentaries for each book of the bible. For some books I used best commentaries priority for myself. I am glad you wrote this as its well past time to scrub my commentary prioritation.

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