Value of the Social-Science Commentary Set

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Posts 1397
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jun 15 2018 9:52 AM

I have a fair number of Bible background related resources, but I'm wondering if the Social-Science Commentary set that's on sale as part of the Logos Feature Expansion Cultural Concepts Collection would add much value to what I currently have.  Some of the resources I own include the following.

  • IVP Bible Background Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary set
  • Bible Knowledge Background Commentary set
  • NIVAC Commentary set with it's "Original Meaning" sections

Posts 638
Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 11:00 AM

Rick Ausdahl:

I have a fair number of Bible background related resources, but I'm wondering if the Social-Science Commentary set that's on sale as part of the Logos Feature Expansion Cultural Concepts Collection would add much value to what I currently have.  Some of the resources I own include the following.

  • IVP Bible Background Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary set
  • Bible Knowledge Background Commentary set
  • NIVAC Commentary set with it's "Original Meaning" sections

Following.

Posts 1564
John Kight | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 11:38 AM

I think this paragraph from the introduction provides insight into the usefulness of the set (or at least a starting point to such): 

"...we provide a collection of Reading Scenarios drawn from anthropological studies of the Mediterranean social system. This is the social system encoded in the language of the letters in ways that are not always obvious to modern readers. Since most of the reading scenarios apply throughout the post-Pauline letters, however, we have duly referenced them in the commentary for the convenience of the reader. Together with the Textual Notes, the Reading Scenarios offer clues for filling in the unspoken or implicit elements of the writing as a Mediterranean reader would certainly have done. The Notes and Reading Scenarios help the modern reader develop a considerate posture toward the ancient author and prevent imposing on that author’s work interpretations that would be culturally incompatible. An index of Reading Scenarios is also provided at the close of the book."

For book reviews and more visit sojotheo.com 

Posts 980
JohnB | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 12:12 PM

Rick Ausdahl:

I have a fair number of Bible background related resources, but I'm wondering if the Social-Science Commentary set that's on sale as part of the Logos Feature Expansion Cultural Concepts Collection would add much value to what I currently have.  Some of the resources I own include the following.

  • IVP Bible Background Commentaries (OT & NT)
  • Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary set
  • Bible Knowledge Background Commentary set
  • NIVAC Commentary set with it's "Original Meaning" sections

I am wondering as well.

Posts 790
Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 12:47 PM

A big part of my graduate studies centered around social science methods. My dissertation was influenced in large measure by these methods, too. Malina's work, especially, was pretty ground-breaking for some of us at the time. However, I haven't found these commentaries useful. It seems that there's not a lot of depth to the analyses. In the 90s and into the 00s, when a new analytical method whose application to exegesis was found, a few generalizations about the nature of the first century Mediterranean world were made by various scholars, and it always seemed self-evident how these generalizations might be applied to individual scriptural passages. In my opinion, these commentaries reflect some of these self-evident applications. The commentaries seem to be neither ground-breaking nor exhaustive in their application. This makes sense to me because Malina (especially) seems less comfortable when analyzing a text than he is in formulating how methods can shed light upon them.

On the other hand, if you're not familiar with social-scientific methods, they might come in handy.

Lew

Posts 80
Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 1:36 PM

I like Witherington's commentaries on Acts, Romans, and Corinthians especially (and possibly his Galatians one too).  But I also think he tried to do too much and some of his commentaries just rehash points he made in his earlier commentaries.  That said, those four commentaries might be worth the cost of admission.  I also highly value DeSilva's commentary on Hebrews (and DeSilva, unlike Witherington has not made it his ambition to do a commentary on every book of the New Testament).  The primary value that these commentaries make to the conversation is that they take a non-Calvinist view (and thus a different one from many in Logos' collections).  DeSilva's view is hard to nail down, but basically he argues that the writer of Hebrews uses Patron-Client language to describe salvation and that Eternal Security (salvation written from the view of the Patron) and Conditional Security (salvation written from the view of the Client) both miss the point.  Witherington writes from a more standard Arminian perspective and for that his commentary on Romans is definitely helpful whether for understanding a modern Arminian view.  Beyond that, Witherington does bring Classical Rhetoric into the discussion as far as the Biblical text is concerned and very few other resources go to the depth on Biblical texts like these do (as far as Greek rhetoric).  YMMV

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 2:24 PM

Lew Worthington:
On the other hand, if you're not familiar with social-scientific methods, they might come in handy.

I would second this statement by Lew. I treat them as lay-level commentaries and find them useful at that level.

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

Posts 1397
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2018 8:28 PM

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback.  The product description for the set sounded interesting and gave me the impression the set would approach background info from a little different angle than the resources I already have, but I found myself disappointed in the content based on the sample pages.

In addition to the resources listed in my original post, I do also have some of the DeSilva and Witherington resources Paul mentioned, so I think I'll pass on the Social-Science set.

Thanks again for the comments!

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