Looking for thoughts on: Raymond E. Brown Collection (5 vols.)

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Mattillo | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Mar 16 2020 9:22 AM

I was poking around today and noticed this collection on sale from the Verbum Madness (which I wasn't following all that well).  Does anyone know of any good reviews on this?  I'm most interested in his volumes on the Infancy and Death.  As an evangelical (I believe he is Catholic) will I find these useful?  <-- Not trying to start a forum war but genuinely curious.  I have a lot of commentaries on the gospels but these volumes seem unique.  20% off a decent deal?

https://www.logos.com/product/5750/raymond-e-brown-collection 

Thanks in advance.

Posts 794
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 9:36 AM

I have Death of the Messiah and as a Catholic am not offended by your question (if that helps). His approach follows the typical modern criticisms of Scripture, treating it as non-historical. Some insights are interesting, some I dislike.

if you’re looking for a work from a historical-critical perspective, you might find it useful. If not, it might not be worth it.

hope this helps

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 9:59 AM

The set has been cheaper before.  Save your money 💰 The only two volumes worth having are introduction to the NT and the Gospel of John.

DAL

Posts 11173
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 10:01 AM

Depends on your pocketbook. I'm not catholic nor Catholic. But I have his commentaries (which heavily overlap this collection), and they're quite good. Your issue is more likely to be how scholarly you want (instead of belief-variation). Brown is pretty scholar-disciplined. Puts stuff on the table.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 10:48 AM

Denise:

Depends on your pocketbook. I'm not catholic nor Catholic. But I have his commentaries (which heavily overlap this collection), and they're quite good. Your issue is more likely to be how scholarly you want (instead of belief-variation). Brown is pretty scholar-disciplined. Puts stuff on the table.

catholic and Catholic, eh? Reminds me of the fellowship and Fellowship issue in churches of Christ. Big “F” and little “f.”  I wonder what the difference is between the little “c” and big “C.”

DAL

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 11:16 AM

DAL:

catholic and Catholic, eh? Reminds me of the fellowship and Fellowship issue in churches of Christ. Big “F” and little “f.”  I wonder what the difference is between the little “c” and big “C.”

DAL

Presumably, making that distinction is a claim to be part of an ancient church but not a member of the Church led by the Pope? 🤷‍♂️

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Paul Caneparo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 12:23 PM

DAL:

Denise:

Depends on your pocketbook. I'm not catholic nor Catholic. But I have his commentaries (which heavily overlap this collection), and they're quite good. Your issue is more likely to be how scholarly you want (instead of belief-variation). Brown is pretty scholar-disciplined. Puts stuff on the table.

catholic and Catholic, eh? Reminds me of the fellowship and Fellowship issue in churches of Christ. Big “F” and little “f.”  I wonder what the difference is between the little “c” and big “C.”

DAL

I've always understood "catholic" to mean the universal church (as per its use in the Apostles Creed) and Catholic to refer to the Roman Catholic Church.

Posts 4075
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 12:56 PM

Paul Caneparo:

I've always understood "catholic" to mean the universal church (as per its use in the Apostles Creed) and Catholic to refer to the Roman Catholic Church.

 This is mine as well. 

Posts 4075
Mattillo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 12:57 PM

David Wanat:

I have Death of the Messiah and as a Catholic am not offended by your question (if that helps). His approach follows the typical modern criticisms of Scripture, treating it as non-historical. Some insights are interesting, some I dislike.

if you’re looking for a work from a historical-critical perspective, you might find it useful. If not, it might not be worth it.

hope this helps

 This does help so thank you! I’m curious what you mean by non-Historical. If you have time, could you elaborate?

Posts 11173
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 1:08 PM

Paul Caneparo:
I've always understood "catholic" to mean the universal church (as per its use in the Apostles Creed) and Catholic to refer to the Roman Catholic Church.

I think that pretty much sums up (if I understand nominal church creeds). I don't think I've been terribly shy about the highly regarded Literalist Church (membership, 1).

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 658
Ted Weis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 2:16 PM

While I'm not Roman Catholic, I've found each book in this collection to be valuable. With regards to the Passion Week, you probably can't find more detailed studies than Brown's Death of Christ and Schnabel's Jesus in Jerusalem.

Posts 34
Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 2:24 PM

Hi,

I find Brown's books useful. He's moderately critical. With the Gospel of John commentaries (not included in this set, you can find them in the AYB commentary series) he has some very complicated source theories regarding the original (hypothetical?) Johannine Community (perhaps also with the "Introduction to the Gospel of John" in this set? Haven't had time to read that). Brown's AYB is one of my top 3 to-go-commentaries.

He's very thorough. With the Birth of the Messiah and the Death of the Messiah according to John F. Evans' Commentary Guide you must be "a quick reader", as he says it's much too long for many. I can verify that. But they are a tome of treasure if you know what to look for, in my opinion.

Mostly I like his timing and chronological order of the New Testament Books in his "Introduction to the New Testament." But that's just me. Hope this helps.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 2:32 PM

Paul Caneparo:
Catholic to refer to the Roman Catholic

Catholic means Catholic not just Roman (Western) Catholic ...Now that FL offers an Eastern-Rite Catholic package i.e. Catholic but not Roman, this should be easier to remember. Admittedly, there are only 18 million non-Roman but Catholic members of the Catholic Church.

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

Posts 7471
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 2:41 PM

I met a Byzantine Catholic that claimed they’re the real deal.  They consider Roman Catholic “brothers” along with the protestants, but that’s it.  Also they don’t worship statues, he said they have “icons” and they “venerate” not “worship” them.  It was an interesting conversation.  He said something about the pope too, but I can’t remember exactly what it was.

DAL

Posts 794
David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 3:09 PM

Mattillo:

David Wanat:

I have Death of the Messiah and as a Catholic am not offended by your question (if that helps). His approach follows the typical modern criticisms of Scripture, treating it as non-historical. Some insights are interesting, some I dislike.

if you’re looking for a work from a historical-critical perspective, you might find it useful. If not, it might not be worth it.

hope this helps

 This does help so thank you! I’m curious what you mean by non-Historical. If you have time, could you elaborate?

Sure. I mean he doesn’t treat the New Testament accounts of the Passion as historical accounts, but as theological stories. So if he encounters something in the NT that doesn’t match his assumptions, he treats it as an error on the part of the accounts.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 3:11 PM

I don't know who you met, but yes, Byzantine Catholics are the real deal. They share communion with Western Catholics but not with Protestants. There are a number of dual rite priests in the US i.e. priest who celebrate in both the Latin and Byzantine rites - same church building, different congregations in many cases. Why? simply a matter of numbers of a particular rite in a particular city. All Catholics venerate not worship images - whether sculpture or icons or frescos or . . . the form is a matter of culture and nothing more. Byzantine Catholics, like all the Eastern rite Catholics, recognize the Pope ... that is the major element that makes them Catholic rather than Orthodox.

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: Mon, Mar 16 2020 3:20 PM

David Wanat:
So if he encounters something in the NT that doesn’t match his assumptions, he treats it as an error on the part of the accounts.

Note: David is right that my tone here is not appropriate - my desire to defend Brown against one of the most serious charges that can be made against an academic caused me to forget to read the post in light of respecting David's right to his view.

Okay, you are misrepresenting Brown at this point. Brown is a thorough and traditional historical-critical scholar who lets the text speak for itself even when that disagrees with his personal theological position. He does not use assumptions to manufacture errors. A reasonably accurate accessment:

"Brown remains controversial among traditionalist Catholics because of their claim that he denied the inerrancy of the whole of scripture and cast doubt on the historical accuracy of numerous articles of the Catholic faith. Some traditionalists criticized his questioning of whether the virginal conception of Jesus could be proven historically. He was regarded as occupying the center ground in the field of biblical studies,[opposing the literalism found among many fundamentalist Christians while not carrying his conclusions as far as many other scholars."

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 Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 3:49 PM

MJ. Smith:

David Wanat:
So if he encounters something in the NT that doesn’t match his assumptions, he treats it as an error on the part of the accounts.

Okay, you are misrepresenting Brown at this point. Brown is a thorough and traditional historical-critical scholar who lets the text speak for itself even when that disagrees with his personal theological position. He does not use assumptions to manufacture errors. A reasonably accurate accessment:

"Brown remains controversial among traditionalist Catholics because of their claim that he denied the inerrancy of the whole of scripture and cast doubt on the historical accuracy of numerous articles of the Catholic faith. Some traditionalists criticized his questioning of whether the virginal conception of Jesus could be proven historically. He was regarded as occupying the center ground in the field of biblical studies,[opposing the literalism found among many fundamentalist Christians while not carrying his conclusions as far as many other scholars."

You might disagree with my assessment. But “misrepresent” implies an intent to deceive. And you are wrong there. If you think I misunderstand him, it is possible. But he has offered opinions in Death of the Messiah that are seemingly at odds with Catholic teaching on Biblical interpret.

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David Wanat | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 4:29 PM

My previous post was lost. To sum up, I didn’t intend to accuse him of dishonesty, but of having a blind spot. I can see how my poor phrasing could sound like an accusation and I apologize for that.

He makes several assertions (for example, of the accounts of the Crucifixion being non historical, and saying some date from the second century AD) that are definitely contested among scholar. 

Hence, my original response saying that it has value as a historical-critical source but has some problems.

Once again, I apologize for any confusion my poor phrasing caused.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Mar 16 2020 4:42 PM

We're good - I have no objections to your views as now presented.

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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