Meyer NT Commentary worth getting?

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This post has 8 Replies | 1 Follower

Posts 167
David Kirk Davis | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Dec 26 2011 5:45 AM

Anyone getting Meyer's New Testament commentary when it is released? Thoughts or opinions on this set? 

Posts 119
Brooks Cochran | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 6:25 AM

I placed a winning bid on this set while it was in Community Pricing. It is old, but I have found Meyer's comments useful. While on this topic, you might check out the Cambridge Greek Testament set on Community Pricing. I realize older sets are just that OLD. But they do contain, to me, valuable insights on the text.

Posts 609
Jesse Blevins | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 6:28 AM

Very sound exegesis.

Lot's of quotes from the church Fathers.

Compared to Aquinas works on the gospel.

Posts 167
David Kirk Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 7:30 AM

I have my bid in already for the Cambridge set.


Jesse, I actually found Aquins's Catena Aurea a nice surprise to read when I got the Catholic Library builder. [i'm not a Catholic] I have been using my Logos version of the Ancient Christian Commentary a lot since I got all 49 volumes from third party last week. I guess I will get Meyer. Thanks.  


Can you tell I collect commentaries??

Posts 8204
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 9:32 AM

David Kirk Davis:

Anyone getting Meyer's New Testament commentary when it is released? Thoughts or opinions on this set? 

I read some of the background introduction on the pastoral epistles online and that made me place my bid on it.  I was fortunate enough to get it for $30 bucks, because I would definitely not buy it for the current prepub or after prepub price.  Like any set of commentaries, I'm sure it will have its strengths and weaknesses. 


Edit: I'm glad I also got the Expositor's Bible for $30 bucks.  The users' comments persuaded me to bid on this puppy too.  I'll be getting these 2 at the beginning of January.  I'm looking forward to reading them.


Posts 609
Jesse Blevins | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 9:33 AM

So do I.

Master of the historical grammatical method and several languages on top of being an active pastor should yield great interpretation and application.

I got it for 3O dollars - so merry Christmas to me : )



Posts 8204
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 9:39 AM

Pastor Jesse Blevins:

...I got it for 3O dollars - so merry Christmas to me : )

Merry Christmas to me too! LOL...with the way my budget went this year, Myer's and Expositor's Bible will be my after Xmas present; unless I hear a super great deal during the "after Xmas...we need to talk sale" hehehe.


Posts 299
Hapax Legomena | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 10:44 AM

Sounds pretty good:

      **Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1832– ). Founded by H. A. W. Meyer, it is popularly named after him, the Meyer-Kommentar. The series of 16 vols. has often been revised and even completely rewritten at times; some of the older volumes were translated into English, but they are quite out of date today. Composed by the best of German Protestant NT scholars over the last century and a half, they offer a thorough and excellent historical-critical approach to the NT. The series ranks today in a class by itself, being the best NT commentary series in any language, even though individual volumes in it might at times be weaker than this over-all view of the series. The commentary on Galatians has been revised several times by H. Schlier, even after his conversion to Roman Catholicism.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, vol. 3, An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture, subsidia biblica (Rome: Editrice Pontifico Istituto Biblico, 1990), 124.

The magnificent achievement of H. A. W. Meyer in the last century has been reprinted in ET: 11 fat volumes with a total of 7,050 pp. (/Hendrickson), but it is again out of print.

D. A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey, 6th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 33.

Life. This exegete was born on January 10, 1800, in Gotha, Thuringia. His father was a shoemaker for the duke. Meyer’s educational preparation and study at a classic German gymnasium in Gotha included an in-depth exposure to Latin. He finished this preparation in 1818 with remarks about his exams that indicated his teachers hoped for great promise in his future pursuits. He then went to university at Jena, where he studied theology, history, philosophy and philology, including such languages as Arabic. The university had a reputation for rationalism, an ethos common to the time.
Meyer was able to remain at the university for only five semesters because of financial demands from his family. Nonetheless he was able to pass both his major theology exams with commendation (1821–1822). He then became a teacher at a boarding school under the direction of Pastor Oppermann in Grone near Göttingen. He married the pastor’s daughter, Elise, in 1823, shortly after the call to his first pastorate in Osthausen, Thuringia, in December 1822.
The key move of Meyer’s life came with a call in 1830 to serve as pastor in the Hanoverian state church in Harste near Göttingen. This allowed Meyer to live near a major university town and to have access to its library resources. It also put him close to the publishing house of Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht in Göttingen.
Meyer had a reputation as a tireless worker. He rose at about 4 a.m. to do his “scientific” New Testament study before fulfilling the duties of his parish later in the morning. An hour’s predawn walk was also a daily custom. His discipline led to a particularly fruitful period: Meyer issued a text-critical Greek edition of the New Testament with a modern German translation (1829). With it came some study notes on the four Gospels, part of an unfulfilled plan to cover the entire New Testament. But this work eventually laid important groundwork for the commentary series known by his name (the Meyer series, also known as the Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, designated today by the abbreviation KEK). In 1830 he issued a Latin version of the Symbolical Books of the Lutheran church.
Volumes of Meyer’s commentary were issued in quick succession, including frequently updated versions. The Synoptics were published in 1832, reaching a sixth edition by 1876. Matthew became its own volume in a second edition in 1844, with Mark and Luke following in 1846 and reaching a fifth edition by 1867. John was initially published in 1834 (5th ed., 1869). Acts was released in 1835 (4th ed., 1870); Romans followed in 1836 (5th ed., 1872). Next came 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians in 1839 and 1840 (both had a 5th ed. by 1870). Galatians was issued in 1841 (5th ed., 1870) and then Ephesians in 1843 (4th ed., 1867).
During this period Meyer had moved to Hoya (1837) as superintendent of a school, and then he came onto a church council (1841), serving as superintendent and pastor at the Neustadter Court and Castle Church in Hanover. Here he had pastoral responsibility for a parish with five thousand members. Eventually the combination of responsibilities wore him down, and he fell seriously ill in February 1846. In 1848 he stepped down from his pastoral duties. Yet the commentaries continued: Philippians appeared in 1847, while Philemon and Colossians were published with a reissued volume on Philippians in 1848 (4th ed., 1874 with a commemorative short biography written by his son Gustav). The commentaries to the rest of the New Testament were completed by younger scholars, with the entire New Testament exposition being published in 1859 (sixteen volumes). This massive undertaking was so successful that all of Meyer’s volumes were translated into English through a publisher in Edinburgh, a project that took from 1873 to 1885 to complete.
During this time Meyer continued to serve on the Hanoverian church council and took up a leader’s role in 1861. He was also engaged as an examiner of theological students during the time and served as a professor at Giessen from 1841. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Göttingen on March 24, 1845. He retired in 1865, though he continued to serve as an examiner of theological students for the church. He died on June 21, 1873, in Hanover.
Reputation and Legacy. Meyer had a reputation as a man of integrity, piety and humility. He was known for his exceptional discipline and philological rigor. He wanted a commentary that explained the meaning of the Bible in the sense it was originally understood to have possessed. His preaching was said to be similar in force, paying careful attention to the meaning of the text while aiming for the heart. Theologically he was said to be a moderate, and as he aged he became less rationalistic and more open to the supernatural. He reacted against a rising conservative German Pietism that often feared technical study of Scripture while fiercely opposing the more liberal views of David Friedrich *Strauss and the emerging liberal Tübingen school under Ferdinand Christian *Baur. Meyer’s passion was said to be the message of the text wherever it led.
The series that bears Meyer’s name has had a long life, with a series of editors and contributors who are well-known in German New Testament circles. It was one of the first series on the entire New Testament to argue strictly for the historical-grammatical sense of the text. The theological range of the commentaries today has broadened significantly; for example, Otto *Michel’s work on Romans is a careful, theologically sensitive treatment of this book, which has never been translated into English, while Rudolf *Bultmann on John and E. Haenchen on Acts press the limits of critical examination of the text.
Work. A sense of Meyer’s approach can be gained by considering a sample from his work on Acts. In a forward to Acts, Meyer notes the work of Baur and speaks of a need to avoid a faith that is uncritical while avoiding a criticism that is unbelievable. He held to the famous saying of Martin *Luther: that he sought “what pursued the figure of Christ” (was Christum treibt); with the courage of the Reformer he also sought to examine what the text meant (Meyer 1870, vi).
Meyer’s work in Acts begins with an introduction to the work’s historical background along with careful attention to the testimony of the church fathers to the work, including clear notation of specific citations. The exegesis begins with text-critical discussion that interacts with the great text-critical works of his day (e.g., Tischendorf). Having established the wording of the Greek text, Meyer then proceeds through the text a verse at a time. The first generation of editors (e.g., Henrici on 1 Corinthians) of his work often supplied a short outline to the basic units in the chapter before beginning comment on the verses.
Most of the exposition is a careful exercise in historical-philological definition. A term is noted; then its other New Testament uses are mentioned along with a contextual consideration of the specific meaning of the term. All of this is done in a prose style, not in reflective notes. Along the way contrary views are noted and secondary literature is cited briefly with specific page numbers of the discussions given, so readers using the commentary could follow the debate if they wished. References to historical background include citations to the Old Testament, Josephus and Philo as well as the Jewish rabbinic writings through the scholarly resources that point to them. For example, in Acts 2:1 the discussion of Pentecost ranges from references in Deuteronomy 16:9–10 to Tobit 1:1 to Leviticus 23:15–25 to explain how the first Pentecost was celebrated on a Sunday. All of this is related to the Passover chronology in the Gospels and the debate over its timing at Jesus’ death, a debate that continues today. The entire discussion is covered in a page full of detail.
Another side of Meyer emerges when the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2:2 is compared with a “rush of a violent wind.” Here he refuses to rationalize the text as simply a reference to a windstorm, as Johann Gottfried *Eichhorn Did, noting that the text is clearly a comparison rather than a description. Imagery like that from classical authors is also noted in this discussion.
Discussing tongues in Acts 2:7, Meyer notes that the believers are speaking in foreign languages, a view that goes back to the church fathers, but also argues that an unjustified expansion occurs when it is suggested that the gift includes the ability to speak in all foreign languages. He then notes that Paul’s portrait in 1 Corinthians 12:10, 12, 14 indicates a prayer speech that is to lead to exposition and not a speaking in a foreign language. He also discusses that the tongues (Acts 2:7) appear to be a symbolic reversal of Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel, as it was expected in the messianic times that there would again be one people of the Lord and one language. He notes all of this with an allusion to the Testament to the Twelve Patriarchs to show the historical background of the remark.
When he comes to Peter’s speech in Acts 2, Meyer, proceeding phrase by phrase, notes carefully how the citation of Joel is like and unlike the passage in the Hebrew and Greek Old Testaments. The discussion of Joel explains how the citation prepares for Acts 2:36 and concludes that it is “a first fruit of the pouring out of the Spirit!”
Significance. A reading of Meyer discloses an interpreter working carefully with the text, noting and defining terms with a sense of the context and the New Testament usage. He is aware of the historical background available in his day and possesses a knowledge of the discussion about the passage in question extending back to the church fathers. Here is a careful exegete who reflects the strengths of his century while avoiding many of its weaknesses.

Darrell L. Bock, "Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm (1800–1873)" In , in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, ed. Donald K. McKim (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 733-35.


Posts 167
David Kirk Davis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 26 2011 11:03 AM

Thanks. I have most of the Commentary major sets offered by Logos and figured I would add this also. I also have bid on all but three of the Community Pricing offers. Not sure what I would do with Turretin in Latin? Hopefully they will get with the publisher and make Denison's version available. 

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