A Plea for Strack & Billerbeck vol. 4 - Excurses!

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Jim Darlack | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Nov 4 2021 10:39 AM

Yesterday I was over-the-moon to download my copy of Jacob N. Cerone’s and Joseph Longarino’s translation of volume 3 of Strack & Billerbeck’s Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch!

As a seminary student working on my thesis, I remember slogging through the alphabet-soup of abbreviations and cross references in Str-B hunting down early Jewish and rabbinic ‘parallels’ to New Testament texts. (I did not know German – and I’ve only dabbled a bit in the language since then – but I was adventurous enough to get the gist using Google Translate and a theological German dictionary.) Having an English translation that is connected to the source material in Logos is a dream come true. When they’re available, I will certainly recommend the print editions to be added to theological libraries!

I was also pleased to read David Instone-Brewer’s introduction to the work – and its helpful admonition to use the content wisely (avoiding parallelomania and other interpretive transgressions).

While I was certainly happy to receive vol. 3, I was reminded of the vastness of Strack & Billerbeck’s work, and the necessary use of cross-references throughout. (In the Gospels this is certainly the case, given that the Matthew volume covers the most depth, while the other Gospel volumes comment on their respective texts as a supplement to the comments on Matthew. I am happy that vols. 1 and 2 are on their way!)

I was not happy, however, to hear from the editor (via Facebook) that there are presently no plans on producing a translation of the excurses in vol. 4. I do find this to be unfortunate, because it reduces the usefulness of the other volumes. In volume 3 alone (covering the epistles and Revelation), there are over 200 references to the excurses in vol. 4. I imagine that there will be at least as many and most likely more references to the excurses in vols 1 & 2! If vol. 4 is not translated, each of these references to the excurses will essentially result in a research dead end for those without any facility with German. In addition to these internal cross references, vol. 4 is referenced >600x in TDNT, >60x in BDAG, 49x in EDNT, 12x in TLNT. This is just a sampling of references in lexica. In my own Logos library, there are over 1,600 references to vol. 4 (searching on "Str-B 4" OR "Str-B IV" OR "billerbeck 4" OR "billerbeck IV" OR "strack iv" OR "strack 4" OR "strb 4" OR "strb iv" OR "SB 4" OR "SB IV" OR "S-B 4" OR "S-B IV").

I understand that a translation project like this is expensive and that expense is perhaps deemed prohibitive. I do, however, believe that the usefulness of volumes 1, 2, and 3 will be hampered by not providing access to an English translation of volume 4. I do hope that Lexham Press and Logos considers producing a full translation that will provide complete access to this invaluable work.

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Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 4 2021 10:51 AM


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