OK, a few disclaimers. This article is likely to be read by almost no one. So why bother to write it? Well, it’s my website and I’ll write if I want to (to paraphrase a 1963 hit pop song by Lesley Gore). So I can indulge myself here, and write about something I at least get excited about, even if no one else does!
And I have proof of this lack of interest. I almost always get comments on my articles, but a piece on theology books I wrote a year ago did not get one comment – not one! So I know this post will lose at least 99.99% of my readers. But there still might be a few commentary and theology fans out there.
So let me run with one of my passions. I quite enjoy good biblical commentaries, especially the academic, scholarly ones. But the expository commentaries I also quite like. I keep singing the praises of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ 14-volume series on Romans for example. A full tenth of my 6000-volume library is comprised of commentaries.
I thought I was fairly up on new commentaries, but last night I did a quick look on Amazon and discovered a whole host of great new commentaries that have either just been released, or will soon appear. This is great news for commentary lovers, but bad news for people like my wife who will rightly ask, “Where will you fit all these?”
A good question, and one which gets increasingly more difficult to answer. Of course a related question is, “Don’t you have enough books already?” And if that one does not suffice, there is always, “Have you read all the books you already have?”
But I don’t let such trifling matters stand in my way. Of course my dilemma is this: which of these new commentaries do I purchase, and which ones do I regrettably say no to. I am getting on in years, and eventually I will have to figure what to do with this library (and yes, I know that some book vultures are already circling!).
Anyway, here are some of my discoveries. Trent Butler came out with his WBC commentary on Joshua in 1983 – a long time ago admittedly. So when I heard a revised version was coming out, I had a mild interest. Often very little is actually updated in such revisions, so it is hardly worth the money getting the new volume.
Well not in this case. The first edition was a mere 304 pages. The revised work is in fact a two-volume set totalling 1264 pages. Wow, that is the biggest update I have heard of. Now that is a revision! And an expansion. And an enlargement. So that may well be another purchase.
And speaking of sets, once you start a set, you hate to leave it incomplete. Craig Keener’s massive commentary on Acts is one such set. I have the first two volumes, and now see that the third is just out. I will have to grab that one – all 1200 pages of it.
But a fourth volume is still to come. The first two total 2200 pages. Assuming the final volume is of similar size, we are talking well over 4500 pages just on one biblical book. One will need a whole foot of shelving space just to hold these giant tomes. But they are a very solid and thorough work indeed.
My recent thesis work has resulted in a new love of Second Corinthians. So whenever I learn of a new commentary on this epistle, I am ready to spring into action. Thus I am glad to see a new 600-page work by Mark Seifrid in the PNTC series. Looking forward to that one.
As to some other epistles, Jeffrey Weima offers us over 700 pages in his new commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians (BECNT). And in two months a new commentary series (Biblical Theology Christian Proclamation Commentary) will feature Thomas Schreiner on Hebrews (just under 600 pages).
And later next year veteran New Testament scholar Richard Longenecker will have a 1000-page work on Romans available in the important NIGTC series. That should be an invaluable volume. A more modest revision will be the terrific commentary of Gordon Fee on First Corinthians (NICNT). It will expand from the 900 pages of his first 1987 edition to 1050 pages, available as of this month.
As to the gospels, Mark Strauss has a new 800-pager on Mark’s gospel, in the ZECNT series. Moving to the Old Testament, Nancy deClaisse-Walford, Rolf Jacobson, and Beth LaNeel Tanner offer us 1100 pages on the Psalms in the NICOT series.
The century-old ICC series is now having plenty of new volumes added to it. Consider Isaiah. The first 5 chapters are covered in 450 pages by Hugh Williamson. Two more volumes will make up just Isaiah 1-27. John Goldingay has a two-volume, 800-page commentary on Isaiah 40-55 in the same series. At this rate there may be close to a dozen volumes on just this one OT book when completed.
Zechariah will be covered by Mark Boda in the NICOT series later next year in nearly 900 pages. And the three-volume commentary on the Psalms by Allen Ross (Kregel Exegetical Library) will be completed early next year, totalling almost 3000 pages.
And these are just some of the heavy duty commentaries which have just appeared or soon will. Wow, plenty to choose from. Plenty to break the bank as well, not to mention take up every last square inch of space in your house. As I say, I may not get all of these, but certainly some of them I will be very keen on purchasing.
In fact, I think I will zoom down to Koorong right now!
Merry Christmas and happy reading!