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The Anchor Bible Is on Sale: Value for a Biblicist?


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#1 Enoch

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:50 PM

Does this set have value for a Biblicist, one who believes the Bible?  

Is it not a collection of comments by unbelievers?

 

Does it focus on grammar or does it focus on finding stuff like:

1) disagreements between authors & writings ("Paul says this, but John disagrees; in 1 Cor 15 Paul defends the resurrection, but in 2 Cor 5 he denies it.")

2) imaginary stuff, like opponents (Paul seems to say X, but actually he is just reflecting what a Gnostic opponent said),

3) critical conclusions which are contrary to what the text says ("Moses is quoted as saying, 'Build a tabernacle,' but actually it was written by P 1000 years later to justify having a temple.")  The documents have no integrity; there are actually 3.14159 Isaiahs."


Edited by Enoch, 18 February 2014 - 01:50 PM.


#2 Rick Bennett

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:04 PM

3.14159 Isaiahs.

 

Ha! Isaiah pie?


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#3 Abram K-J

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:09 PM

Yes, but it has been "redacted" into a delicious, unified whole. :)

 

Anchor is expressly "critical" in its scholarship and approach to the text, but I doubt it would be fair to conclude it is written by "unbelievers." (case in point: Raymond Brown on John)

 

And regardless of a particular author's own profession of faith (whatever that may be), the general quality of the volumes I've examined (a handful of OT and NT books) has been pretty high.

 

So to answer your first question: yes, absolutely. But any commentary (written from any persuasion) should be used with discretion.


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#4 jeremyduncan

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 03:45 PM

My guess is the Anchor Bible Commentary won't be exactly what your looking for Enoch. That said, I have a couple volumes from the series in print and they are some of the best commentaries I have found (Jonah and Leviticus for example), written by people who very much take the Bible and faith seriously- they do however, take a critical approach to the texts.

Either way, this is a significant investment in a commentary set - so I would suggest you check out a couple print volumes at a local library before purchasing to see if they fit the perspective you're looking for.


Edited by jeremyduncan, 18 February 2014 - 04:07 PM.


#5 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 05:02 PM

Let me reiterate a point here I have made elsewhere. Be careful to buy commentaries with which you disagree, as well as ones with which you agree. Working through these sorts of arguments is healthy. Knowing what "the other side" says is often useful (if for no other reason than good polemics against them! :-) ). Besides, people of other faith persuasions often have valuable insights, even for those of us that have different assumptions.

 

There are a [very] few commentaries that are so outré that they simply aren't relevant for people of [conservative] faith. Anchor certainly does not fall into that category.


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#6 William B

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Posted 19 February 2014 - 05:38 AM

Let me reiterate a point here I have made elsewhere. Be careful to buy commentaries with which you disagree, as well as ones with which you agree. Working through these sorts of arguments is healthy. Knowing what "the other side" says is often useful (if for no other reason than good polemics against them! :-) ). Besides, people of other faith persuasions often have valuable insights, even for those of us that have different assumptions.
 
There are a [very] few commentaries that are so outré that they simply aren't relevant for people of [conservative] faith. Anchor certainly does not fall into that category.


Very well put!

I'm using one in my college library just now for my dissertation on job. It is very in depth, it is quite academic and a heavy read through.

#7 Enoch

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 06:54 PM

1) To me the term critical is a positive term, implying careful analysis of the text, rather than taking a position where one is superior to God's Word and acting as His judge.  Critical also for me means more exegetical than devotional.  However, it seems that I am in the minority in my understanding of the term.  But is not my sense of the term that used in the title of The International Critical Commentary?

 

2) As to reading those who disagree with one, there are different kinds of disagreements.  If the assumptions of the author are absurd, and if he is given to flights of fancy as if he were reading tea leaves, I don't find the author profitable. If he makes up an imaginary history which is far-fetched, I don't find his comments in that context valuable.  Now take my favorite NT series, Alford's Greek Testament.  What's it all about, Alfy?  Alford is an Arminian who believes one can lose one's salvation; holding a serious theological error.  But I find him profitable since he analyzes the text (critically!) and lays out the possibilities succinctly.  IMHO those old British boys knew their Greek & classical authors much better than commentators are likely to know today.  So if he tells me that a given Greek construction was common and meant X in Polybius, Plutarch, Arrian, and Diodorus Siculus, that is nice to know.

 

3) Evidence of having the spiritual gift of teaching is another factor which means a plus.

 

4) Now having looked at data on the set, I am thinking that WF Albright's volumes might be profitable.  But I am thinking that most of the volumes would not be particularly helpful in determining precisely what the language means.



#8 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 07:21 PM

Folks, let's take Enoch's post in the spirit in which it was intended: to comment on a particular kind of commentary. Let's not get sidetracked into a theological debate about soteriology. These forums are not intended for that purpose.

 

Enoch, let me gently remind you we have people of many different theological persuasions who use Accordance, including Arminian. This isn't the place for those kinds of discussions or those sorts of characterizations. A simple "holds a theological position different from mine" will help keep the discussion on track, without tempting others to jump in and defend their position.

 

For what it is worth, Enoch, I agree with you about the term "critical," though I have had to be very careful with it when teaching conservative undergraduates. I also agree that W. F. Albright is certainly worthwhile, but don't forget Dahood's three-volume set on the Psalms. Some claim it is the finest commentary on Psalms ever written.


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#9 Enoch

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 06:32 PM

Thanks for the info on Da Hood.  Perhaps that's what we need, a new commentary set for the inner city, entitled Da Hood Commentary, written in urban slang.



#10 Dan Francis

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 07:14 PM

Leslie C. Allen,  Word Biblical Commentary has always struck me as much better than Dahood's volumes, but each to their own favourites.

 

-Dan



#11 Abram K-J

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the info on Da Hood.  Perhaps that's what we need, a new commentary set for the inner city, entitled Da Hood Commentary, written in urban slang.

 

#youredoingitwrong


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