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Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Vol. I


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#1 AlejandroBotta

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 07:52 AM

From the ACCS add:

"Today the historical-critical method of interpretation has nearly exhausted its claim on the biblical text and on the church."

Some faith communities reject the historical-critical method in the same way they have rejected evolution or just anything that has challenged their fundamentalism. This happens in both, Christian and Jewish communities. You will never hear such statement in other disciplines dealing with the Ancient Near East or Classical Antiquity.

From David Lang's blog:

"The ACCS is also helpful in overcoming the chronological snobbery into which many contemporary Christians tend to slip. When we see that sound Biblical exegesis didn't necessarily begin in the sixteenth, or the eighteenth, or the twentieth centuries, we begin to sense a greater connection with the early church."

You can also say that science didn't necessarily begin in the sixteenth or the eighteenth century, but would you go to a doctor that relies on Galen to treat you? The ACCS has indeed a historical value (although no one doing historical research would rely on a partial selection like this) and it might be useful to get citations for a sermon, but please, DO NOT rely on it for biblical exegesis.

Related and interesting: http://sbl-site.org/...x?ArticleId=490
Alejandro F. Botta, Ph.D. 745 Commonwealth Ave., Box 371
Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible Boston, MA 02215-1401
Boston University School of Theology http://www.bu.edu/st...taff/botta.html

Tel. 617-353-3063
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#2 Robb Brunansky

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 09:21 AM

This seems like exactly the kind of chronological snobbery to which David Lang was referring. Certainly a doctor who relied on ancient pratices would not be approved today, nor would I want such a doctor caring for me when I was sick. However, the analogy is inappropriate to the Scriptures. If there was an ancient, infallible book on medicine, the only doctors I would want are those who realized the accuracy and truthfulness of that book! I wouldn't want a doctor who rejected infallible and inerrant revelation for new philosophies and theories built on men's subjective opinions. In medicine there is no such book, so the analogy is invalid.

In Mr. Fox's article he states, "One of the great achievements of modern Bible scholarship is that it communicates across religious borders so easily that we usually do not know the beliefs of its practitioners." This is a tragedy, not an achievement! If someone wants to define "scholarship" as a non-faith-based study of the Scriptures, that is permissible (although I believe it is impossible to study anything without bringing our beliefs to it), only it should not be deemed "biblical scholarship." The Apostle Paul wrote, "Knowledge puffs up," and I believe this truism is exemplified in the world of "scholarship," where those who claim to study the Bible actually sit in judgment on it, failing to understand the most basic truths of the Scriptures. It is a tragic irony that those who spend so much time studying the Scriptures and writing erudite treatises on the historicity, meaning, and authenticity of the Scriptures have missed the most basic, fundamental truth they teach.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Robb Brunansky
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Soli Deo Gloria,
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#3 David Lang

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 09:42 AM

Dr. Botta,

As a professor of mine used to say, "You can't say everything every time you say anything. Otherwise, you're so busy saying everything that you never say anything." In the Accordance blog, I made the statement you quote without all the caveats needed to balance it. I actually drafted some of those caveats, but deleted them for the sake of brevity.

You're absolutely right that the ACCS is not a critical commentary, and should not be "relied on" for exegesis. I would hope that no exegete would rely on ANY commentary for exegesis. A commentary should be an aid to exegesis, opening our eyes to aspects of the text which we may not have seen on our own.

The ACCS should certainly not be used in place of a modern commentary which engages in grammatico-historical exegesis of the text. Rather, I see it as a helpful counterbalance to such commentaries. Exegetes can easily get so lost in grammatical details and historical background information that they begin to miss the forest for the trees. I see the ACCS as a helpful antidote to that.

By the way, my statement about "chronological snobbery" was not meant to imply that we need to turn back the clock with respect to exegetical methods. Sound Biblical exegesis certainly moved forward in the sixteenth, eighteenth, and twentieth centuries, and it would be foolish to ignore such advances. Yet it would be equally foolish to throw out the baby with the bath water and ignore the contributions of earlier exegetes.

Fundamentalists are often just as guilty of such chronological snobbery as exegetes on the other end of the theological spectrum. The ACCS is likely to make people at both extremes uncomfortable. Its editors certainly do not strike me as being driven by a fundamentalist impulse.

If someone were to ask me which commentary they should get if they could only buy one, the ACCS would certainly not be the one I would recommend. But I do think it has its place, and I'm excited to have it available for Accordance.
Sincerely,
David Lang
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#4 AlejandroBotta

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 11:11 PM

Mr. Lang,

I certainly agree with you that having the ACCS in Accordance is indeed a very good thing. My post might have seemed too critic of the ACSS. -Sometimes I am guilty of not checking my Argentinean-Tango approach (all glasses are half empty! :D and I will buy it sooner or later. I still think, though, that Rashi and Ibn Ezra commentaries would be more useful to the moder reader than the Church Fathers.

But let me express a concern from a scholarly point of view. When you examine the availability of research tools in the are of Biblical Studies, you will find that most (if not all) of them are written from a pre-modern approach to the Scriptures. This has a considerable impact in what students and pastors use to learn and preach. The United States is a very peculiar niche for Christian religious fundamentalism that continuously tries to impose on us -scholars- the results of a its medieval contubernium between faith and science/research. Accordance is somehow victim of these efforts when, for example in the Timeline you have a "Conservative" chronology that portrays the patriarchal narratives as historical, or dates the book of Isaiah in the VIII Century BCE, facts hardly accepted by any scholar today -perhaps you should label it pre-critical or just "biblical." Or, for example, when lists the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy" -a pretty much sectarian USian document- along the universal historical creeds of the Church.

I welcomed the addition of Anchor Bible Dictionary to Accordance, almost the only scholarly tool that presents the results of modern Biblical scholarship without religious censorship, but, it seems that is an isolated case. The Anchor Bible commentaries, Interpretation, or the Old Testament Library would make nice companions to the lonely ABD. In addition, have you realized that the rest of the world uses the Theologisches Begriffslexikon zum Neuen Testament, edited by Lothar Coenen, Erich Beyreuther and Hans Bietenhard “in translation” while in the US we have it “translated, with additions and revisions” from an confessional perspective, as the Accordance review clearly states:

“NIDNTT was translated and edited in English by evangelicals. If there is a conclusion in the original German work which is incompatible with a high view of inspired Scripture, there will often be an additional note by Colin Brown which suggests an alternate possibility.” Reviewd by John H. Fish III in the Accordance site.

Juts a few late-night thoughts…. I relly appreciate the work you do providing us with such valuable tools for our teaching and research -you see, this time I checked my Argentinean-Tango approach :)

Alejandro
Alejandro F. Botta, Ph.D. 745 Commonwealth Ave., Box 371
Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible Boston, MA 02215-1401
Boston University School of Theology http://www.bu.edu/st...taff/botta.html

Tel. 617-353-3063
Fax 617-353-3061

#5 Helen Brown

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 08:22 AM

Alejandro:

I think it is time to remind everyone of our Forum guidelines which state:

Discussion of Biblical interpretation, points of theology, and personal beliefs is inappropriate for this board.

We are getting a little too close for comfort to that line.

I agree with you that Anchor Bible Dictionary is probably the Accordance tool that presents the most diverse scholarship, but the articles vary greatly with the viewpoint of the writer. We would love to have more scholarly tools that reflect good modern scholarship of every variety, and we do our best to acquire them. We offer what we have been able to obtain so far, and we are pursuing licenses for many other materials with the publishers.

On the Timeline, you do not mention that we also offer a Critical chronology in place of the Conservative one. There are as many date systems as there are scholars, there was no way we could accommodate them all. ;)
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#6 Tom

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 12:35 PM

Could someone clarify what the difference between the ACCS offered by CBD at this link:

http://www.christian...CN&item_code=WW

and the one offered by Accordance? Is yours designed to work with the software and the other not? Or are both the same?

Thanks,
Tom
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#7 Robb Brunansky

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 12:59 PM

I believe it's the same as the one listed at amazon.com (http://www.amazon.co...5Fencoding=UTF8) which is the Accordance module. There should be no difference between the one on CBD and the one offered by Oak Tree if Amazon's information is accurate. If you search for the ISBN listed on CBD's site at amazon.com, Amazon.com will take you to the link I pasted above.

SDG,
Robb Brunansky

Edited by Robb Brunansky, 02 March 2006 - 01:00 PM.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Robb Brunansky

#8 Helen Brown

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 01:05 PM

There is only one Mac version of the ACCS, and it comes from us and works with Accordance. No-one else has the product yet, but I guess Inter Varsity Press already promoted it to CBD. Of course, we prefer that you buy from us directly. Just be sure to get the Mac version, if you want it to work with Accordance.

The Amazon link is rather garbled, I don't know what you'll be getting there.

We will match other published prices if you ask us.

Edited by Helen Brown, 02 March 2006 - 02:24 PM.

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#9 Tom

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 01:31 PM

OK, thanks for the clarification. There is definitely a difference when it comes to price between the CBD version and the Amazon version!

Here is my question (forgive me for my stupidity): why do we have to pay more for this product when we are buying it directly from the maker? Does Inter Varsity Press charge you (the maker) more to sell it to the end user than it charges CBD? Doesn't make sense to me.

Tom
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#10 Helen Brown

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 02:46 PM

Tom:

Apple charges full retail for its products, though they are often available elsewhere at a discount. ;)

Seriously, the retail price of ACCS was set by InterVarsity Press who own the copyright, and have obviously invested heavily in the production of this series. They wanted it to match the Windows version. We set the sale price to match theirs as well, because we did not want to undercut them, nor to enter into a price war. We think the 20% discount is quite generous, and the CD-ROM is excellent value for money. We have no control over the prices set by other resellers, who may operate with quite low margins.

We also try to provide good service and often spend considerable effort helping people decide between the different packages. I think of one poor soul who bought the KB-HALOT only (no Bibles) from a discount reseller because she wanted to teach herself Hebrew. Clearly that was not a good choice.
Helen Brown
OakTree Software

#11 AlejandroBotta

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 06:46 PM

Tom,

I strongly suggest that you buy it from Accordance. If you have any trouble with it, you can post a message in this forum at 3 AM, the system pages Helen, she wakes up and answer your questions. CBD or IVP will never do that... :) :)

Alejandro

(The system recognizes where the user bought the module and only pages Helen if you bought it here)
Alejandro F. Botta, Ph.D. 745 Commonwealth Ave., Box 371
Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible Boston, MA 02215-1401
Boston University School of Theology http://www.bu.edu/st...taff/botta.html

Tel. 617-353-3063
Fax 617-353-3061




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