Released today for the Accordance Bible Software Library, the Wisdom Commentary series (currently 16 completed volumes of a projected 58) from Liturgical Press seeks to create greater participation in biblical studies discussions from the viewpoint of women, and specifically from a feminist perspective. The title of the commentary draws its name from “Woman Wisdom” personified especially in books of the Bible like Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon (from the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books).
Although women’s/feminist issues are not the sole focus of the series, the goal is to produce a different viewpoint than what is often seen in other mainstream commentary series, which with a few exceptions are written and edited mostly by men. The Wisdom Commentary becomes “the first series to offer detailed feminist interpretation of every book of the Bible.” The scope of the series covers the Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox canons. The team of editors and writers are described as ecumenical and interreligious and “of many different religious traditions, of diverse ages, differing sexual identities, and varying cultural, racial, ethnic, and social contexts.”
In the Foreword, co-editor Athalya Brenner-Idan describes the distinction of the Wisdom Commentary in this way:
In my Jewish tradition, the main motivation for reciting the Haggadah, the ritual text recited yearly on Passover, the festival of liberation from bondage, is given as “And you shall tell your son” (from Exod 13:8). The knowledge and experience of past generations is thus transferred to the next, for constructing the present and the future. The ancient maxim is, literally, limited to a male audience. This series remolds the maxim into a new inclusive shape, which is of the utmost consequence: “And you shall tell your son” is extended to “And you shall tell your daughter [as well as your son].” Or, if you want, “Tell it on the mountain,” for all to hear.
The series is written with “clergy, teachers, ministers, and all serious students of the Bible” in mind. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible forms the basis of the biblical text used in the Wisdom series.
Wisdom Commentary Series (16 Volumes)
List Price $618.40
Regular Price $549
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We are pleased to announce two new commentary series for the Accordance Library: Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative & Poetry (15 volumes, Old Testament) and Sacra Pagina (18 volumes, New Testament). From Liturgical Press, both of these series incorporate a Catholic perspective, but their appeal is broad enough to be appreciated by members of a wide variety of faith traditions, especially those who enjoy reading different viewpoints.
The name of the series, Berit Olam, is Hebrew for “everlasting covenant.” Aimed a wide audience of all interested in the Bible, be they lay people, professional biblical scholars, students, or religious educators, this series interacts primarily with both the Hebrew text as well as the New Revised Standard Version. Focusing on the final form of the text, Berit Olam emphasizes the literary and narrative aspects of the Old Testament.
How does the approach of Berit Olam make it distinct from many of the other commentary series out there? Jerome T. Walsh explains the literary aspect in his introduction to the volume on 1 Kings:
What is a “narrative” commentary? In other words, what does a literary approach to 1 Kings look for? Most basically, narrative criticism approaches the text as story, irrespective of its referential function as historical record or interpretation. It focuses on categories drawn from the discipline of literary criticism rather than on those of historiography. In order to situate our discussion, we should consider the areas of interest that will occupy us in this commentary. Occasionally this will involve some technical vocabulary.
The authors reflect a variety of religious traditions, professional backgrounds, and theoretical approaches. Yet they share a common desire to make available to all of God’s people the words of the everlasting covenant in all of their beauty.
Accordance developers have thoroughly examined the the content of Berit Olam and have applied the following search fields to the text: Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Bibliography, Authors, and Page Numbers. This detailed tagging allows the Accordance user to maneuver through this commentary series quickly and find the exact content needed.
The Latin phrase Sacra Pagina means “sacred page.” Such a designation applies to this commentary because “[i]n the Middle Ages it also described the study of Scripture to which the interpreter brought the tools of grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, and philosophy. Thus Sacra Pagina encompasses both the text to be studied and the activity of interpretation” [Editor’s Preface].
In keeping with the above idea to invite readers to the “sacred page,” the editors and writers of the Sacra Pagina commentary series seek to address the meaning of the New Testament through proven interpretive methods while interacting with religious understandings of the Catholic faith. Written by an international team of scholars, Sacra Pagina is aimed at “biblical professionals, graduate students, theologians, clergy, and religious educators.”
Sections are divided by generally recognized pericopes of Scripture. Each scholar provides his or her own translation based on the Greek New Testament, followed by sections of notes and interpretation. Both Catholic and Protestant readers familiar with biblical studies will recognize names such as Raymond F. Collins and Alan C. Mitchell. Well respected scholar Luke Timothy Johnson writes the volumes on both Luke and Acts.
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As with Berit Olam, Accordance developers have thoroughly examined the the content of Sacra Pagina and have applied the following search fields to the text: Reference, Titles, English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Translation, Manuscripts, Bibliography, Authors, and Page Numbers. This detailed tagging allows the Accordance user to maneuver through this commentary series quickly and find the exact content needed.