vrijdag 1 februari 2013

Review of: Gerard L. Keown, Pamela Scalise & Thomas G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC27), Word Books, 1995

Gerard L. Keown, Pamela Scalise & Thomas G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC27), Word Books, 1995

Review in: Irish Theological Quarterly 1998 63: 404
Review door: Brendan McCconvery
Gevonden op: http://itq.sagepub.com/content/63/4/404.full.pdf+html

The Word Bible Commentary. Word Books, Dallas Texas, Vol. 27: Jeremiah 26-52. By Gerard L. Keown. Pamela Scalise and Thomas G. Smothers, 1995. ISBN 0-8499-0226-6. No price given.

The Word Bible Commentary is now more than twenty years a-growing. Most multivolume commentaries are a mixed bag, and some individual volumes in this series have established themselves as fine examples of responsible Evangelical scholarship, combining careful attention to the meaning of the original text with a concern to make the results of faith-driven exegesis available for use in the pulpit. Familiarity makes one appreciative of their strengths, particularly the very clear layout of the ’house style’ which, following the general introduction, presents first an up-to-date bibliography on each pericope, then in turn a new translation with notes on variants and grammatical problems in the original Greek or Hebrew, a section on form/structure/setting, a detailed verse by verse commentary and a  concluding ’explanation’, usually homiletic or expository in tone.

A commentary project on a scale such as this requires inevitably a life-time for its completion: indeed, it seems to be almost a rule of fate that more than one author to whom volumes are assigned will not live to see their work completed. Thus, Peter Craigie completed one volume of a projected three on Psalms and had begun work on his commentary on Jeremiah before his death at the early age of fifty. The remainder of the work on the Jeremiah commentary was assigned to five of his colleagues. The second part which is reviewed here is the work of three of them. Team-production of a commentary on an individual book can present a formidable challenge, as the members of the team can scarcely be expected to share precisely the same convictions about the final form of the text or about the significance of the individual pericope. The Book of Jeremiah is replete with such difficulties, but the authors of this volume do not register any fundamental disagreement with the understanding of the book set out in the introduction to the first volume (1991), which was substantially Craigie’s work. The remaining part of the book has been divided into three reasonably self-contained units: chapters 26 to 34 are the work of Scalise, 35 to 45 of Keown and 36 to 51 of Smothers. The authors work with the Massoretic Text as it appears in the Biblica Hebraica (Stuttgart), and do not resort to any reissue-arrangement of the text. Discerning the overall design of Jeremiah is a problem. Some of the discrete sections which are treated in this volume benefit from the authors’ application of literary and compositional analysis, and the results are helpful. The result is a fairly conservative treatment of Jeremiah, which will be helpful to teachers and post-graduate students, particularly when read against some of the more radical recent approaches to the book which have recently been in vogue.


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