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Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: James, 1-2 Peter, Jude [Paperback]

By R. A. Martin (Author)
Our Price $ 20.26  
Item Number 142476  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.78" Width: 5.31" Height: 0.62"
Weight:   0.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 1982
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0806619376  
EAN  9780806619378  

Availability  123 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 02:16.
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Item Description...
The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > New Testament   [2808  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Best of three Commentaries. Buy It.  Mar 6, 2007
`The Epistle of James' by James B. Adamson, 1976, 227 pages in the series The New International Commentary on the New Testament; `The Letter of James' by Douglas J. Moo, 2000, 271 pages, a volume in the series The Pillar New Testament Commentary; and `James' by Ralph P. Martin, 1988, 240 pages, A volume in the series Word Biblical Commentary are all `full featured' and recent commentaries on the first of the short `catholic' epistles in the New Testament.

I find it amazing how different the material is in these three volumes. After 1800 years of commentary, one would expect a fair amount of uniformity in thinking about this short letter, but there is a remarkable range of differences in emphasis among the three.

Those of you who are familiar with the world of biblical commentary will recognize that all three are part of major series of commentaries. Adamson and Moo belong to series dedicated to the New Testament, while Martin's volume is an offering of a larger series on both Old and New Testaments. And, each volume is organized in a way to match the editorial style of their series. This is most clearly seen in Martin's volume, as his work is organized in virtually the same way as the much larger work on Paul's Epistle to the Romans by the distinguished scholar, James D. G. Dunn. This is no surprise, as Martin is the New Testament editor for his series, the Word Biblical Commentary.

Ranked by scholarly detail, Martin has the most and Adamson has the least, with Moo somewhere in between; but don't take from this that Martin is heavy on the Greek and Adamson has no original Greek. All three are specifically written for the scholar and assume that the reader either knows classical Greek or is willing to slog through all the Greek words and expressions. The irony here is that while Martin is the most heavily scholarly, it may also be the most accessible to the lay or strictly pastoral user, since this series divides scholarly observations into the `Comments' on each paragraph, while more general thoughts are spelled out in straight English in the `Form/Structure/Setting' section and later in the `Explanation' section following the `Comments'. Adamson organizes all his `special' or more technical topics in `Excursus' sections following his main commentary. I found this just a tad distracting, especially when I discovered some mistakes in references to these Excursus sections in the main text.

All three authors give us their own translations of the text, and all three agree on where the difficult phrases are to be found. If I were to pick a volume purely on the basis of their translation, I would prefer Adamson, as he seems to give translations that best resolve these difficult sections. But, in all three cases, the authors agree on where the difficulties lie and, in general, the nature of the difficulties.

In the three authors' introductory chapter on the author, themes, and canonical status of the letter, all three agree on the major points. They uniformly agree, for example on the belief that the letter does, in fact, represent the thoughts or writings of James, the brother of Jesus, who was head of the Christian Jews in Jerusalem up to about 62 CE. They also agree that the final form of the letter was rewritten and polished sometime in the early 2nd century, CE. The authors are also uniform in their citing Martin Luther's misunderstanding of James; however, I would give Luther credit for seeing scriptural support of many Roman Catholic doctrines, even if any sound reading of `James' shows that this support is probably stretching James points just a little too far.

On the major themes of the letter, I generally prefer Martin's emphasis on the three topics of `Wisdom', `Perfection', and `The Piety of the Poor' to the other authors' interest in theology and the law. James is clearly spending less times on these typically Pauline topics than he is on lessons for a Christian life.

Among all the other differences, it is most remarkable to see all the differences between how the three authors structure an outline of the short letter. If you didn't know better, you may think they were talking about two different writings. This is just a symptom of the fact that `James' is much less a theological argument a la `Romans' and much more a collection of lessons on prayer, right Christian behavior, and the implications of faith. This is consistent with the fact that the letter has much in common with the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Matthew (See Martin).

One last difference I detect between the three is the fact that Martin makes more connections to modern theology of, for example Dietrich Bonhoffer, while Moo and Adamson have more citations to the great reformers, Calvin and Luther.

If I had to pick only one of these, I would go with Martin's volume in the Word Biblical Commentary series. If I were interested only in pastoral interpretation, I would go with Moo or the article `The Letter of James' by Luke Timothy Johnson in `The New Interpreter's Bible', since both refer heavily to the standard NIV and NRSV translations. If your interest is in a scholarly study of the letter, you will probably want all three.

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