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Commentary-Proverbs (Word Biblical Commentary V22) [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   306
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.75"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
Publisher   Thomas Nelson
ISBN  0849902215  
EAN  9780849902215  

Availability  0 units.

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.

Publishers Description

"Proverbs is the fountainhead of the wisdom movement, providing 'old things and new, ' " explains Dr. Roland E. Murphy. Yet in the field of wisdom studies Proverbs has suffered a certain neglect. Even Dr. Murphy admits that during his career as a scholar he did "almost anything else with wisdom literature except write a commentary on this book."

Drawing upon a distinguished academic career, Dr. Murphy now shares his vast insight into Wisdom Literature in this fresh translation and in-depth discussion.

Dr. Murphy approaches Proverbs as "a collection of collections, ... prefaced by an introduction (chaps. 1-9)." The long poems of chapters 1-9 serve to introduce the collections of short sayings in chapters 10-31, which make up most of the book of Proverbs. With this division the writer accepts "the unproven but likely assumption" that during the postexilic period chapters 1-9 "set the tone" for the mostly preexilic collections in chapters I 0-31.

Murphy cautions his readers to consider the limitations of proverbial sayings. The Israelite sages sought in their optimistic teachings to express "the mystery that surrounds all human action: not only self-knowledge, but knowledge of the mysterious role of God." Much of the wisdom of Proverbs points out the ambiguities of life. Yet the proverbs do not provide the final word; "rather they act as a goad, a prod to further thought."

This treatment of Proverbs will be invaluable to clergy and lay readers who desire a penetrating study of the book. The writer leads us through all the types of proverbs: instructions, exhortations of a parent/teacher, speeches of personified Wisdom, and short sayings.

"Israelite wisdom is more practical than theoretical. It attempts to persuade, cajole, threaten, of command a particular attitude or course of action . . . . When the sage says 'listen, ' 'hear, ' the meaning is 'obey.' " Roland Murphy, in this new commentary, helps us uncover this practical message of Proverbs.

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More About Roland Edmund Murphy

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Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm., (deceased 2002) was George Washington Ivey Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies of Duke University and adjunct at the Washington Theological Union. He was coeditor of the "New Jerome Biblical Commentary, " and wrote numerous articles, books, and commentaries.

Roland E. Murphy currently resides in the state of North Carolina. Roland E. Murphy has an academic affiliation as follows - Emeritus, The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC Duke Univer.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Much too brief  Apr 26, 2005
The major part of Proverbs consists of (quite) independent maxims, many covering only one verse. The only way to comment them is to expound the full mening of each one of them, or at least write longer treatments on all of the themes. The reader wants to know fully that the single proverb implies. Any commentary achieving less that this can hardly be called good. Most commentaries do fail in this way (often due to the series' format), and are thus deficient. This goes for Murphy's commentary too. Commenting Proverbs in this way would demand many pages, but the book is 31 chapters long, you know.
Great scholarship, but disappointing commentary  Jan 15, 2005
Of all the books of the Bible, Proverbs is probably the one book I turn to most frequently (there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, no more than 31 days in a month--perfect devotional reading). However, while I read Proverbs with frequency, this is my first commentary on the book, and I must express my disappointment in Murphy's treatment of it.

To be sure, Roland Murphy, a professor of Biblical Studies at Duke University, had a tremendously difficult task in preparing a commentary on such a Biblical book: not only are most of the chapters disjoined and unconnected, but many of the verses seem unrelated to the surrounding verses; context is nearly impossible to ascertain, etc. Murphy is to be commended for researching and presenting the connections and threads which are woven throughout the Biblical book, frequently having to reach both forward and backward to make connections. He effectively argues that the person who put the final form of Proverbs together didn't do it as haphazzardly as modern man often thinks. Furthermore, Murphy's translation and explanation of the individual proverbs were found beneficial for this reader. The final 50 pages of excursuses also provided a helpful, holistic treatment of various topics.

However, I tend to disagree with many of the theological assumptions that Murphy brings to Proverbs and as a result, have found much in the commentary that I disagree with. (1) On pages 276-277, Murphy argues for religious pluralism in the book of Proverbs; (2) throughout the book, he argues that Israelite wisdom is dependant upon Egyptian wisdom (as opposed to a high view of Scripture which does not deny the connection but at the same time tends not to elevate the Egyptian worldview); (3)Murphy holds on to the belief that Ancient Israelites did not believe in an afterlife(making the theology of many proverbs suspect); (4)and Jesus Christ is kept to a minimum in this commentary (mentioned only three times in passing to dismiss the idea that "Woman Wisdom" in Proverbs 8 and the "Son of God" in Proverbs 30 referrs to Christ). While Murphy is definately not a theological liberal (he argues against some liberal arguments), his moderate attitude does tend to lead to many doubtful conclusions.

While there is much to commend in Murphy's well-researched, scholarly, thorough commentary. Furthermore, he is to be doubly commended because of the difficult nature of the book of Proverbs. However, I cannot recommend this book because Murphy approaches the text with a lower view of Scripture than is helpful, and holds on to too many ideas which run counter to Orthodox Christianity.
Among the Best in Print for Proverbs  Apr 11, 2001
This reviewer is no expert; neither is he knowledgeable in ancient Hebrew. So this make his review more suited for the layperson instead of the pastor. He has, nonetheless, decided to write a review because he likes this commentary.

The author, Roland Murphy, is a scholar in his own right and is well known, having published a commentary on Ecclesiastes.

This commentary provides its own translation, which makes comparing the text to known Bible versions interesting and helpful. Murphy's translation is at times wooden: Murphy tried to follow the form of the text more than other translations. Thus, his translation does add value and makes reading the text strikingly new. Not only is the feel closer to the original tongue (from what I can gather) but it also has more assonance and alliteration of the ancient Hebrew.

Concerning his commentary, Murphy's detailed discussions are remarkable and his comments are most helpful and filled with insight.

To give you a taste of his translation style, below are two well-known Proverbs in the traditional text followed by Murphy's translation. For Proverbs 16:18, Murphy's beliefs on translation come through are quite clearly.

Proverbs 15:1

Traditional: A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Murphy: A soft answer turns back wrath, but a sharp tongue stirs up anger.

Proverbs 16:18

Traditional: Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Murphy: Before a collapse, pride, and before stumbling, haughtiness of spirit.


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