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Judges (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) [Paperback]

By Mr. Robert G. Boling (Author)
Our Price $ 34.00  
Retail Value $ 40.00  
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Item Number 91219  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   360
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.03" Height: 0.84"
Weight:   1.14 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2005
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300139454  
EAN  9780300139457  

Availability  0 units.

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Item Description...
"Judges" records the birth pangs of the Israelite nation. From the Conquest to the Settlement, the conflicts in this book (military, political, and religious) reveal a nascent Israel, struggling to define itself as a people.
The period of the Judges, c. 1200-1100 B.C.E., was fraught with intertribal struggles, skirmishes and pitched battles with neighboring peoples, and the constant threat of assimilation. The Israelites repeatedly turned away from their God: ignored his commandments, worshiped other gods, and continually sinned. Yahweh raised up judges to lead the people back to covenant faithfulness. In their several roles as priest, prophet, and military chief of staff, these judges heeded God's call and led the people. In the Book of Judges, we get rare glimpses into the exceptional qualities and human frailties of these leaders. The approachable stories, the humor, and even the criticism of the children of Israel and the judges surprisingly illuminate a people in transition.
Boling's in-depth introduction and commentary explain the historical background, the sociocultural and religious milieu, and the literary complexities of the book. His fresh translation draws the modern reader into the dynamic stories while conveying the nuance of the Hebrew text.

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More About Mr. Robert G. Boling

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament   [0  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Between Patriarchs, Heroes and Kings.......County Commissioners  Jun 11, 2007
To understand the difficulties facing the biblical commentator of the Book of Judges, it is necessary to briefly critique the text itself, as presumptuous as that may sound. One fears rumbles of thunder at any misstep and yet it cannot be denied that Judges presents challenges to the lay reader who has begun a journey through the Hebrew Scripture. The work suffers from its place in Biblical history, both in terms of what it conveys and what precedes and proceeds it.

Judges finds itself in a squeeze between the great Patriarchs/Moses/Joshua narrative of the first six books of the canon, and the Samuel/Kings/Chronicles epoch that will follow. The works preceding Judges are dominated by great heroic figures that carry the day by action or narrative. Abraham, Moses and Joshua are in regular communion with Yahweh. The books after Judges are prominent for detailing famous men who also conversed with Yahweh, this time through the advocacy of priests and prophets. In addition, the establishment of the kingship and the permanent establishment of Israel's sacred space, the Temple, give later books a practical and spiritual grounding.

Judges, by contrast, portrays a two century span of disarray, a profound break from what went before and what will follow. There are few commanding interventions by Yahweh and priestly influence in the text is nil. A dozen leaders, with varying degrees of success as well as some profound failures, suffer the misfortune of trying to fill the shoes of the Patriarchs, Moses, and Joshua. At best Judges is a prolegomena for the kingly books to follow, a kind of explanation as to why the radical step of a national monarch was the right one to take.

Judges is not without good men [and Deborah, of course] but even the best of them are unsuccessful at achieving universal or lasting political order or religious fidelity. Boling and other commentators do remind us that Judges has immense historical value, in that its sources are primitive and its rendering of the two hundred year period before Saul provide a reliable window into an erratic time of Israelite history. But such benefits are not readily evident to the lay reader, and this is where I have difficulty with our commentary at hand.

The Anchor Bible series of scriptural commentaries was compiled in the 1960's and 1970's with the pronounced intention of making the Scriptures accessible to the "modern reader." Some of the volumes have had a remarkable shelf life, such as the 1966 two-volume Gospel of John by Father Raymond E. Brown. "Judges," however, is not of that stature, in part because of the textual and historical problems cited above.

It is precisely because of these difficulties that the task of commentary demanded either a team of scholars or one commentator who commanded mastery of the theological implications of this work for today's reader, someone who, in addition to mastery of the linguistics, might answer a variety of religious and historical questions. Robert Boling appears to be a competent translator, but his commentary on Judges seems to miss the bigger picture. Modern readers--the targeted audience--are left to wonder, for example, how the very institution of the judgeship emerged, what the office entailed, and by what, if any, religious ritual the office was conferred. Boling comments that the sacred text shows signs of significant editing by a much later redactor, but it is not made clear what themes or principles guided this editing. Redaction criticism has been invaluable to Gospel study, but that method is not expanded upon here to a significant extent.

In assessing this work it is fair to point out that this commentary was published in 1975, or 32 years ago as of this writing. [There is confusion raised by a 1995 dating at the book's website; my "new" copy is clearly a 1975 work.] As is to be expected, the source material is a bit dated and somewhat limited, though classic Hebrew Scripture scholars such as Albright, Mendenhall, and von Rad are consulted. What I did find intriguing was a heavy dependence upon private correspondence between the author and David Noel Freedman, who with William Albright served as general editor of this series. Freedman's conversations and correspondences appear in many citations. Freedman remains a prolific scholar of the Hebrew canon, though only one of his works is actually cited in this text. One gets the sense that the latter had a strong but understated influence upon the final text. Another oft-cited source is Mitchell Dahood's commentary on the Psalms, another volume of the Anchor series published a few years earlier.

Given the vintage of this commentary, one's first instincts might be to check for later works on Judges, but in truth the market has not been flooded with commentaries on this complicated work since 1975; the most prominent currently available is probably Mark Brettler's recent [and somewhat pricey] treatment of Judges. The fact that Boling's commentary remains on the market indicates that it retains usefulness to the current day and that Judges, enigmatic as it is, apparently gives many authors pause.
A Wonderful, yet advanced, commentary  Mar 18, 2004
This was my first experience with the anchor bible series.
The author does a wonderful job of explaining the text and plot from an academic and historical point of view.
I gained many insights which I would have missed if I had just read the "traditional" rabbinic commentaries.
The reason I only gave the book four stars is because I do not believe that it truly lives up to the anchor series's standard of being readable to the "layman". On the contrary, if it were not for my knowledge of Hebrew and my familiarity with biblical criticism and ancient israelite history, I would have been totally lost. As it was, the commentary was hard enough and the introduction was basically unreadable.
However it definetely was challenging and rewarding. There is one episode (7:5-6)where Gideon chooses soldiers based on how they drink water from a pool. The verses in the hebrew bible (and I assume the King James version) are totally ambiguous. Using the septuagant and some crafty problem solving, the author fills in the missing words to render the verses totally comprehensable. Without the anchor, those verses would remain a mystery.
Higher criticism  Feb 27, 2001
The introduction written by William F. Albright states this book has "interfaith scope." "Not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine." The author does not believe in plenary, inerrant inspiration of Scripture. He deals only with the grammatical intrepretation of original languages. No homiletical value. Dry as dust. I wish I knew this before I bought it

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