Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Commentary Is Done

Last week, I finished the manuscript for my commentary on Philemon and the Pastoral Epistles, and mailed that sucker off to Smyth & Helwys. The title of the book will be Reading Paul's Letters to Individuals: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Letters to Philemon, Titus, and Timothy.

This commentary has an interesting history. Three senior Southern Baptist NT scholars were supposed to write the commentary. The first two had to withdraw from the project, for a variety of reasons. The third, Hulitt Gloer, wrote a manuscript but was unable to finish it due to health problems. So in January, Charles H. Talbert (the editor of the series and my doctorfather at Baylor University) asked me if I could complete the project. So I did.

This commentary is a scholarly commentary, based on my own research and investigation of primary source literature and cutting edge secondary literature (e.g., Bruce Winter on the new Roman woman; Craig Evans on imperial propaganda; my own work on succession; K. Waters on virtues; etc.)

A few things are unique about the commentary.
  1. First, it's aimed at preachers and undergraduate students. It's scholarly, but not too scholarly for any educated person to read and benefit from it.
  2. It's primary strategy is to read Paul's words and thoughts against what we know about first century thought and philosophy, particularly Jewish thought and philosophy (Philo, Josephus).
  3. The section on the Pastoral Epistles (Titus, 1&2 Timothy) is the first to be written with a historical understanding of succession, and how that phenomenon would have shaped the ancient readers' understanding of what's going on between Paul and Timothy / Titus.
  4. I wrote the commentary with Logos's Libronix Digital Library system up on my computer. That means I had the Greek text and Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich at my fingertips. I also made extensive use of Perseus for word searches. (Now if they'd just make Perseus available for Windoze machines!)
They're telling me that the commentary should be available for sale before SBL in November; that would be great. But honestly, right now I'm just glad to be finished with the thing--at least until the proofs come in the mail somewhere around 1 August.


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