The Value (and not so much) of the Anchor Bible

The Value (and not so much) of the Anchor Bible

At this point I’m nearly half way through my study through 2 Corinthians with Victor Paul Furnish’s Anchor Bible Commentary, on which I made introductory comments earlier.

This note is not so much about 2 Corinthians as about the series in general, and especially some of the newer volumes. I absolutely don’t recommend this series to preachers. They are good and detailed, though often involving leading edge rather than well established scholarship, but they are so detailed that it is very hard to get to the point. A scholar preparing for a lecture to a seminary class on a passage wants this kind of detail. Few preachers that I know would like it.

Note that “half way through” means page 252 of 588, and I’m just into chapter 4. I find it necessary to have my Greek testament open to the passage throughout because it’s hard to remember what word or phrase I was reading about last by the time I get to the next comment.

At the same time, the level of thoroughness is something I welcome, that linguistic and textual issues are covered in great detail, and that the commentary on critical theories regarding the book is good. If you are willing to wade through the extensive other content, there are some useful theological applications as well. It’s just that if you want to really get the value, you have to dedicated hours to a few verses, and that’s rarely possible for sermon or Sunday School lesson preparation.

This volume, and the whole series are extremely useful, but you need to keep your purpose in mind.

6 thoughts on “The Value (and not so much) of the Anchor Bible

  1. Yes, and is doubtless where I’m going next. But I’m not a pastor!

    Of course, I’m sure there are a few pastors who can benefit from that level of detail, just not the vast majority of those I’ve met. They’re not stupid by any means. They just have different priorities.

  2. Indeed – my father has been pastoring for 30 years – he uses the NIGTC with much benefit. But I know that his schedule is full from counseling, church management, etc – and also working on his diss.

  3. One of the best ways to avoid getting bogged down in details is to employ the search capabilities of an electronic version the ability to hyperlink from Scripture references to the Greek text and English translations. This is a far more useful way to use the Anchor Yale commentaries for preaching.

    You might be interested in a new, electronic edition of the Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries from Logos Bible Software. It’s much easier to use than print versions, and about $2,500 cheaper.

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.