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HALL OF FAMEon 22 December 2005
The New Interpreter's Bible is a twelve-volume series, updating the popular Interpreter's Bible from a few decades ago. There are several key features common to all of the volumes of this series. First, each includes a two-column, double translation of the Biblical text (NIV - New International Version, and NRSV - New Revised Standard Version) arranged by topical unit or story. Then, they provide commentaries that look at the passages as a whole, as well as verse-by-verse. Third, interesting Reflection pieces that relate the passages to each other, to history, and to current concerns occur at the conclusion of each passage. Fourth, introductory articles for each book are provided that discuss transmission, historical background, cultural setting, literary concerns, and current scholarship. Finally, there are general articles about the Bible, each Testament, and various types of literature (Narrative, Gospel, Wisdom Literature, etc.) are provided to give general placement and knowledge about the text overall.
The list of contributors, editors, and consultants on the project is a veritable Who's Who of biblical and theological scholarship, representing all major traditions and schools of thought liberal and conservative. Leander Keck, of the Yale Divinity School, is the primary editor of the series.
The volumes were published individually, and can be purchased individually, which is a good thing, given that they are a bit expensive. But for any serious biblical scholar, preacher, student, or enthusiast, they are invaluable.
--Volume I--
The first volume of this twelve-volume set naturally has the book of Genesis. However, before getting into the text itself, this volume provides a generous collection of essays and articles. In the General Introduction to the series, editor Leander Keck wrote, `The Bible has its own way of commending itself to those whose careful reading opens understanding. The NIB will have fulfilled its purpose when it helps that happen.'
This first volume is divided into several major sections: (I) the General Introduction to the Series, (II) How We Got Our Bible, (III) How the Bible is Read, Interpreted, and Used, (IV) The Background of the Old Testament Texts, and (V) Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus.
In the second section, `How We Got Our Bible', scholars Daniel Harrington SJ and Keith Crim provide essays on the formation of the canon, and on modern English versions of the Bible. These deal with historical issues as well as translation and transmission issues; there are controversial elements here, and the writers provide a fair appraisal of differing ideas.
In the third section, `How the Bible is Read, Interpreted, and Used', there are thirteen articles that deal with such diverse issues as why the Bible has authority, how the bible is interpreted in Jewish tradition and in Christian tradition, how the Bible is used in preaching, and a series of essays looking at issue of interpretation from specific backgrounds, such as African-American, Native American, Hispanic, and Women's viewpoints.
The fourth section deals specifically with the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures. These articles look at issues of early Jewish religion, Israelite history and culture, the ancient Near East as a whole, and textual issues and variants.
These sections taken as a whole provide a magnificent background to the study of the Bible, making this volume, just for this series of articles, a must-have for any biblical scholar or student. The names of Blenkinsopp, Sanderson, Buttrick, Gonzalez, and Massey should be well known to any serious student of the Bible, and one finds them here as well.
The sections dealing with the first three books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus - illustrate well the method and content of the rest of the series. Each text is dealt with primarily by one author, who provides introductory materials, commentary and reflections. Terence Fretheim, professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary, assumes the task of Genesis. Walter Brueggemann of Columbia Theological Seminary, takes Exodus. Walter Kaiser, Jr., of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, has the task of Leviticus. Each of these scholars brings a strong background of Biblical scholarship, consisting of a host of books on related topics. Their analyses are insightful and useful for individual and group study, preaching, reflection and inspiration.
High praise goes to the general editorial staff for working with such strong authors/scholars, that their work fits together well as part of this set while retaining their individual characteristics (much like the writers of the Bible itself!).
--Other volumes available--
The following is a list of each volume in this twelve-volume set, and the contents of each.
Volume I: General Articles on the Bible; General Articles on the Old Testament; Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus
Volume II: Numbers; Deuteronomy; Introduction to Narrative Literature; Joshua; Judges; Ruth; I & II Samuel
Volume III: I & II Kings; I & II Chronicles; Ezra, Nehemiah; Esther; Additions to Esther; Tobit; Judith
Volume IV: I & II Maccabees; Introduction to Hebrew Poetry; Job; Psalms
Volume V: Introduction to Wisdom Literature; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Song of Songs; Book of Wisdom; Sirach
Volume VI: Introduction to Prophetic Literature; Isaiah; Jeremiah; Baruch; Letter of Jeremiah; Lamentations; Ezekiel
Volume VII: Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature; Daniel; Additions to Daniel; Hosea; Joel; Amos; Obadiah; Johan; Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah; Haggai; Zechariah; Malachi
Volume VIII: General Articles on the New Testament; Matthew; Mark
Volume IX: Luke; John
Volume X: Acts; Introduction to Epistolary Literature; Romans, I Corinthians
Volume XI: II Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; I & II Thessalonians; I & II Timothy; Titus; Philemon
Volume XII: Hebrews; James; I & II Peter; I, II & III John; Jude; Revelation
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on 7 April 2014
I am gradually collecting the set of these volumes and bought this one as there were a number of Lectionary readings from Genesis a few weeks back. The presentation of the volume is stunning - it is the only one of my theology books that I have not 'marked up' in any way as any notes or underlining would spoil the beauty of the book. The size and weight of the volume seems to emphasise the spiritual 'weight' of its contents. It is easy to find your way around and the commentary section is full of profound insights on the text. The Reflections section is excellent too - in fact, many of my sermons have been directly inspired by the NIB reflections on a passage (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course!). The introductory articles are very useful and give clear, accurate pictures of the contexts within which each scripture is set. The only downside is there are 12 large and expensive volumes in the set, but I think they are an investment in supporting any ministry. Ordinands - get your spouse/partner/mum/dad/granny etc to buy you one volume each as an ordination present or give you one volume at a time as Christmas/birthday/anniversary presents throughout your training. That way, you will have the full set as you embark on ministry and this will stand you in very good stead.
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A truly excellent volume, especially Fretheim's commentary on Genesis which is exceptional. I have found several of Fretheim's books to be helpful, but this commentary stands out for its academic rigour coupled with its readability. The commentary also contains parallel readings from the NIV and NRSV. Also Brueggemann offers his commentary on Exodus and Kaiser on Leviticus.
I am inclined to buy more from this series on the basis of this sample.
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on 10 January 1999
I can't believe that no one has written an online review of this book yet! The NIB is the best Bible commentary written. If you are serious about scholarly study of the Bible, you need to buy the entire series. It is expensive to buy 12 volumes at $60-70 each, even if you save 30% through like I did ;). In that case, check with your church or library. As a fall-back try Harper's or Jerome's for single volume commentaries. If at all possible, buy the NIB. Forget the earlier version of the IB.
The NIB is the definitive standard for serious Bible scholarship.
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