on 17 November 2008
The Gospel of Luke presents scholars with a fund of information, purporting to record key elements of the life of Jesus of Nazareth and contains much debated `verba christ' therein, too. It is perhaps the most `human' of the various Biblical depictions of the Galilean and - when one considers the fabulous presentations of the Christ within the Fourth Gospel and other proto-Gnostic and even Gnostic non-canonical works, then one might even suppose that Luke's is a Gospel tinged with at least a degree of realism.
My edition of this Commentary dates from, 1990, so certain points may differ from more recent versions. As with the majority of this well respected series of Biblical studies, this one "Attempts to set out the main findings of recent New Testament scholarship and to describe the historical background to the text. The main theological content of the New Testament will also be critically discussed." Like all the books in this series, it is closely associated on the text of the New English Bible, but is still applicable for students using other, and more modern versions, or even those seeking to exposit the Greek text.
This volume in the Cambridge Bible Commentaries series was penned by Ernest John Tinsley, former Professor of Theology at Leeds and later Bishop of Bristol. Tinsley wrote other works, including more `spiritual, devotional and homiletic' ones such as `The Imitation of God in Christ: An essay on the Biblical basis of Christian Spirituality', (1960). The text is pedestrian but reasonably thorough.
The Cambridge Bible Commentary can still be considered to be a benchmark for sound scholarship, thorough introductions which introduce the reader to the pertinent historical, critical and even (on occasions) the socio-political issues of the day. Clearly, each volume will differ according to the priorities and particular academic specialties and interests of the author of that particular work yet, taken as a whole, the series tends to present the views which have gained currency within the mainstream of Biblical Scholarship and is rarely, if indeed ever, a platform for what may be described as either extremist or fringe standpoints.
The presentation of the material is always clear and well-delineated. One of the features of this series is that, because of the basic simplicity of its design and its treatment of individual verses, passages and topics, it is suitable for use within the school, church (as a Bible study resource) or even the home as a self-study guide.
Michael Calum Jacques