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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... But for any serious biblical scholar, preacher, student, or enthusiast, they are invaluable.
The seventh volume of the New Interpreter's Bible is the volume that introduces the Apocalytic tradition in the Hebrew Scriptures. After an introductory essay concerning Apocalyptic Literature, the volume continues with the books of the major prophet Daniel, the apocryphal additions of Daniel, and the so-called twelve Minor Prophets, and so concludes the Hebrew Scripture/Old Testament section of the series.
In his introductory general article on Apocalyptic Literature, Frederick Murphy of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, looks at the ideas behind Apocalyptic and Revelation traditions. There is more than one strand of tradition in such thinking, and Murphy approaches the task by looking at origins, commonalities, and the differences contained in the writings, both canonical and extracanonical. Murphy devotes some time to looking at texts beyond the scope of the NIB (those writings, such as the Enoch literature and the Apocalypse of Abraham, which didn't even achieve apocryphal status) to create a broader worldview for the context of biblical Apocalyptic literature.
Each of the books is addressed by a different scholar, each providing commentary and reflection material giving insight into historical interpretation as well as new directions for each of the Minor Prophetic works. Perhaps the best known of the Minor Prophets is Jonah, commentary for which is provided by Phyllis Trible of Union Theological Seminary in New York. Trible writes, `The book of Jonah does not disclose its purpose, and speculation has not secured it. This uncertainty matches the meager knowledge about its origin, date, composition, genre, and setting. Nonetheless, the book offers an abundance of literary treasures, theological complexities, and hermeneutical possibilities.'
The additions to Daniel are called apocryphal because their status is not canonically clear within the Christian tradition. They are not contained in the official canon of the Hebrew scripture, and so Protestant tradition has tended to leave the books out of the Old Testament. However, these texts were included in the Septuagint, the primary Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures in the ancient world, and so the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches consider the texts canonical.
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