In a few days, we’ll be shipping the newest Word Biblical Commentary Upgrade (3 vols.), which contains entirely new editions of existent volumes in the WBC series. Why bother upgrading? Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians.
Ralph P. Martin’s new edition of 2 Corinthians is warmly welcomed, as it’s been nearly 30 years since the first edition hit bookstores and libraries. After all these years, an update keeps the WBC relevant, fresh, and among the highest class of scholarly commentary available.
At first glance, you’ll notice that the bibliographies preceding each section have doubled in size to encompass new scholarship since 1985. Not only does he consult commentaries that were published in the time since 2 Corinthians’ first publication, but Martin even refers to additional commentaries and articles published before 1985 which he missed the first time through.
Further, when discussing any amount of Greek text, the new edition now contains a translation for every Greek word pulled out of the manuscript it cites. Typos existent in the 1985 edition have been corrected. Martin and the editors have done a thorough job of tightening up the commentary and increasing its precise use of language to convey ideas.
Throughout the commentary, Martin expands the discussion of the text with new developments in theological interpretation. For example, here is a sample of commentary from the first edition in 2 Corinthians 5:
Compare this with the updated commentary in the same section:
As you can see, the editors have moved the references of his quotations into footnotes to open up its readability, as well as expanded the section by citing a major study on 2 Corinthians written by Fredrik Lindgård in 2005.
Further down, in the new edition, we’re given an entirely new excursus on the theme of Resurrection in both 1 and 2 Corinthians (written by Carl N. Toney, who co-authored a volume on 2 Corinthians with Ralph Martin in another commentary series). Skimming past its extensive bibliography, check out the beginning of the excursus:
This excursus continues for five more pages before resuming where the first edition left off. Toney concludes that Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5, as well as in 1 Corinthians 15, speaks of the same kind of resurrection—a Jewish expectation for embodied salvation. The passage in 2 Corinthians isn’t a restatement of the 1 Corinthians passage, however. Paul makes the case for the sake of imparting emphasis on the bodily saving power of Christ—making Christ’s resurrection more personal to the readers at Corinth.
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