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Reading the New Testament Commentary (12 vols.)
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Overview

Reading the New Testament Commentary series aspires to present cutting edge research in a way that is accessible to upper-level undergraduates, seminarians, seminary educated pastors, and educated laypeople, as well as to graduate students and professors.

Rather than following the verse-by-verse method of traditional commentaries, these volumes study section-by-section, concentrating on key concepts and how they are developed. Each commentary takes a more literary-theological slant while focusing on a close reading of the final form or structure of the text. The aim is to make one feel at home in the biblical text itself.

The approach of these commentaries involves a concern both for how the biblical author communicates and what the religious point of the text is. Care is taken to relate both the how and the what of the text to its milieu: Christian, Jewish, and Greco-Roman. This enables both the communication strategies and the religious message of the text to be clarified over against a range of historical and cultural possibilities. Throughout, the basic concern is to treat the New Testament texts as religious documents whose religious message needs to be set forth with compelling clarity.

Key Features

  • Section-by-section commentary on key concepts
  • Literary-theological tone while focusing on the final structure of the text
  • Ideal for students, pastors, and professors

Individual Titles

Reading Matthew

  • Author: David E. Garland
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 273

David Garland’s commentary provides thorough guidance through Matthew’s story of Jesus, revealing the movement of the story’s plot while highlighting Matthew’s theology. The gospel writer’s intent, besides telling the story of Jesus, is to bolster faith, convince and refute, explain present historical circumstances, to exhort, and to arm for mission. This commentary concentrates on Jesus as the Messiah, His ministry to Israel, and His passion and resurrection.

Garland's Reading Matthew is, as of the moment, probably the first commentary I would recommend to a serious undergraduate student or seminarian interested in learning what modern scholarship now does with Matthew.

—Dale C. Allison Jr., Interpretation

Garland’s commentary is a thorough, reliable, and eminently readable guide to Matthew’s Gospel… presented with exceptional clarity and frequently spiced with lively turns of phrase.

—F. Scott Spencer, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

David Garland received an M.Div. and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he served on the Southern faculty for 21 years. He is William B. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures and the Dean for academic affairs at George W. Truett Seminary, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

Reading Mark

  • Author: Sharyn Dowd
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 171

Sharyn Dowd examines the Gospel of Mark from literary and theological perspectives, suggesting what the text may have meant to its first-century audience of Gentile and Jewish Christians. Dowd sees the gospel of Mark as a Greco-Roman biography written in an apocalyptic mode, its theology based on the message of the prophet Isaiah—the proclamation of release from bondage and a march toward freedom along the “way of the Lord.”

Though Sharyn Dowd’s Reading Mark admirably lives up to its subtitle, A Literary and Theological Commentary, it also shows surprising strength—especially for a commentary of limited length—in Jewish and especially Greco-Roman cultural background. Dowd puts this information to excellent interpretive use. Nor does she disappoint in tracing the flow of Mark’s narrative and bringing to light his concentric and chiastic arrangements of material. Regardless of one’s agreement or disagreement with her interpretation, Reading Mark not only makes Mark more readable, but also proves itself to be highly readable.

—Robert H. Gundry, Scholar in Residence, Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies, Westmont College

Sharyn Dowd is an associate professor of religion at Baylor University. She received a B.A. from Wake Forest University, an M. Div. from The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Emory University. She served six years on the staff of First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., coordinating inner-city ministry and outreach programs. She taught New Testament and Greek at Lexington Theological Seminary from 1987-1999, and joined the Baylor faculty in 1999. She has contributed to Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, The Women’s Bible Commentary and Mercer Commentary on the Bible, and is the author of Prayer, Power, and the Problem of Suffering.

Reading Luke

  • Author: Charles H. Talbert
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 284

Charles Talbert's effective and insightful commentary enables the reader to grasp the full force of the literary masterpiece that is Luke’s Gospel. Talbert concentrates on Luke’s version of the prophetic nature of Jesus’ life, His anointment by the Holy Spirit and His Galilean ministry, His journey to Jerusalem and His ministry there, and His Martyrdom and Vindication. The author includes two appendixes: one on the fulfillment of prophecy in Luke and Acts, and the other on miracles in Luke and Acts.

Charles Talbert, perhaps the foremost interpreter of Luke-Acts among biblical scholars in the United States, has produced an unusual and highly readable commentary…Reading Luke will reward every serious student of Luke-Acts with an abundance of astute observations and insights.

Faith & Mission

An important work. It brings together in one volume the mature insights of a major North American interpreter of Luke-Acts.

Theological Studies

A brilliant, stimulating and readable study of Luke’s Gospel.

National Catholic Reporter

Charles Talbert is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Baylor University. He is the General Editor for Reading the New Testament Commentary and the author of several other editions in the series. He received a B.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has written many articles, reviews, commentaries and books, including Reading the Sermon on the Mount. He has the distinction of being the only person to serve as president of both the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and the Catholic Biblical Association.

Reading John

  • Author: Charles H. Talbert
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 299

New Testament scholar Charles Talbert’s unique commentary considers the entire scope of the works attributed to John, their literary settings and particularities, and their continuing theological importance to the Christian story. Thoughtful and engaging, Reading John provides throughout a careful analysis of literary structure and development; it addresses the fundamental theological message and context of these works and adds a host of illuminating parallels from both Jewish and Greco-Roman literature. A clear style and a sharpness of precision further make this volume a very attractive addition to Johannine scholarship.

Talbert's commentary maintains the special focus that keeps this series from just rehashing the more thorough classic commentaries. It is an original, very close reading of the final form of the Gospel and Letters of John for their religious content, in light both of ancient Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian writings, and of present-day pastoral concerns...[A] commendable work of mature scholarship.

Theological Studies

It pleases me to see the announcement of a revision of Talbert’s already excellent analysis of John. What impresses me is definitely his close reading of the original text, coming up with fresh and acute insights. He is not content to state the obvious and revisit the commonplace. He finds new light. Dr. Talbert will inform the student and inspire the preacher with perspectives freshly found.

—Peter Rhea Jones, Professor, Preaching and New Testament, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Charles Talbert is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Baylor University. He is the General Editor for Reading the New Testament Commentary and the author of several other editions in the series. He received a B.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has written many articles, reviews, commentaries and books, including Reading the Sermon on the Mount. He has the distinction of being the only person to serve as president of both the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and the Catholic Biblical Association.

Reading Acts

  • Author: Charles H. Talbert
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 263

The approach of this commentary is to ask how ancient Mediterranean auditors would have heard Acts when it was read in their presence. To be successful Talbert divides this approach into two parts: how Acts would have been heard in its precanonical context and in its canonical context. He examines Acts thematically from the perspective of preparing for the church’s Mission to fulfilling the Mission. In the sections of fulfilling the Mission, Talbert concentrates on Pentecost, Philip’s Mission, Peter’s preaching, and Paul’s conversion and missionary journeys. Talbert includes two appendixes, focusing on the historicity of Acts and aspects of biography in Mediterranean antiquity.

Charles Talbert is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Baylor University. He is the General Editor for Reading the New Testament Commentary and the author of several other editions in the series. He received a B.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has written many articles, reviews, commentaries and books, including Reading the Sermon on the Mount. He has the distinction of being the only person to serve as president of both the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and the Catholic Biblical Association.

Reading Romans

  • Author: Luke Timothy Johnson
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 241

The Epistle to the Romans is considered to be the classic of Reformation theology. Luke Johnson, a scholar from the Roman Catholic tradition, invests this commentary with breadth of perspective and clarity of expression. He focuses on understanding the key themes and their relationship to the whole of Pauline writings and the shaping of Christianity.

Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Christians to win their financial support for a new stage in his mission. How could an apostle, unknown by sight to the Roman believers, recommend himself, except by sharing his understanding of how God was at work through the Good News that Paul proclaimed to Jews and Gentiles? The book of Romans starts with a practical goal and becomes a theological masterpiece of great historical importance and of enduring significance to all believers. This fresh reading of Romans pays close attention to Paul’s theological argument as it unfolds.

Johnson shows how Paul understands “righteousness by faith” as the faith of the human person Jesus, how “salvation” means inclusion in God’s people, and how the work of the Holy Spirit transforms human consciousness so that believers can share with each other the faith and the love shown them by Jesus.

Luke Timothy Johnson is the R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Professor Johnson earned his B.A. in Philosophy from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, a Master of Divinity in Theology from Saint Meinrad School of Theology, an M.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University, and his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Yale University. A former Benedictine monk, Johnson has taught at Yale Divinity School and Indiana University. He is the author of more than 20 books, including The Real Jesusand The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, which is used widely as a textbook. He has published a large number of scholarly and popular articles, anthologies, book reviews, and other academic papers and lectures and received several awards for excellence in teaching. He often lectures at universities and seminaries worldwide, where he is widely perceived as the leading conservative scholar on the debates surrounding the Jesus Seminar, taking stances against its view of Jesus.

Reading Corinthians

  • Author: Charles H. Talbert
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 238

Paul's letters to the Christians in Corinth portray a young church struggling to live out the demands of the gospel amid the life of a thoroughly urban setting. Biblical scholar, Charles Talbert helps his reader to grasp what was at stake in the conversations between Paul and the Corinthians. What we find there is not only a word for the struggling faithful in Corinth, but an always truthful word for the church today.

In studying Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Talbert draws our attention to what is said and how it is said. The first letter to the Corinthians is largely deliberative, that is, it aims at producing a decision about future action; whereas the second letter is mainly judicial, in that it seeks to bring about a judgment of past events.

Reading Corinthians makes an excellent companion for those who want to study in a thorough fashion one of the most revealing of Paul's letters.

The Bible Today

Talbert's successful experience as a teacher and pastor provides focus for his commentary so that he fulfills admirably the design of this volume, appealing to the nonspecialist, the informed lay person, the college or seminary student. To these audiences I would heartily recommend Reading Corinthians as a reliable guide to understanding Corinthians.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

This excellent piece of work should be of great value to undergraduates and seminarians as well as pastors and professors.

Religious Studies Review

Charles Talbert is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Baylor University. He is the General Editor for Reading the New Testament Commentary and the author of several other editions in the series. He received a B.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has written many articles, reviews, commentaries and books, including Reading the Sermon on the Mount. He has the distinction of being the only person to serve as president of both the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and the Catholic Biblical Association.

Reading Galatians, Philippians, and 1 Thessalonians

  • Author: Charles B. Cousar
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 235

Charles Cousar interprets three letters of Paul, each of which shows the apostle in a different light. In Galatians, Paul contends for the gospel against a group of Jewish-Christian missionaries who have come into the congregations. In Philippians, Paul addresses his favorite community in intimate terms to offer thanks for a gift they have sent him and to urge them to maintain unity in the face of opposing forces. The first letter to the Thessalonians is written to encourage the congregation in that city to lead lives worthy of the gospel. The commentary traces the movement of the letters, paragraph by paragraph, and pays particular attention to the literary character of the writing and to the theological implications of the text for the church today.

In a day when the scorching heat of overdone and multivolume commentaries wither their readers into exhaustion, Cousar’s commentary offers instead the gentle light that guides readers into pastures of discovery and onto the shores of invigoration. Critically aware and theologically sensitive, this commentary will lead its readers into the best of modern scholarship as well as back to the verities of a former generation. Readers of this commentary will find what the writer wanted of his letters: good news about Jesus Christ!

—Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor, Religious Studies, North Park University

Charles B. Cousar has already established himself as a genuine interpreter of Paul. In Reading Galatians, Philippians, and 1 Thessalonians, he again offers students at all levels a lively, insightful, and lucid guide to Paul and Pauline scholarship. The Reading Series is enhanced by this new edition.

—Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Helen H. P. Mason Professor, New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary

Charles Cousar’s illuminating treatment of these letters will come to the aid of all who look for a clearly written and theologically sensitive approach to these letters. He is abreast of modern issues regarding the Apostle, yet he is able to present his interactions with unobtrusive scholarship.

—Ralph P. Martin, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Fuller Theological Seminary

Charles B. Cousar is the Samuel A. Cartledge Professor of New Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. Cousar, who has made significant contributions to biblical studies, retired from his position at Columbia Theological Seminary where he received the Distinguished Service Award. He is the author of Theology of the Cross, An Introduction to the New Testament and The Letters of Paul.

Reading Colossians, Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians

  • Author: Bonnie Thurston
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 197

This commentary on Colossians, Ephesians, and 2 Thessalonians focuses on comprehending the major themes of the epistles and their relationship to the understanding of the early Christian communities. Centering on the work in its entirety rather than a verse-by-verse methodology, Thurston provides an introduction for each epistle, a commentary and bibliography.

A newer genre of biblical commentary….The result is refreshing, enhanced by arresting chapter headings, citations of…striking parallels from Hellenistic literature, informative notes on the history of interpretation of the text, and selective citations of key scholarly works in the field.

Choice

Bonnie Thurston earned a B.A. degree in English from Bethany College, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. She has written ten theological books and over 100 articles and taught at the university level for 28 years. Her scholarly research interests in the New Testament include the gospels of Mark and John and the Deutero-Pauline canon and, more generally, the history of Christian spirituality and prayer. She was ordained in 1984 and has served as co-pastor, pastor, or interim of five churches and twice in overseas ministries. A spiritual director and retreat speaker, Dr. Thurston recently retired as Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is the author of The Heart’s Land, a book of poems.

Reading Hebrews and James

  • Author: Marie E. Isaacs
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 259

Marie Isaacs’ commentary offers a clear path through the unique and often divisive content. She expertly considers questions of authorship and historical context while also making both Hebrews and James undeniably relevant for today's faith.

Marie E. Isaacs provides valuable and original readings of Hebrews and James that reveal the historical, literary, and religious contexts and messages of the books. Especially productive is her suggestion that Hebrews is written to Jewish Christians who had continued to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem and who were devastated by the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.

—Edgar V. McKnight, Research Professor, William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Religion, Furman University

Brief yet insightful, cautious yet judicious in weighing alternative interpretations, Marie Isaacs leads Christian interpreters to a fresh appreciation for two of the most enigmatic books of the New Testament. Hebrews and James are as vital for Christian instruction today as ever before. Students, pastors, and Bible study groups will find here an engaging guide for further, focused study of these letters.

—Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology

Marie E. Isaacs was head of the Department of Biblical Studies in Heythrop College, London, England. Her publications include The Concept of Spirit and Sacred Space: An Approach to the Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Reading 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter

  • Author: Earl J. Richard
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 394

The commentaries on Peter and Jude underscore the light that these letters shed upon one another and focuses on the snapshots they provide of early Christian communities as they encountered the social and religious environment in which they were situated. Careful reading of 1 Peter reveals the complex world of the post-apostolic period. Jude and 2 Peter provide a sober look at the early community's evolution in doctrinal and moral terms.

This volume discusses the social relations Christians are to have with outsiders, about the Christian challenge of living in a non-Christian environment, and about the Christian community’s growing pains as they increased in membership and complexity.

Earl J. Richard is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Loyola University in New Orleans. He holds graduate degrees in theological and biblical studies from the University of Ottawa, Johns Hopkins University, and the Catholic University of America. He is the author of many books in the area of biblical studies, past president of the Society of Biblical Literature (southeast region), and a member of the Catholic Biblical Association.

Reading Revelation

  • Author: Joseph L. Trafton
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 224

Joseph Trafton was concerned that much of the popular understanding of Revelation was based on traditions of interpretation and not on the book itself. Having done his masters thesis on Revelation, Trafton came to see how crucial it was to view the book in its historical and conceptual contexts. He reveals the Jewish thought-world that underlies the book and shows how the various sections of the book fit together with one another. His goal in writing the commentary on Revelation is that the book will “make sense” to the reader. He believes many interpreters inundate their explanations with extraneous ideas that actually prevent or get in the way of a clear understanding of the text. Trafton hopes that Reading Revelation will help readers see what is actually there.

Joseph Trafton has produced a clear, understandable, insightful reading of the book of Revelation—not an easy task for a book that has left many readers puzzled and confused. One of the particular strengths of Trafton’s commentary is his close attention to the structure of John’s work and the internal connections between various passages of the book. Readers will also benefit from Trafton’s identification of John’s extensive indebtedness to the Hebrew Bible for much of his imagery and ideas.

—Mitchell G. Reddish, O. L. Walker Professor, Christian Studies; Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stetson University

Joseph L. Trafton is Distinguished University Professor of Religious Studies at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He teaches courses on “Second Temple” Judaism and serves as a contributor to the Princeton Theological Seminary Dead Sea Scrolls Project. He is a regular speaker at churches, campus groups and civic groups.

Product Details

  • Title: Reading the New Testament Commentary (12 vols.)
  • Series: Reading the New Testament Commentary
  • Publisher: Smyth & Helwys Publishing
  • Volumes: 12
  • Pages: 3,078