Posted By MSH on November 12, 2011
This is actually a short follow-up to Part 3, where I recommended some commentary sets. In that post I had two links to web pages on the Denver Seminary website to their own commentary recommendations. I have gone through that site and highlighted the volumes I have used and can recommend as useful — though with the caveats given earlier still in place — that I use resources that engage the text. My own tendency is to use commentaries like these to mine the footnotes to get to journal articles.† So, for me, commentaries that engage the text plus journal articles are part of what I do in research. I will also use our software to create searches based on things I want to investigate in the text, along with Hebrew reference grammars. But that is all a means to an end: to translate the data in my head and then to others as biblical theology, rooted in the text. What I find in the text is always informed by the bigger (contextual – ancient Near East). My goal is to try to think about the text the way an Israelite would have thought about it — an Israelite informed by the wider culture, literature, and religion of the ancient Near East (i.e., the Israelite who wrote the material for his own people and posterity). Not easy, but a better goal than looking to the 16th or 21st centuries to understand the text. If you’re going to do that, save yourself the time and just filter everything through a modern creed.
In the next post, I’ll say a little about how I use this approach for the New Testament.