Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Matthew Matthew Matthew

FINALLY, another decent commentary on the Gospel of Matt. Thanx to Dr. Bird [Speaking by faith!] for the heads up on John Nolland's new NIGNT commentary on the gospel of Matt.

Having devoted the past ten years of his life to research for this major new work, John Nolland gives us a commentary on Matthew that engages with a notable range of Matthean scholarship and offers fresh interpretations of this most Jewish of the Gospels. Without neglecting Matthews sources or historical background, Nolland's volume focuses on the story that Matthew tells and how it is told.

Nolland maintains that the Gospel of Matthew reflects the historical ministry of Jesus with considerable accuracy, and he brings to the table new evidence for an early date of composition. With remarkable facility he connects Matthews story with its source in Mark as well as with other parts of the biblical narrative. Other features of his commentary include an introduction summarizing key information, accurate translations of the Gospel based on the latest critical Greek text, and thorough bibliographies for each section. Students, teachers, and preachers of Matthews Gospel will be delighted by these features no less than by Nolland's invaluable verse-by-verse comments.

I'm really excited by this new commentary because solid commentaries on Matt are few and far between! Davies and Allison are a must have for any serious scholarship but for straight exegetical and historical study, I'm still going with Keener and France. Morris and Hagner were unhelpful at best and just resorting to theology at worst. not that there isn't a place for theology in a commentary, but I found these two authors resorted to theology far to quickly without actually exegeting the text and struggling with its meanings and meaning. Keener is the best for historical criticism and back-ground information. The primary sources given could keep any scholar busy for a long time! I've not read Luz on Matthew, but from what I've heard its pretty good. So yeah, if it comes out in September [hint hint, it's someone's B-day in September!] I'll have to think about letting someone get it for me [hint, hint].
Enough hints, I want this commentary!
UPDATE: Silly me forgot to mention Warren Carter's seminal commentary on the Gospel of Matthew: Matthew and the Margins: A Religious and Socio-Political Reading (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2000). This has been a tremendously helpful commentary for all the background information on Roman Imperialism. On that, I just managed to get a copy of Ittai Gradel's excellent book: Emperor Worship and Roman Religion [OUP, 2002] Wheeler offers a fare review of the book which has its origins as a doctoral thesis under Simon Price, whom many will know as the author of Rituals and Power: the Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor [CUP, 1984]. This book paved the way for research like that of Carter's, Horsley and of course, mine!


Michael F. Bird said...

Sean, Thanks for the vote of faith. Also, I like the sound of Dr. Bird - but that could be my ego talking. Enjoy the UK.

eddie said...

what do you think of Carter's commentary?

Sean du Toit said...

What a MAJOR OOPS! Warren Carter's commentary, on which I'm depending quite a bit for some of my research is FANTASTIC. What an egg, I can't believe I forgot that! Sha, too much fun in the UK is making me slow on the uptake.!!!