Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament presents …
James and Jude by John Painter and David deSilva
I haven’t had the opportunity yet, prior to now, to provide full-fledged commentary concerning a commentary … but I am very excited to make this the first (though I did promote a shorter commentary-like text on the book of Ruth not long ago, this is a much more in-depth study of a book of the bible).
Here’s what is really great about the commentary – the size and the approach to the Word of God. The text is short, real, real short. It is short but that does not seem to take away from the mission of the commentary series (“paideia” is Greek for “education” – and the mission of the commentary is to properly educate people about the book at hand!). An important piece that adds to the brevity of the commentary must be the fact that the authors/editors have not bogged the text down with extensive references and word studies (they have even transliterated the biblical Greek, which some scholars may seem to be an issue but it broads the availability of who can pick up this book and read it). The transliterating of the Greek plays into the second point that I love about this commentary, how it approaches the Word of God. It is not a verse by verse approach to God’s Word. Rather, the scholars approach the Scriptures thought by thought or passage by passage. The section of each exposition that is MOST helpful for me, and will be for anyone who seeks to preach/teach concerning a passage in James/Jude, is “Tracing the Train of Thought.” Crucial to interpretation and exegesis, but often neglected, is placing your passage in its proper context. The Painter and deSilva have worked hard to remind readers of whats happening next and what just happened in these short books.
What I am not that excited about, but was a positive above, is the fact that the authors do not give readers a specific bibliography for each passage of the books. What are important articles/texts to consider if I am preaching on James 3:1-12? A lot of other commentary series offer relevant material at the close of their commentary on a passage, and that would have been really appreciated here.
If you are looking for a tight-knit commentary that makes the plain things the main things and the main things the plain things, than I would seriously suggest the paideia commentary series from Baker Books.
Check it out at Amazon.com.
Paul J. Achtemeier (emeritus, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia), Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield), C. Clifton Black (Princeton Theological Seminary), Susan R. Garrett (Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary), Francis J. Moloney, SDB (Salesian Province of Australia)
Official Product Description (from CBD.com)
In James and Jude two respected New Testament scholars offer a practical commentary that is conversant with contemporary scholarship, draws on ancient backgrounds, and attends to the theological nature of the texts.
This commentary, like each in the projected eighteen-volume series, proceeds by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Paideia commentaries explore how New Testament texts form Christian readers by
* attending to the ancient narrative and rhetorical strategies the text employs
* showing how the text shapes theological convictions and moral habits
* commenting on the final, canonical form of each New Testament book
* focusing on the cultural, literary, and theological settings of the text
* making judicious use of maps, photos, and sidebars in a reader-friendly format
Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the historical, literary, and theological insight that John Painter and David deSilva offer in interpreting James and Jude.
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Baker Academic
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
“I can think of no one more qualified than John Painter and David deSilva to write on James and Jude respectively. They have produced an admirable work, both in its scholarly integrity and in its literary clarity. They have adhered to the goal of the Paideia series in not writing a detailed exegetical commentary but rather ‘attending to the cultural, literary and theological settings of the final form of the text’ and bringing out the rhetorical strategies employed. This increases rather than limits the value of the work, allowing for a focus and clarity that might not otherwise be possible. I recommend this work; no future work on these two letters will be complete without using it.”
Peter Davids, Houston Baptist University
“James and Jude makes an excellent contribution to the impressive Paideia commentary series. John Painter’s commentary on James exhibits all the traits of a master interpreter. The introductory material is rich without being dense or convoluted. The commentary itself is concise and loaded with insight. David deSilva’s commentary on Jude is a gem. Who knew that so much of interest could be extracted from such a brief epistle? Students will benefit greatly from this well-written volume. Veteran scholars are also encouraged to add it to their library.”
Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia, Canada
“Painter and deSilva are to be congratulated for taking their readers and the biblical text seriously. They do not dumb down their discussions, but neither do they make brute historical, linguistic, and sociological facts the centerpiece of what they say. In these pages, thoughtful and practical reflection (‘Theological Issues’) always follows a close analysis of the Greek text (‘Tracing the Train of Thought’). The authors teach that understanding is not an end in itself; they insist that a robust faith is alien in any culture and that it is lived.”
James Riley Strange, assistant professor of religion, Samford University; author of The Moral World of James: Setting the Epistle in Its Greco-Roman and Judaic Environments
About the authors:
John Painter (PhD, Durham University) is biblical research scholar and professor of theology at the Charles Sturt University School of Theology. David A. deSilva (PhD, Emory University) is Trustee’s Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary.
** I received this title free with my promise to provide a completely unbiased review.