ICC Commentaries Online

Mark Hoffman (of Biblical Studies & Technological Tools) and Rod Decker (of the NT Resources blog) have both posted lists of International Critical Commentaries (ICC) that are available online. These titles are all in public domain and are completely free. Some of them are still widely referenced today. Of course it’s “old” scholarship, but as Rod Decker remarks, It’s “not a bad collection for the price.”

  • See Hoffman’s Biblical Studies & Technological Tools page for OT ICC.
  • See Decker’s NT Resources page for NT ICC.

Thanks Mark & Rod!

Basic Bibliographies for Theological Research

I’ve been working on some bibliographic resources for the upcoming Fall semester at GCTS, and I thought I’d pass this along. Below is a list of basic bibliographic resources for theological studies.* These books and resources serve as “gateways” to more resources. I’ve also included a few guides to writing theology and research in general. For each entry I’ve provided the Library of Congress call number to the text in the Goddard Library (where I work). I’ve also provided links to to Amazon.com for purchase and Worldcat.org for local library holdings. If you have any further suggestions for research guides in theology, pass them along in the comments.

Theological Research in General

  • Barber, Cyril J., and Robert M. Kraus, Jr. Introduction to Theological Research: A Guide for College and Seminary Students. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2000. First choice for purchase (after Turabian). The paragraph style has more explanation than Stewart. Ref. BR118.B28 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Kepple, Robert J., and John R. Muether. Reference Works for Theological Research: An Annotated Selective Bibliographical Guide. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992. Ref. Z7751.K46 1991 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Stewart, David R. Literature of Theology. Rev. ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. Especially recommended for more recent material. Evangelicals are well represented. Second choice for purchase (ca. $14) after Barber (and Turabian). Ref. Z7751.B67 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Tucker, Dennis C. Research Techniques for Scholars and Students in Religion and Theology. Medford, N.J: Information Today, 2000. Very helpful, especially for undergrads, despite its simplicity and curious old fashionedness at points. Circ. BL41.T83 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat

Church History

  • Bradley, James E. and Richard A. Muller, Church History: An Introduction to the Research, Reference Works, and Methods. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. Electronic resources mentioned should be supplemented with Stewart (above). Ref. BR138.B69 1995 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Note also patrologies for the literature of the Early Church (most notably, Johannes Quasten’s Patrology. Ref. BR67.Q2 1983).

Biblical Studies

  • Bauer, David R. Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003. Especially recommended as a comprehensive listing for biblical studies (327 p.). First choice for use in the library. Ref. Z7770.B38 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Evans, Craig A. Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005. Highly recommended for Interp. students. Provides introduction and bibliography for background material. Ref. BS2530 .E93 2005 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Sparks, Kenton L. Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005. Ref. BS 1184 .S63 2005 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Pay close attention to multiple bibliographies in Ref. Z7770-Z7772; Z7806; Z8455-Z8685

Bible Commentary Evaluation

  • Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. 6th ed. Grand Rapids, Baker: 2007. Ref. BS2341.2.C33 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Glynn, John. Commentary and Reference Survey. 10th ed. Grand Rapids, Kregel: 2007. Ref. BS511.3 .G59 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Longman, Tremper, III. Old Testament Commentary Survey. 4th ed. Grand Rapids, Baker: 2007. Ref. Z7772.A1 L64 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Stuart, Douglas K. Guide to Selecting and Using Bible Commentaries. Dallas: Word, 1990. Out of date but still valuable. Ref. Z7770.S88 1990 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *The Denver Journal. Excellent reviews and commentary lists. Before you buy, check these lists! http://www.denverseminary.edu/resources/the-denver-journal/

Style Manuals

  • *Alexander, Patrick, et al. SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. 1st ed. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999. Ref. PN147.S26 1999 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. Parenthetic documentation. Ref. LB2369.G53 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • LeMon, Joel M. (ed.) Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style. Accomplishes what the title implies, providing guidelines for writing term papers and theses, and clearing up some ambiguities in the SBL Handbook. Available at http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/sblhs_ss92804_revised_ed.pdf.
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2001. Ref. BF76.7.P83 2001 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Turabian, Kate L. Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. 7th ed. Rev. by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2007. Basic style guide, based on the Chicago manual of style. A must have. Ref. LB2369.T8 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat

Guides to Theological Writing / Writing Well

  • *Booth, Wayne C., Joseph M. Williams, and Gregory G. Colomb. The Craft of Research. 3rd ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2008. Library has 2nd ed. Circ. Q180.55.M4 B66 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Core, Deborah. The Seminary Student Writes. St. Louis: Chalice, 2000. Circ. BR117.C67 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Vyhmeister, Nancy J. Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Ref. BL41 .V94 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Yaghjian, Lucretia B. Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers. New York & London: Continuum, 2006. Circ BR44.Y34 2006 | Amazon | Worldcat

*This list was originally put together by the former Director of the Goddard Library, Dr. Freeman Barton. I’ve been updating it over the last few years.

Epistle of James Bibliography at ΑΓΑΠΗΣΕΙΣ

“Zephyr,” at ΑΓΑΠΗΣΕΙΣ, has been posting a running bibliography on “Recent Scholarship” on the Epistle of James [link]. It’s a great list, and I’m sure it will continue to grow [see his latest update]. If you know of any more texts, be sure to submit them by way of the comments!

Williams’ Hebrew Syntax (3rd ed.)

John Beckman, a graduate of Gordon-Conwell and a PhD student at Harvard has recently revised and expanded Ronald J. Williams’ Hebrew Syntax (previous editions published as Hebrew Syntax: An Outline).

I used Williams’ second edition when I took intermediate Hebrew, and since then I’ve found it a helpful quick reference when faced with translation decisions.

Beckman clarifies Williams’ work by revising and expanding definitions and explanations of grammatical phenomena. He also directs the reader to additional discussions in GKC, Joüon, IBHS, BHRG and GBHS, and adds footnotes that point to developments in Hebrew grammar since the second edition (1976). In spite of these various changes to this new edition, Beckman has been careful to maintain the original numbering of Williams’ outline (though he does subdivide certain sections). This enables one to easily look up references to Williams’ outline made by other scholars.

For the intermediate student of Hebrew grammar, this book promises to provide an effective introduction to more advanced grammatical concepts.

As an added bonus, John Beckman has released a PDF outline of all the grammatical categories found in Williams’ outline (similar to the grammatical outline found in the back of Wallace’s Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics). This outline, along with PDF’s of various public domain books and articles on Hebrew grammar are available at his new site, HebrewSyntax.org.

Biblica 88.1 (2007) – James 4:1-4

Biblica 88.1 (2007) has just been released to the web. It features an article on James 4:1-4 and the “two ways” tradition. Here is the publication info and abstract:

H. van de Sandt, «James 4,1-4 in the Light of the Jewish Two Ways Tradition 3,1-6» , Vol. 88(2007) 38-63.

The author of the Letter of James accuses his readers (Jas 4,1-4) of being responsible for war, murder and adultery. How are we to explain this charge? This paper shows that the material in Jas 1,13-21; 2,8-11 and 4,1-4 is closely akin to the teknon section in Did 3,1-6. The teknon section belonged to the Jewish Two Ways tradition which, for the most part, is covered by the first six chapters of the Didache. Interestingly, Did 3,1-6 exhibits close affinity with the ethical principles of a particular stream of Rabbinic tradition found in early Derekh Erets treatises. James 4,1-4 should be considered a further development of the warnings in Did 3,1-6.

Access article online (PDF)

I don’t have any time to read this one… I’ll have to put it on my post thesis reading list. Well, I can hear the whip cracking. I would rather avoid the sting, so I better get going… Back to the thesis!

Patrick’s Classic on the Historical James

William Patrick, James the Lord’s Brother. Edinburgh:T&T Clark, 1906.

This classic work on the historical James the Just is available at the Internet Archive as a 35MB PDF! I’ve only had time to peruse this work in the past. I’ve had other pressing matters to deal with, but I have planned to scan this work post-thesis, but now I don’t have to. I hope to OCR the text and make it a part of the Old in the New site in html.

Update: A rough OCR version is now available HERE.

NovT, διακρίνομαι, and ‘Doubts About Doubt’

Vol. 49, no. 1 (2007) and Vol. 48, no. 4 (2006) of Novum Testamentum have just been released online (full text available to institutions/individuals with a subscription). 49.1 contains an article by Peter Spitaler on a subject near and dear to students of the Epistle of James:

Διακρíνεσθαι in Mt. 21:21, Mk. 11:23, Acts 10:20, Rom. 4:20, 14:23, Jas. 1:6, and Jude 22 — the ‘Semantic Shift’ That Went Unnoticed by Patristic Authors,” Novum Testamentum 49.1 (2007): 1–39.

This article investigates how patristic and medieval writers interpret New Testament passages with the middle/passive διακρίνω. Contemporary NT scholars posit a difference between NT and classical/Hellenistic Greek meanings and usually justify their choice by means of a semantic shift. In the texts analyzed for this article, there is little evidence that Greek patristic and medieval authors acknowledge a meaning of διακρίνομαι that deviates from the Koine meaning. If, indeed, a semantic shift took place, they show no awareness of that movement. The transformation of meaning first occurs in translations from Greek to Latin.

Spitaler has previously published on the meaning of διακρίνομαι in Biblica:

Doubt or Dispute (Jude 9 and 22-23). Rereading a Special New Testament Meaning through the Lense of Internal Evidence,” Biblica 87 (2006): 201–222.

The middle/passive verb διακρίνομαι occurs twice in Jude’s letter. It is usually rendered with the classical / Hellenistic meaning “dispute” in v. 9, and the special NT meaning “doubt” in v. 22. Beginning with a brief discussion of the methodological problems inherent in the special NT meaning approach to διακρίνομαι, this article offers an interpretation of vv. 9 and 22 based on the letter’s internal evidence. The content of Jude’s letter permits διακρίνομαι to be consistently translated with its classical / Hellenistic meaning, “dispute” or “contest”.

See also:

David De Graaf, “Some Doubts About Doubt: The New Testament Use of Διακρίνω,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 733–755. (Check here for availability.) An abstract is not available, but here are the opening and closing words of the article:

The verb διακρίνω appears nineteen times in the Greek NT. In most translations, nine of these instances (Matt 21:21; Mark 11:23; Acts 10:20; 11:12; Rom 4:20; 14:23; jas 1:6; Jude 22) are rendered with words that express uncertainty, such as “doubt,” “hesitate,” or “waver.” The argument set forth in this article is that “uncertainty” is not the meaning that the biblical authors intended to convey in these nine cases, and that they should instead be rendered with words that express divided loyalty or disunity. (p. 733)

. . . In instances where διακρίνω is explicitly contrasted with a member of the πίστ- word group, the latter should be taken to have a sense that is more readily translated with the terms “loyalty” or “faithfulness” than with “faith.” (p. 755)

Time does not permit me to interact with these articles on the blog. Suffice it to say, if you are interested in what James has to say about doubt contrasted with faith, then these articles are worth reading. They challenge the “special NT meaning of” διακρίνω — “doubt.” Instead, πίστ* and διακρίνω often have much more to do with one’s loyalties and character rather than with one’s mental assent to an unprovable concept.

Sale on Sacra Pagina James Commentary

Patrick Hartin’s commentary on James is on sale at Eisenbrauns.

Regular price: $39.95
Sale price: $21.22
To expensive? Find it in a library.

Written for the Sacra Pagina series (Liturgical Press), this commentary represents a career’s worth of quality scholarship on the Epistle of James. Hartin has established himself as a top-notch James scholar, authoring several important works, including: James and the Q Sayings of Jesus, A Spirituality of Perfection in James, James of Jerusalem: Heir to Jesus of Nazareth, and several related articles.

Don’t miss your chance to purchase an inexpensive copy if you’re interested in quality James scholarship. As of 11:59 pm, 11 January 2007, there are only 6 left!

Doriani’s Reformed Expository Commentary on James

P&R Press is set to release Daniel M. Doriani’s commentary on James in the Reformed Expository Commentary series in January 2007. Here is P&R’s blurb, complete with an endorsement by the king of blurbs, J.I. Packer:

With 59 commands in 108 verses, the epistle of James has an obvious zeal for law. In his imperatives, James directly communicates the royal law, the law of King Jesus (2:8). Thus, the hasty reader will not see much of the gospel in James. But as Doriani reveals in his insightful commentary, the double mention of God’s grace at the rhetorical climax of the book shows that the gospel of James is the message of God’s grace for sinners.

“Well-researched and well-reasoned, practical and pastoral, shrewd, solid and searching, this is a truly Jamesish exposition of James’s letter, top-class in everyway.”

JI Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College

Pages: 216
Binding: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-87552-785-7
Publication Date: 1/2007

Doriani is Senior Pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also Adjunct Professor of New Testament and former Dean of Faculty at Covenant Seminary. Doriani has posted the lectures and notes from his class on “Hebrews to Revelation,” including a few lectures on James:

Hebrews Conclusion; James: Introduction PDF HTML PDF
James 1: The Trials of Life PDF HTML PDF
James 2: Good Works Demonstrate True Religion PDF HTML PDF
James 2-5: Justification in James PDF HTML PDF
James 3-5: Rhetorical Analysis & Structure PDF HTML PDF

I look forward to reading this “Jamesish exposition.” If anyone knows any more information on this commentary or series, post a reply.

Top Picks on James?

Recently a friend asked me to recommend a commentary, monograph and theology of the Epistle of James. Below is my response.

I highly recommend the commentaries by Luke Timothy Johnson (Anchor Bible) and Peter H. Davids (New International Greek Commentary on the New Testament). Patrick Hartin has also written a great commentary in the Sacra Pagina series.

As far as monographs go, I’d recommend Hartin’s Spirituality of Perfection: Faith in Action in the Letter of James. It’s a good read, and I think it captures the overall focus of James rather well. If you look at this book, it’s probably not worth getting the Hartin’s commentary (if you are looking at Davids and/or Johnson as well).

Luke Timothy Johnson has published a collection of articles that he has written on James (Brother of Jesus, Friend of God: Studies in the Letter of James). It’s a great companion to his commentary, and the studies have helped set the pace for James studies – I’d recommend it as a text book in conjunction with the commentary.

Bauckham’s monograph on James (James: Wisdom of James, Disciple of Jesus the Sage) is very good as well. It is not so much a commentary as an introduction/monograph (in the New Testament Readings series). He engages the genre of James and the letter’s relationship to the teachings of Jesus. He also interacts with Kierkegaard on James.

As far as James’ “theology” goes, there’s the work by Andrew Chester and Ralph P. Martin (The Theology of the Letters of James, Peter, and Jude) in the New Testament Theology series.

So, I guess I’ve listed more than I’ve been asked for – and not necessarily in a “neat order.” If I were forced to pick a monograph, commentary and theology, I think I’d go for the following:

What do other Jacobean scholars think? What are the top commentaries, monographs and theologies on the Epistle of James?