Item description for Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible) by Harold W. Attridge & Helmut Koester...
Overview This is a highly in-depth, technical commentary from a liberal theological perspective. A critical and historical commentary which is very well documented. Detailed exposition in a verse by verse format. There is much material here which is of use to evangelical students and scholars as well as liberal.
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Studio: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.62" Width: 8.5" Height: 1.45" Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 1989
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800660218 ISBN13 9780800660215
Availability 0 units.
More About Harold W. Attridge & Helmut Koester
Harold W. Attridge (PhD, Harvard University) is the Sterling Professor of Divinity, former Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean, and former Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including a leading critical commentary on Hebrews and a forthcoming commentary on John, both in the Hermeneia series.
Harold W. Attridge has published or released items in the following series...
Biblical Scholarship in North America
Early Christian Apocrypha
Hermeneia: A Critical & Historical Commentary on the Bible
Reviews - What do customers think about Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible)?
Thorough and Helpful Exegetical Tool Sep 8, 2007
This commentary is thorough and helpful for the process of exegeting the book of Hebrews. I'm a pastor who is working through Hebrews for pulpit ministry. Hebrews is a rich book, with a lot of linguistic nuances, which are not covered in most commentaries that I have looked at recently.
I think that one of the values for this commentary shines through if you use the Greek text. This is highlighted in the way that the author organizes his material. So let me review that first so you catch the flavor of his work.
For each pericope the author provides his own translation of the passage. For example, in Hebrews 11:1-7 he starts out with the rarely seen "Faith is the reality of things hoped for..." rather than the more popular 'Faith is the assurance of things hoped for'
The book cover is 9.5" tall and 8.5" wide from the binding to the edge. This gives extra wide margins on each page, and a feeling that the volume is almost square. I like the feel of this commentary more than most I own. Sometimes he strays into a realm of discussion that betrays a bias against the infallibility of scripture, which may be a problem for some Evangelicals (like myself...I find those comments irritating). But Attridge limits those to minor bits here and there and it is an insignificant part of his commentary as a whole.
His translation is in the left margin of a whole page and is in large fonts that are bold and easy to read (I really like that). The right column has his own textual critical notes focused on interesting things. For example he explains a variant on Hebrews 11:1 in p13. If you are following all the steps of exegesis, this can be an interesting addition to Metzger's GNT Textual Commentary (A commentary on the Greek Textual Selections for the NA27th edition and UBS3rd and 4th editions).
After his translation and textual commentary notes, he provides an analysis of the passage. In his analysis he gives an interesting review of the structure of the language, it's relationship to previous and following paragraphs, and a lot of helpful input on the whole of what he is discussing (in this case the whole of Hebrews 11:1-7 and on Hebrews 11). His command of ancient sources is convincing and well documented in footnotes throughout the book.
After his Analysis section, then he enters into his 'Comment'. In this section he works bit by bit through the paragraph, giving sometimes an indepth word study (when appropriate). For example in Hebrews 11:1 we find a word 'upotasis' which he analyzes in depth. His analysis systematically evaluates the pros and cons of each view on the word and then finally lands on his own view. In this particular word, I had been convinced by FF Bruce's evaluation in his Hebrews commentary, but am forced to rethink things after reading Attridge in this commentary. The convincing element in his evaluation of the view Bruce and other propose was that there are no instances in ancient literature that support Bruce's position on the word. Bruce used parallelism to make his case, but Attridge shot that down in a paragraph in this book. I found more material to digest and the material was laid out in a way that I find it easy to grasp (I'm a pastor, not a scholar). Attridge's footnotes in all of this range from quoting German scholars and theologians to ancient Greeks or ancient Jewish historians to modern English and French Greek language experts (like Spicq, Moulton, Koester, etc...).
Sometimes Attridge provides an excursus on the text. In Hebrews 11:1-7 he does this, by focusing on Faith in Hebrews and Contemporary Literature. This excursion is several pages long. Then he resumes his commentary on the verses bit by bit.
The entire section on Hebrews 11:1-7 provides the pastor working on a sermon or the student/scholar reviewing material 26 pages of well thought out material to use for your exegetical process. I don't know if you will agree with him on every conclusion, but he is much more thorough than almost all of my Hebrews commentaries (I have consulted at least 25 commentaries on Hebrews). One huge difference between this commentary and the NIGTC on Hebrews by Ellingworth, is illustrated in this passage. Attridge doesn't spend time reviewing theories on how Hebrews 11 was assembled or slugging through the various 'educated guesses' on source material. Of the 21 pages Ellingworth gives us on this same pericope, he spends the first three on the various 'educated guesses' on source material...ending with the classic result that we don't really know. And I always think...and we don't really care either because it doesn't really matter. Honestly when I am exegeting a passage of scripture for a sermon I don't want 15% of my commentary assistance to be focused on wild speculation on the origination of the text. Unless it really has a true bearing and the results are somewhat convincing, commentators do no service to pastors by spending so much time on things like this. For this reason in particular, and for the deeper coverage on critical issues like crucial word studies and excursions that matter, I favor Attridge's commentary on Hebrews over Ellingworth's commentary on Hebrews.
I have come to heartily recommend this commentary for analysis of the Greek text in the exegetical process of sermon development.
The weakness I see here is that he does not give a pastor a lot of 'life application' handles that can preach well. Since the commentary is billed as a "Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible" I didn't expect that from this commentary. So I think he hits his target dead on.