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The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) [Paperback]

By Joseph A. Fitzmyer (Author)
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Item description for The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Joseph A. Fitzmyer...

In this second of two volumes on the Gospel According to Luke, beginning with chapter 10, Joseph A. Fitzmyer builds on the exhaustive introduction, definitive new translation, and extensive notes and commentary presented in his first volume. Fitzmyer brings to the task his mastery of ancient and modern languages, his encyclopedic knowledge of the sources, and his intimate acquaintance with the questions and issues raised by the third Synoptic Gospel.
In "joining the spirit to the letter" and scholarship to faith, this two-volume commentary on Luke has, as the "Journal of Biblical Literature" predicted, "rapidly and deservedly become the standard work on Luke." Luke's unique literary and linguistic features, its relation to the other Gospels and the book of Acts, and its distinctive theological slant are discussed in detail by the author. The Jesus of Luke's Gospel speaks to the Greco-Roman world of first-century Christians, giving the followers of Jesus a reason for remaining faithful. Fitzmyer's exposition of Luke helps modern-day Christians hear the Good News afresh and understand it like never before.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Yale University Press
Pages   837
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 2" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   2.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1970
Publisher   Yale University Press
Series  Anchor Bible Commentary  
ISBN  0300139802  
ISBN13  9780300139808  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to Luke I-IX (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)?

Highly Authoritative. First volume is most useful  Nov 29, 2007
`The Gospel According to Luke I - IX' and `The Gospel According to Luke X - XXIV' by Professor Joseph Fitzmyer comprises the `Anchor Bible' series commentary on the Gospel of Luke, the third Evangelist. The very best thing I can say about this work is that virtually every other commentary, from all ends of the spectrum, cites this work as a reliable authority on the subject. One should still take some care before investing in the purchase of a copy of these two relatively pricy volumes.
The first consideration is that you may actually have trouble finding the first volume, as it appears to be out of print. I was lucky enough to get it from an alternate source available through this site, and I'm quite happy to have acquired it, as it lives up to its reputation in every way. But here we meet a second consideration. This is the fact that this great work, weighing in at over 1600 pages, is at the highly scholarly end of the spectrum of Gospel commentaries. The only work which may be larger is the three volume study by John Nolland in the `Word Biblical Commentary' series. Aside from being just a bit shorter, I like Fitzmyer far more than Nolland because Fitzmyer's format is far more accessible to the non-scholar. And yet, it is still a work almost exclusively for exegesis. For hermeneutics and pastoral use, most of Fitzmyer's information will only work as deep background. The lion's share of the commentary is dedicated to the study of the most basic documentary sources, lexical issues, and exegesis. For example, there are frequent references to the original Codices found from the third, fourth, and fifth centuries, and to the slight differences in text found in alternate documents. For the Bible scholar, these are necessary. For the lay Bible study student or teacher, they are a distraction. Thankfully, makes them less of a distraction than Nolland and the rather Byzantine structure of the texts in the `Word' series.
With great humility, I may also suggest that Fitzmyer's translation of the Gospel tends to the `politically correct', as when he translates the Greek word for `slave' as `servant'. The NRSV translates this as `slave' and in the Greek text; the dominant meaning is `slave' according to both a Greek dictionary and the `Dictionary of New Testament Theology'.
In spite of all these considerations, I, a lowly amateur teacher of Bible studies, still find Fitzmyer extremely valuable (as I do Nolland, if I have time to wade through his pages.) The first and foremost value I find might be the highly valuable `serendipitous' finding. There is so much here, on can hardly help tripping over something really useful. The latest finding is a reference to a work on New Testament theology, an aspect of scriptural study which is almost totally absent from Bible commentaries. Another great value I've found is that in spite of the `politically correct' translation, I find Fitzmyer's explanations of many words, as with Jesus talking about the Pharisees' `leaven' or `yeast', his explanation is far better than any other volume. And, his use of `leaven' is probably far more accurate than `yeast', as I suspect Hellenistic science had not the faintest knowledge of these microorganisms, even though they were thoroughly familiar with natural leavening. Lastly, I find Fitzmyer's introduction to the Gospel one of the best (although Johnson's introduction (see below) is also excellent for a smaller price). This is especially unfortunate, as it appears in the hard to get first volume.
If you are looking for only pastoral guidance, I recommend Joel Green's commentary or the New Interpreter's Bible. If you want a brief of this exegesis, go for Luke Timothy Johnson's excellent commentaries on Luke (and Acts).
My last thoughts about these volumes is that they bring me back to my very first experience with Biblical exegesis and the Anchor Bible, which was launched in the late 1950s, but which seems to have fallen on hard times, as the reputation and availability of many of its volumes is thin.
A epic but (slightly) dated classic  Mar 2, 2006
The "dean" of traditional, historical critical commentaries. Focuses on determining the form and sources of each passage. In addition to verse by verse commentary, it includes essays on current Lucan studies, Lucan theology, and other topics. This work has a deserved reputation for being careful and thorough. However, it was written before the rise of literary critical approaches, and it can come off now as a bit dry and unsatisfying. It woud be hard to write a sermon, for example, just using this. Use it as the foundation, but add another work. Still belongs in any serious library.
Simply the Best  Mar 9, 2005
I have used this commentary for just over twenty years now, ever since my very first class in seminary. I have never been disappointed with Fitzmyer. Like Raymond Brown's two-volume "John" commentary for this same Anchor Bible series, these volumes by Fitzmyer are simply the best available.

The Anchor Bible format allows for extensive introductions that explore in depth the historical, critical, literary and theological scholarship that surrounds a given book. The introduction in this commentary is first-rate. In the Commentary section, the format offers first a section with a more detailed examination of the text, including language (In this case, Greek, although knowledge of Greek is not a necessity to benefit from this commentary) considerations, followed by a more broad interpretation of the same text. One can read the interpretation section, therefore, without wading through the entire exegetical minutia. Fitzmyer demonstrates his skill as an interpreter in both parts. He is a careful and detailed exegete who can also communicate the meaning of any given text.

There are no perfect commentaries anywhere on any given biblical book, but I still recommend both volumes of Fitzmyer's magnificent exploration of Luke. This is a perfect book for pastors and students who want a deeper understanding of Luke's wonderful book.
Frustrating but informative  Nov 5, 2003
Back when I was in Seminary I took a class on the Gospel of Luke where the instructor, instead of assigning a commentary as a textbook, instead had about a half dozen commentaries in the library on reserve. All students rotated between these commentaries before in class discussions on various texts. When reading Fitzmyer I was often frustrated by how long it takes for him to get to the point and how often he doesn't seem to make a firm stand on any meaning for the text. In fact, we had some rather negative things to say about his style...

However, a funny thing happened when I got to class - on the days I had read Fitzmyer, I felt better prepared for the discussion than I was after reading most other commentaries. Fitzmyer communicates clearly most issues and points of view various interpreters have had with the text. He gives the information I needed to feel like I understood what is at issue in the text.

At the end of class I picked his work for my library. He may not be the clearest at times. He may seem overly academic at times. On the other hand, he gives me the tools I need to work it out for myself.

The best part about this commentary is the Introduction.  Nov 4, 1999
This two volume set on Luke's Gospel provides a wealth of information. Fitzmyer leaves very few stones unturned in this lengthy commentary. The introduction is lengthy and intorduces the student to the various themes found in the Gospel.

I should say by way of friendly criticism that Fitzmyer is skeptical about the likelihood that some of the stories in this Gospel go back to a situation in the life of the historical Jesus. For example, he believes that Luke is historically inaccurate in some of the things he records in the Christmas story (Luke 2), and although he is stirred by the power of Jesus' extension of forgiveness to the sinful woman of Luke 7:36-50, he states that it is unlikely that this event happened the way it is described.

Nevertheless, if you can get past the occasional bits of historical pessimism, there is much to be garnered by reading this academic work. I should also say that since this set is more than 20 years old, its scholarship is beginning to look dated. Moreover, the two volume work by Darrell Bock is generally more accurate in its exegesis and more helpful to the preacher looking for sermonic material.

The long and short of all this is that this is no longer a first or second choice for Luke commentaries. I would purchase Darrell Bock's two volume set, and perhaps the paperback Life Application commentary on this Gospel.

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