Matthew 8-20: a Commentary.
The Apostolic Tradition: A Commentary. By Paul F. Bradshaw, Maxwell E. Johnson, and L. Edward Phillips. Hermeneia--A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002. xviii and 247 pages. Cloth. $47.00.
These are the two latest additions to this premier commentary series. The Luz commentary is volume 2 of what will be a three-volume commentary in English (four volumes in German). Reviewers hailed the original German in the German Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar as one of the best commentaries in print. This English version preserves the values of the German edition: critically informed, using all the methods of modern interpretation, bibliographically comprehensive, written clearly, and paying special attention to the Nachleben of the text (history of interpretation). Every scholar who is interested in Matthew must have this commentary. The editors note on p. xxxvii that there is a translation of volume 1, not in the Hermeneia series (published by Augsburg Publishing House in 1989). They promise an updated version in the Hermeneia series on the completion of volume 3.
The Apostolic Tradition goes beyond the scope implied in the series subtitle: "A Critical Commentary on the Bible." The Apostolic Tradition is a church order from the third century reflecting the usage of the church in Rome, possibly by Hippolytus. The reconstruction of the text is very difficult, since the original Greek text is lost. The three editors of the present edition have translated Latin, Coptic, Sahidic, Arabic, and Ethiopic texts on the left pages of this edition, placing translations of the three principal adaptations (the Epitome, the Canons of Hippolytus, and the Testamentum Domini) on facing right-hand pages. They do not reconstruct the lost Greek text on the basis of this evidence but provide an extensive commentary on each of the 43 sections of the work. Each commentary section first discusses the text, then provides detailed commentary on the text with extensive documentation from Patristic writers.
This text is of contemporary interest; section 4 contains the eucharistic prayer of the bishop, a form of which is printed in the celebrant's altar book for the Lutheran Book of Worship. In it the Epiklesis invokes the Holy Spirit over the assembled congregation, but not on the elements. It contains sections describing the bishop, presbyters, deacons, confessors, widows, lectors, virgins, subdeacons, healers, neophyte Christians, and artisans and craftsmen. The tripartite division of clergy is not yet clearly present. There are extensive regulations for worship, e.g., the use of oil, olives, and milk in the Lord's Supper, for the reading of the Scriptures, for the catechumenate and baptism [by far the longest section], for the distribution of the elements in the Eucharist, for the sign of the cross, and other such matters. The commentary is learned and terse, yet informative.
In short, this is an excellent resource for all those interested in the developments of liturgy and church order in the post-New Testament church; it will be of less interest to most students of the Bible. This is now the new standard English edition of this significant text, replacing those of Burton Scott Easton and Gregory Dix. Its cost will likely keep it from use as a textbook in classes on worship; perhaps the publisher would put out a softcover edition if there were sufficient demand. It deserves wide use.
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|Publication:||Currents in Theology and Mission|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2003|
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