Anchor Bible Commentary (AB) | Reviews, Theology

anchor bible commentary
Old Testament volumes have a blue cover

The Anchor Bible Commentary series — now known as the Anchor Yale Bible Series — was established in the 1960’s under William Foxwell Albright (d. 1971), an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, who was son of Methodist missionaries. The Anchor series is still active with new volumes being released and older volumes being replaced. Old Testament commentaries are blue hardbacks and New Testament commentaries are red hardbacks.

The project began as a new bible translation accompanied by exegetical explanations, before it grew into a full commentary series. Each Anchor volume includes the author’s original translations, an outline of the Scripture covered, verse-by-verse commentary, an overview of various interpretive approaches, photographs and illustrations, analysis of authorship and dating, and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary literature. The Anchor series is one of the most highly-praised, advanced-level commentary collections.

Yale University Press bought the rights to the series in 2007 and renamed it The Anchor Yale Bible Series. [1] The collection includes approximately 80 volumes, though not every biblical book is completely represented yet. The publisher intends to continue the series, noting that “many more volumes are in progress as the AYB Editorial Board, under the direction of General Editor John J. Collins, vigorously pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible ” [2] Digital editions are also now available. [3]

Note: See the Bible Commentaries Comparison Chart to see how the Anchor series compares to dozens of other commentary series.

Anchor Yale Bible Series (AB): Theology

Anchor commentaries are known for their up-to-date discussions on philology (i.e. the branch of knowledge that deals with the structure, historical development, and relationships of a language or language), their technical nature — though Hebrew and Greeks words are are transliterated — and their liberal theology. Though theology is not the focus of most Anchor commentaries, the editors value a diversity of authors “in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.” [4]

Authors engage in literary-critical analysis of the biblical text in light of the most recent scholarship available. Most of their conclusion would be considered left of center theologically.

David Noel Freedman (d. 2008), a biblical scholar, archaeologist, and Presbyterian minister was the General Editor of the series from 1956 to 2008. The current editor of the series is John J. Collins, professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School. [5]

Among the recent volumes published, Michael V. Fox’s Proverbs commentary, Abraham J. Malherbe’s 1-2 Thessalonians commentary, and Luke Timothy Johnson’s James commentary have been well-reviewed.

Volumes in the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary Series

The links below go to Amazon, which sells new and used books. Some Anchor volumes are out of print, so they cannot be purchased as “new” unless they are “new, old stock”. Also visit Christian Book Distributors’ Anchor commentaries page to compare prices.

New Testament Commentaries

anchor bible commentary series
New Testament volumes have a red cover

Matthew – W.F. Albright and C.S. Mann | Published: 1971 | ISBN: 9780385086585

Mark 1–8 – Joel Marcus | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 978038542349-6

Although it appears second in the New Testament, Mark is generally recognized as the first Gospel to be written. Captivating non-stop narrative characterizes this earliest account of the life and teachings of Jesus. In the first installment of his two-volume commentary on Mark, New Testament scholar Joel Marcus recaptures the power of Mark’s enigmatic narrative and capitalizes on its lively pace to lead readers through familiar and not-so-familiar episodes from the ministry of Jesus.

As Marcus points out, the Gospel of Mark can only be understood against the backdrop of the apocalyptic atmosphere of the Jewish rebellion of 66–73 AD, during which the Roman army destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. While the Jewish revolutionaries believed that the war was “the beginning of the end” and that a messianic redeemer would soon appear to lead his people to victory over their human enemies (the Romans) and cosmic foes (the demons), for Mark the redeemer had already come in the person of Jesus. Paradoxically, however, Jesus had won the decisive holy-war victory when he was rejected by his own people and executed on a Roman cross.

The student of two of this generation’s most respected Bible scholars, Raymond E. Brown and J. Louis Martyn, Marcus helps readers understand the history, social customs, economic realities, religious movements, and spiritual and personal circumstances that made Jesus who he was. Challenging to scholars and enlightening to lay people, Mark 1–8 is an invaluable tool for anyone reading the Gospel story.

Joel Marcus is professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Boston University School of Theology, having previously taught at the University of Glasgow and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Mark 8–16 – Joel Marcus | Published: 2009 | ISBN: 9780300141160

In the final nine chapters of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus increasingly struggles with his disciples’ incomprehension of his unique concept of suffering Messiahship and with the opposition of the religious leaders of his day. The Gospel recounts the events that led to Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion by the Roman authorities, concluding with an enigmatic ending in which Jesus’ resurrection is announced but not displayed.

In this volume, New Testament scholar Joel Marcus offers a new translation of Mark 8–16. He situates the narrative within the context of first-century Palestine and the larger Greco-Roman world; within the political context of the Jewish revolt against the Romans (AD 66–73); and within the religious context of the early church’s sometimes rancorous engagement with Judaism, pagan religion, and its own internal problems. For religious scholars, pastors, and interested lay people alike, the book provides an accessible and enlightening window on the second of the canonical Gospels.

Replaced Mark – C.S. Mann | Published: 1986 | ISBN 9780385032537

The Gospel according to Luke I–IX – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 1982 | ISBN: 9780385005159

In this first of two volumes on the Gospel according to Luke, Joseph A. Fitzmyer provides an exhaustive introduction, a definitive new translation, and extensive notes and commentary on Luke’s Gospel. 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 occasioned by the third Synoptic Gospel.

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 this Gospel helps modern-day Christians hear the good news afresh.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer is a Jesuit priest and professor emeritus at the Catholic University of America.

The Gospel according to Luke X–XXIV – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 1985 | ISBN: 9780385155427

In this second of two volumes on the Gospel of 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.

The Gospel according to John I–XII – Raymond E. Brown | Published: 1966 | ISBN: 9780385015172

In the first volume of Raymond E. Brown’s magisterial commentary on the Gospel according to John, all of the major Johannine questions—of authorship, composition, dating, the relationship of John to the Synoptics (Mark and Luke)—are discussed. The important theories of modern biblical scholarship concerning John are weighed against the evidence given in the text and against prevailing biblical research. In sum, what is attempted is a synthesis of the major scholarly insights that bear on the fourth Gospel.

The translation—as Raymond E. Brown states at the outset—strives not for any formal beauty but rather for an accurate and contemporary version: “the simple, everyday Greek of the Gospel has been rendered into the ordinary American English of today.” The result is a translation that will strike the reader with uncommon immediacy.

Brown also analyzes, in the appendixes, the meaning, use, and frequency of certain key words and phrases that occur in John, and examines the differences between the Johannine and Synoptic treatments of the miracle stories.

The chapters of the Gospel translated here (1–12) comprise the prologue, which opens with the famous “In the beginning was the Word,” and the Book of Signs, an account of the miracles of Jesus and of his ministry.

Raymond E. Brown was, throughout his illustrious career, internationally regarded as the dean of New Testament scholars.

The Gospel according to John, XIII–XXI – Raymond E. Brown | Published: 1970 | ISBN: 9780300140729

John 13–21 comprises the Book of Glory (describing the Last Supper, the Passion, and the appearances of the risen Jesus) and the epilogue to the Gospel. This commentary includes a special appendix on the Paraclete, in which Raymond E. Brown examines in detail the role of the Holy Spirit. Whether discussing John’s version of miracle stories found in the other Gospels, explaining the meaning of obscure Greek words, or showing the relevance of Jesus’ words and deeds, Raymond E. Brown speaks to scholars and laypeople alike.

The Acts of the Apostles – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 1998 | ISBN: 9780385468800

For anyone interested in the origins of Christianity, Joseph A. Fitzmyer’s The Acts of the Apostles is indispensable. Beginning with the ascension of Christ into heaven, and ending with Paul proclaiming the kingdom of God from a prison in Rome, this New Testament narrative picks up where the Gospel of Luke left off. The Acts of the Apostles is indeed a journey of nearly epic proportions—and one that requires a guide as adept as Fitzmyer.

Since Acts was most likely written by the same person who composed the Gospel of Luke, it is only fitting that the Anchor Yale Bible commentaries on these New Testament books should be written by the same author. With The Acts of the Apostles, Fitzmyer gives readers the long-awaited companion to his two-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke.

The four Gospels recount the life and teachings of Jesus, but only the book of the Acts of the Apostles tells the story of what happened after Jesus’ departure. In this second of Luke’s two-volume work, he picks up with Jesus saying farewell to his followers; then Luke tells the fast-paced story of the birth and growth of the early church. This narrative reads like a major breaking news story, with the apostles Peter and Paul as the main characters.

The interpretation of Acts requires a scholar of the highest quality. As he demonstrates in The Acts of the Apostles, Joseph Fitzmyer not only is up to the task but establishes once again why he is ranked among the world’s top biblical scholars. Far from being a rehash of old ideas and well-rehearsed theories, Fitzmyer’s commentary distinguishes itself as the capstone of his career, with a new synthesis of all the relevant data from the Roman world to the present. He provides a thorough introduction to the background, text, and context of the book, as well as chapter-by-chapter notes and comments in which are offered insights and answers to questions that have long plagued preachers and parishioners, teachers and students.

Replaced Acts of the Apostles – Johannes Munck | Published: 1967 | ISBN: 9780385009140

Romans – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 1993 | ISBN: 9780300140781

Outside of the Gospels themselves, there is no single Christian document whose influence has been greater than Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Its explosive character has changed lives—Augustine’s, Martin Luther’s, Karl Barth’s, to name a few—and precipitated revolutions.

This full-scale commentary deals with the most important issues of the early Christian church. And it is through the eyes of the apostle Paul, the major figure of this period, that we see dominant motifs and themes, the theological essentials of the Christian faith. Who better than the once pious Jew, converted to the Christian cause, to tell the reader about the early struggles with Judaism, the reluctant yet nurturing mother of this new community of faith?

This volume is aimed primarily at Christians, because the letter to the Romans is a part of their canon of Holy Scripture. But it is equally valuable for all those who have an interest in learning about one of the most important letters ever written by anyone, and in understanding the world-shaking movement of which it was an essential part, and to which it gave powerful impetus.

1 Corinthians – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 2008 | ISBN: 9780300140446

This new translation of First Corinthians includes an introduction and extensive commentary that has been composed to explain the religious meaning of this Pauline epistle. Joseph A. Fitzmyer discusses all the usual introductory problems associated with the epistle, including issues of its authorship, time of composition, and purpose, and he also presents a complete outline.

The author analyzes the epistle, pericope-by-pericope, discussing the meaning of each one in a comment and explaining details in the notes. The book supplies a bibliography on the various passages and problems for readers who wish to investigate further, and useful indexes complete the volume. First Corinthians will be of interest to general readers who wish to learn more about the Pauline letters, and also to pastors, college and university teachers, graduate students studying the Bible, and professors of biblical studies.

Replaced 1 Corinthians. – William F. Orr and James Arthur Walther | Published: 1976 | ISBN: 9780385028530

St. Paul’s 1 Corinthians stands as one of the Bible’s greatest masterpieces and certainly one of the greatest contributions to Christian theology. The epistle “to the church which is in Corinth . . . ” addresses itself to the basic tenets of Christian faith as well as down-to-earth matters of moral conduct and standards of Christian living, including such topics as speaking in tongues, the resurrection, the Lord’s Supper, and the problems of marriage. This letter also includes Paul’s memorable definition of Christian love.

The man who laid the foundations of Christian theology remains important not only for what he taught, but for who he was. Professors William F. Orr and James A. Walther ask—and answer—“What kind of man was Paul?” in their own extended introductory biography of the man: a look at his life, his ministry, and his beliefs.

William F. Orr is professor emeritus of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

James Arthur Walther is associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

II Corinthians – Victor Paul Furnish | Published: 1984 | ISBN: 9780385111997

Nothing speaks more highly for a commentary than how valuable it is to pastors and scholars, students, and interested readers. By all accounts, Victor Paul Furnish’s commentary on II Corinthians has become the standard by which others are judged. In addition, Furnish has “accomplished a difficult task with remarkable skill and apparent ease” (Biblical Theology Bulletin), and has given us “one of [the Anchor Yale Bible’s] finest studies” (Catholic Biblical Quarterly). In the internationally renowned tradition of the Anchor Yale Bible series, this commentary is an excellent and indispensable tool for biblical study.

Scholars rarely possess both the gift of academic excellence and the ability to communicate their expertise in an extremely readable fashion; but Furnish succeeds admirably with the right balance of scholarship and practical application, offered in the most accessible prose. With a mastery of primary languages and sources, and a lucid discussion of the first-century context of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, the reader enters the worldview of the original recipients of this hard-hitting letter. In the end, Furnish successfully navigates the maze of difficulties faced by the commentator and, thankfully, helps the general audience understand what II Corinthians says and means.

Galatians – J. Louis Martyn | Published: 1997 | ISBN: 9780385088381

As the early church took shape in the mid-first century AD, a theological struggle of great consequence was joined between the apostle Paul and certain theologians who had intruded into the churches founded by the apostle in Galatia. Writing his letter to the Galatians in the midst of that struggle, Paul was concerned to find a way by which he could assert the radical newness of God’s act in Christ while still affirming the positive relation of that act to the solemn promise God had made centuries earlier to Abraham.

With the skill of a seasoned scholar and teacher, J. Louis Martyn enables us to take imaginary seats in the Galatian churches so that we may hear Paul’s words with the ears of the early Christians themselves. Listening in this manner, we begin to sense the dramatic intensity of the theological struggle, thus coming to understand the crucial distinctions between the theology of Paul and that of his opponents. We can therefore see why Galatians proved to be a momentous turning point in early Christianity: In this letter Paul preached the decisive and liberating newness of Christ while avoiding both the distortions of anti-Judaism and his opponents’ reduction of Christ to a mere episode in the epic of Israel’s history. Like the Galatians of Paul’s day, we can begin to hear what the apostle himself called “the truth of the gospel.”

Galatians successfully makes available all the significant historical and linguistic knowledge which bears on the interpretation of this important New Testament book. A personal letter written by Paul in the mid-first century to friends in the churches emerging in the region of Galatia, where it was circulated, Galatians is down to earth and pragmatic. This biblical book requires the modern reader to take a seat in one of the Galatian congregations, to listen to Paul’s letter with Galatian ears, and discern the contours of Paul’s theology.

That is exactly what J. Louis Martyn makes possible in his marvelous commentary, with its careful translation and creative interpretation of Galatians. Though relatively brief, Paul’s letter is filled with complex theological and historical issues that demand a thorough treatment. Readers will not be disappointed in J. Louis Martyn’s sensitive handling of difficult passages, and all will be delighted to have a fresh translation that makes sense to our modern ears. All in all, this volume will stand out as a shining example of top notch scholarship written for the general reader.

J. Louis Martyn is Edward Robinson Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He has written books and scholarly articles on various New Testament topics, notably Theological Issues in the Letters of Paul.

Ephesians 1–3 – Markus Barth | Published: 1974 | ISBN: 9780300140712

Encompassing the body of Pauline theology, Ephesians has been called “the crown of St. Paul’s writings,” yet both its authorship and addressees are the subject of continuing dispute. Through line-by-line examination of its vocabulary, its difficult style, its Qumran and Gnostic affinities, its parallels with and distinctions from the undisputed Pauline corpus, its use of the Old Testament, and its dialogue with orthodox and heretical Judaism, Markus Barth demonstrates that Paul was almost certainly the author. And, after exploring previous explications of this hymnic and admonitory epistle in detail, he concludes that it was intended for gentile Christians converted after Paul’s visits to Ephesus.

On this basis, Barth re-examines the relationship between Israel and the church, discounting the thesis that Ephesians suggests an “early Catholic,” or high-ecclesiastic or sacramental doctrine. Instead, he finds in this letter a statement of the social reconciliation which conditions the salvation of the individual. And re-evaluating the section describing the relation between husband and wife, he offers an alternative to the traditional notion that Paul degrades women or belittles their rights and their dignity.

Markus Barth, the son of Karl Barth, held the New Testament chair at the University of Basel, Switzerland, until his death in July 1994. He is coauthor of The Letter to Philemon in the Eerdmans Critical Commentary Series (4 vols.).

Ephesians 4–6 – Markus Barth | Published: 1974 | ISBN: 9780385080378

In these two volumes Markus Barth has followed the structure of Ephesians: upon the praise of God (chapters 1–3) are based the admonitions (chapters 4–6). But just as the epistle is an integral whole, so is the author’s commentary. Through his special understanding and love of the apostle Paul, Markus Barth reopens to modern man the ancient message of love, worship and joy.

Philippians – John Reumann | Published: 2008 | ISBN: 9780300140453

In Philippians John Reumann offers both classical approaches and new methods of understanding this New Testament book. With fresh commentary on the social world and rhetorical criticism, and a special focus on the contributions of the Philippian house churches to Paul’s work and early Christian mission, Reumann clarifies Paul’s attitudes toward and interactions with the Philippians.

Departing from traditional readings of Philippians in light of Acts, Reumann allows Paul to speak in his own right. His three letters from Ephesus shed new light on relationships, and we come to see how he approves some aspects of the dominant “culture of friendship” in Greco-Roman Philippi while disapproving of others. He seeks to help the Philippians discern how to be citizens of the heavenly kingdom and also Caesar’s state, though there is an undercurrent of “Christ vs. Caesar.” Scholars, students, and general readers alike will find much of interest in John Reumann’s deeply researched and insightful new volume.

John Reumann was Ministerium of Pennsylvania Professor of New Testament and Greek, emeritus, at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, where he taught for some 50 years. He studied and wrote on Philippians for over 30 years. He died in 2008.

Colossians – Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke | Published: 1995 | ISBN: 9780385110686

The Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Colossians offers a valuable and intimate glimpse into the life of a fledgling Christian community as it struggled to define Christian doctrine and theology. Paul was prompted to write to the Colossian assembly when he heard that “false teachers” had joined the congregation and were advocating dangerous, non-Christian practices. In an effort to appear superior, these heretical teachers were luring Christians to exercise asceticism, moral rigorism, and esoteric rituals—hallmarks of other “mystery” and pagan cults. In his passionate letter, Paul denounces these extreme and elitist practices and firmly defends a life in Christ. He proclaims that pure, simple worship of Christ alone is the most powerful statement of faith.

In their astute and lucid commentary, eminent New Testament scholars Markus Barth and Helmut Blanke re-create the turbulent age of the birth of Christianity and examine the myriad “outside” influences—from cold, rational Hellenistic philosophy to exclusive, ethereal Gnostic thought—that often threatened the evolution of Christian theology. Colossians not only provides a new and carefully balanced analysis of this pivotal New Testament text but also chronicles the development of Christian thought as it gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire.

The Letters to the Thessalonians – Abraham J. Malherbe | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780385184601

In AD 49, Paul traveled to Thessalonica, a major city in northern Greece, to preach the gospel. A small group of manual laborers responded positively to his message, resulting in the formation of a church. After spending less than three months with his converts, Paul left the city for southern Greece, ending up in Corinth, from where he wrote two letters to the Thessalonians four months or so after he had left them. These epistles are particularly valuable because they reveal the concerns of Christians new to the faith and Paul’s pastoral care as he guides them.

Abraham J. Malherbe vividly describes the social, cultural, religious, and philosophical contexts in which the Thessalonians lived, enabling us to better understand Paul’s missives. Detailed introductions to the letters, a new translation, and a lively, enlightening commentary make this an indispensable volume for scholar and layperson alike.

Abraham J. Malherbe is Buckingham Professor Emeritus of New Testament Criticism and interpretation at Yale University. His many scholarly publications, like this present volume, are concerned with the literary and social dimensions of ancient literature and with Greco-Roman philosophy.

The First and Second Letters to Timothy – Luke Timothy Johnson | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780300139884

The letters of Paul to Timothy, one of his favorite delegates, often make for difficult reading in today’s world. They contain much that makes modern readers uncomfortable, and much that is controversial, including pronouncements on the place of women in the church and on homosexuality, as well as polemics against the so-called “false teachers.” They have also been of a source of questions within the scholarly community, where the prevailing opinion since the nineteenth century is that someone else wrote the letters and signed Paul’s name in order to give them greater authority.

Using the best of modern and ancient scholarship, Luke Timothy Johnson provides clear, accessible commentary that will help lay readers navigate the letters and better understand their place within the context of Paul’s teachings.

Luke Timothy Johnson is professor of New Testament at the Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Letter to Titus – Jerome D. Quinn | Published: 1990 | ISBN 9780300140262

The letter to Titus, one of the three “Pastoral Epistles” of the New Testament, has over the last 20 years become the ground of intense controversy—theologically, sociologically, even politically. For this letter (like its companions, I and II Timothy) dates to a time when the apostles are gone and a new church leadership is evolving. In Titus we read instruction that is of continuing importance to the Christian faithful, touching on issues that are with us yet—leadership in the church and qualifications for authority; propriety of worship; the roles of women; the demands of the Christian ethic upon individuals; the relationship of the new followers of Christ with their Jewish contemporaries.

Jerome D. Quinn guides us ably through the shoals of contemporary controversy among scholars, dealing definitively with issues of authorship, place of origin, original audience, and the purpose of the Pastorals. More than this, he sets before us his integrated vision of these letters as the earliest anthology on the subject of pastoral leadership. The crowning achievement of a lifetime of admirable work in biblical studies, these translations and commentaries will stand as Quinn’s monument for generations to come.

Jerome D. Quinn, who died in the final stages of preparation of this book, had a long and fruitful life in biblical scholarship. Since 1961, he was professor of Old and New Testament and the Hebrew Language at Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota, after he had received his degree from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

Letter to Philemon – Joseph A. Fitzmyer | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780300140552

The apostle Paul’s letter to his friend and fellow Christian Philemon, which focuses on the question of slavery, has long inspired debate. Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves, has left his master’s house and sought refuge with Paul, during which time he has converted to Christianity. In a letter to Philemon, Paul assures his friend that he is sending Onesimus back, but pleads for mercy on the slave’s behalf, asking Philemon to treat him as a beloved brother and as he would treat the apostle himself.

Examining Paul’s letter within the context of the social, political, and economic realities of the time, Joseph A. Fitzmyer sheds light on the question of whether Paul was suggesting that Onesimus be granted freedom from slavery or whether he was simply advocating a lenient treatment of Onesimus. His insights not only clarify Paul’s position but show why the letter is relevant in the Church today.

Hebrews – Craig R. Koester | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780385468930

One of early Christianity’s most carefully crafted sermons, Epistle to the Hebrews addresses listeners who have experienced the elation of conversion and the heat of hostility, but who now must confront the formidable task of remaining faithful in a society that rejects their commitments. The letter probes into the one of most profound questions of faith: If it is God’s will that believers be crowned with glory and honor, why are the faithful subject to suffering and shame? Through the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses, and Rahab, whose faith enabled them to overcome severe trials and conflicts, and through the story of Jesus himself, whose sufferings opened the way to God’s presence for all, the sermon confirms the foundations of the Christian faith.

In a magisterial introduction, Craig R. Koester presents a compelling portrait of the early Christian community and examines the debates that have surrounded Epistle to the Hebrews for two millennia. Drawing on his knowledge of classical rhetoric, he clarifies the book’s arguments and discusses the use of evocative language and imagery to appeal to its audience’s minds, emotions, and will. Providing an authoritative, accessible discussion of the book’s high priestly Christology, this landmark commentary charts new directions for the interpretation of Epistle to the Hebrews and its influence on Christian theology and worship.

Craig R. Koester is professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Replaced To the Hebrews – George Wesley Buchanan | Published: 1972 | ISBN: 9780385029957

The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude – Bo Reicke | Published: 1964 | ISBN: 9780385013741

The Letter of James – Luke Timothy Johnson | Published: 1995 | ISBN: 9780385413602

The letter of James is one of the most significant, yet generally overlooked, New Testament books. Because Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, disliked this letter for its emphasis on good deeds, the book has come to be viewed as being in opposition to Paul’s letters, which emphasize faith in God. To correct these and other misconceptions about James, Luke Timothy Johnson embarks on an unprecedented history of the interpretation of this pivotal letter, highlighting the vast appreciation for James over the centuries.

Johnson boldly identifies the first-century author as none other than James, the brother of Jesus Christ. While modern skepticism casts doubt on this conclusion, early textual witnesses, as well as saints and scholars throughout the centuries, corroborate Johnson’s position.

A thorough examination of the original-language texts and an explanation of the literary context of James help illuminate the original meaning of the letter. Johnson’s sensitivity to both the biblical text and the sensibilities of the modern reader, coupled with his convincing scholarly presentation, set this apart as one of the premier commentaries on James for present and future generations.

1 Peter – John H. Elliott | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780385413633

The significance of 1 Peter for the formation of Christianity stands in sharp contrast to its brevity. John H. Elliott, a leading authority on this letter, brings its significance to life in this magnificent addition to the renowned Anchor Yale Bible.

Elliott sets the letter into context, covering its literary, historical, theological, and linguistic elements. In detailed, accessible discussions, he draws on the latest research to illuminate the social and cultural influences on the church in its initial years. Treating such important Petrine concerns as living honorably in a hostile society, finding meaning in suffering, and resisting social assimilation as the elect and holy family of God, the translation, notes, and commentary in this volume will help readers appreciate the powerful and enduring message of this fascinating letter.

John H. Elliott is professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Francisco, a Lutheran clergyman, and a co-founder of the Context Group.

2 Peter, Jude – Jerome H. Neyrey | Published: 1993 | ISBN: 9780385413626

Jerome H. Neyrey gives us a thoroughly up-to-date and comprehensive study of two of the most obscure books of the New Testament. Written after the death of Jesus and his Apostles, the Epistles of 2 Peter and Jude offer a glimpse into the turbulent life of the early Christian communities. Neyrey’s fascinating study not only provides an entirely new translation of the two texts, but also stirring commentary that takes the reader inside groups located at the very edges of Christianity, in contact with the wider Roman world and Greek culture of the day.

Neyrey builds upon the excellent scholarship of the past, and introduces readers to the discussion factors that were rarely understood or considered in earlier times: the social, political, and economic setting in which the New Testament Epistles were written and read—the church as a community within the larger context of the vast Roman empire of the late first and early second centuries. And while these letters are often considered peripheral or marginal to the New Testament, they nevertheless reveal and interpret one of the murkier eras in the life of the church. They reflect the hard times and difficult circumstances of the faithful, beset by treacherous comrades within and malevolent enemies without. But all the while, these documents express the constancy and commitment of those who found salvation and the renewal of life in the one Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jerome H. Neyrey, a Jesuit priest, is professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame. He received his PhD from Yale University, is a past associate editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and is currently associate editor of the Biblical Theology Bulletin.

Epistles of John – Raymond E. Brown | Published: 1982 | ISBN: 9780385056861

With this study—companion to the masterful two volume The Gospel according to John—Raymond E. Brown completed his trilogy on the Johannine corpus. Meticulous in detail, exhaustive in analysis, persuasive in argument, it examines controversies that have long troubled both biblical scholars and lay readers. Questions of authorship, composition, and dating, as well as the debate over source theories, are discussed at length; but these are kept subordinate to the overall question of meaning.

What gives this commentary special interest and excitement is the bold, imaginative reconstruction of the setting of the Johannine work—in particular of the “opposition figures,” who are only dimly sketched in the Epistles—so that we see clearly that the author is writing to his flock both about the dangers and difficulties confronting them, and about the eternal life that is theirs by the gift of God. In this way, the Epistles of John become intelligible as broadsides in a critical engagement between the forces of light and darkness.

In addition to his superb textual analysis of the letters, Raymond E. Brown has brought to life the community in which these works were formed and shaped. We are forcefully reminded that the Gospel and the Epistles were addressed to very real people living in the first century AD, people with religious problems not unlike our own. In all respects, The Epistles of John stands out as a model of biblical scholarship and study.

Revelation – Craig R. Koester | Published: 2014 | ISBN: 9780300144888

Replaced Revelation – J. Massyngberde Ford | Published: 1975 | ISBN: 9780385008952

The book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse of John, encourages Christians to be faithful to their Lord, Jesus Christ, through a rich mixture of symbolism and images. Perhaps the most puzzling book in all of Scripture, Revelation introduces bowls and scrolls, saints and angels, horsemen and beasts, the bride and the lamb, in a wondrous end-times drama. The scene shifts from cataclysmic battles to the climax of a new heaven and new earth. In the end, the reader is exhorted to heed the words of this stunning prophecy.

J. Ford addresses the seemingly infinite questions surrounding the book of Revelation. Issues of authorship, date, literary composition, theology, audience, purpose, and the meaning of John’s now obscure symbolism occupy Ford throughout. Traditionally, Revelation is the final New Testament book, but its theology, imagery, and historical content suggest it might be the transitional link between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Contrary to general scholarly opinion, Ford identifies the writer as the Hebrew prophet and forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist, not John the Evangelist. She conjectures that the Baptist spread his fiery apocalyptic visions decades before the first Gospels were completed.

Along with a fresh new translation of the book, the author’s insightful commentary and unique conclusions make for captivating reading. In light of both ancient writings and recent archaeological discoveries, Ford shows what this baffling work meant to first-century believers, and what it means for Christians today.

J. Massyngberde Ford is professor of New Testament studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Old Testament Commentaries

Genesis – Ronald S. Hendel (forthcoming)

Genesis – Ephraim A. Speiser | Published: 1964 | ISBN: 9780300140255

The stories of Genesis have inspired more artwork than perhaps any other single piece of literature. A book full of creative expression, Genesis offers inspiring and gripping images that no artist can resist: from the two creation stories to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, from the Tower of Babel to Noah and the flood, from Abraham to Joseph. Biblical scholars and theologians find the book equally alluring, and Ephraim A. Speiser is a giant among the many who have wrestled with this complex book.

A master of the original languages, fully immersed in the literature of the ancient Near East, and unparalleled in his use of archaeology and comparative religion to understand the Bible, Speiser is an incomparable commentator. For over 30 years his translations, textual analysis, and commentary comparing biblical stories to those found throughout the Ancient Near East have helped students and scholar, layperson and clergy understand Genesis. As he says in his Introduction, he is “not motivated by mere pedantry…but by the hope that each new insight may bring us that much closer to the secret of the Bible’s universal and enduring appeal.” Not surprisingly, therefore, Speiser’s wisdom and insights are an enduring tribute to his legacy as a commentator.

Ephraim A. Speiser, before his death in 1965, was chairman of the department of Oriental studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Exodus 1–18 – William H. C. Propp | Published: 1999 | ISBN: 9780385148047

Exodus is the heart of the Hebrew Bible, the defining moment in Israel’s birth as a people, the dramatic triumph of their God. Yahweh, Pharaoh, Moses, Aaron, the Hebrew slaves, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea—these larger-than-life characters and epoch events capture the imagination of everyone from biblical scholars to film makers. However, the meaning and significance, the beauty and the nuance, of this captivating book are lost unless we have a world-class Scripture scholar to open our eyes to its riches.

In Exodus 1–18, William H. C. Propp translates the original text in all its grandeur, then provides a masterful exploration and analysis of the book’s first 18 chapters. Here the fate of the Hebrew slaves hangs in the balance of the dramatic conflict between the God of Israel and the Pharaoh of Egypt. From the discovery of Moses in a basket made of bulrushes to the story of the burning bush, from the 10 plagues visited upon Egypt by God to water from the rock and quail and manna from the skies, Exodus is filled with the miraculous and the dramatic.

Exodus 19–40 – William H. C. Propp | Published: 2006 | ISBN: 9780300139396

The conclusion of William H. C. Propp’s masterful study of Exodus, this informative, clearly written commentary provides a new perspective on Israelite culture and on the role of ritual, law, and covenant in biblical religion.

Exodus 19–40 sets a new standard in biblical scholarship. Thorough and up-to-date, it is the first commentary on Exodus to include critical textual evidence from the recently edited Dead Sea Scrolls. Informed by Propp’s deep understanding of ancient cultural mores and religious traditions, it casts new light on the Israelites’ arrival at Sinai, their entry into a covenant with God, their reception of the Law, their worship of the golden calf, and their reconciliation to God. The incisive commentary on the building of the Holy Tabernacle—God’s wilderness abode—is supplemented by numerous illustrations that clarify the biblical text.

Propp extends the scope and relevance of this major work in five appendixes that discuss the literary formation of the Torah, the historicity of the Exodus tradition, the origins of Israelite monotheism, the Exodus theme in the Bible, and the future of Old Testament scholarship. By taking an anthropological rather than strictly theological approach, Propp places familiar stories within a fresh context. The result is a fully accessible guide to one of the most important and best known books of the Bible.

William H. C. Propp is a professor of history and Judaic studies at the University of California, San Diego. He has written on the Hebrew Bible for such respected scholarly journals as the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vetus Testamentum, and Bible Review.

Leviticus 1–16 – Jacob Milgrom | Published: 1998 | ISBN: 9780300139402

At the beginning of his academic career, author Jacob Milgrom determined to make his lifework a probing study of the Laws of the Torah. Here, with Leviticus 1–16, the first of three volumes on Leviticus, he has reached the pinnacle of his long pursuit. No other contemporary commentary matches Milgrom’s comprehensive work on this much misunderstood and often under-appreciated biblical book.

In this richly detailed volume, the author traverses the shoals of legal thought and liturgical practice in ancient Israel. He clearly explains the role of the Tabernacle of the Wilderness as the all-important center of Israelite worship, the locus of the priestly orders, sacrificial rituals, and practices of purity to which the congregation repaired for penitence and reconciliation, restoration, and renewal. At the heart of the dwelling place of God was the real presence of the God of Israel, present through his splendor in the midst of the camp and the congregation—a permanent sign of the unique privilege and responsibility of Israel, perceived as a worshipping and serving people.

Jacob Milgrom, an ordained rabbi active in his profession, is emeritus professor of Hebrew and Bible at the University of California, Berkeley. Distinguished author of four books and over 10 scholarly articles on the Bible, Milgrom is a Guggenheim fellow, a Fulbright fellow, a fellow of the Institute of Advanced studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research.

Leviticus 17–22 – Jacob Milgrom | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780300140569

Jacob Milgrom, a rabbi and Bible scholar, has devoted the bulk of his career to examining the laws of the Torah. His incisive commentary on Leviticus, which began with Leviticus 1–16, continues in this second of three volumes. It provides an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of ethical values concealed in Israel’s rituals. Although at first glance Leviticus seems far removed from the modern-day world, Milgrom’s thoughtful and provocative comments and notes reveal its enduring relevance for contemporary society.

Leviticus 17–22 brings us to the heart of the book. These chapters focus mainly on the practice of holiness required of laity and priest alike. The commandments that lead to holiness are detailed in chapter 19, the core of the book, if not the whole Torah. The acme of this chapter, the author maintains, is not “love your neighbor (fellow Israelites) as yourself,” but “love him (the alien) as yourself,” endowing him with equal civil rights.

With its English translations that convey the nuance and power of the original Hebrew, this trilogy will take its place alongside the best of the Anchor Yale Bible.

Leviticus 23–27 – Jacob Milgrom | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780385500357

Jacob Milgrom’s incisive commentary on Leviticus, which began with Leviticus 1–16 and Leviticus 17–22, continues in this last volume of three. It provides an authoritative and comprehensive explanation of ethical values concealed in Israel’s rituals. Leviticus 23–27 brings us to the climactic end of the book and its revolutionary innovations, among which are the evolution of the festival calendar with its emphasis on folk traditions, and the jubilee, the priestly answer to the socio-economic problems of their time.

Numbers 1–20 – Baruch A. Levine | Published: 1993 | ISBN: 9780300140774

The book of Numbers—from the numbering or census of the people in the opening chapters—is a much-neglected part of the Torah, the five books of Moses, which constitutes the heart of Holy Scriptures for Jews, while also forming an integral part of the Bible for Christians.

The book of Numbers is an account of the young would-be nation of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness after the magnificent event at Sinai, where Moses speaks with God face-to-face and receives the Ten Commandments. Throughout this time of trial, the people complain, sensing the contrast between the relative security of slavery in Egypt, from which they have fled, and the precarious insecurity of freedom in the wilderness.

Numbers is a book filled with power struggles, raising questions about who speaks for God, along with personal and communal crises of faith and rumors of revolt. Yet despite the people’s blindness and rebelliousness, God remains faithful to the promises made to Israel’s ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Moses—and remains at Israel’s side, guiding her slowly but surely to the Promised Land. In all, Numbers describes a terrific journey of discipline and dependence upon the God who liberated the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt: a journey to strengthen Israel for the challenge of a new and wondrous land and the battles she will have to fight in order to claim and keep it.

Despite the importance of the book of Numbers, its rich collection of stories is not easily assimilated, even by the most conscientious of readers. As such, it requires the help of an expert guide to thread one’s way through this mixture of interesting episodes and anecdotes on the one hand, and the many lists, prescriptive rules, ritual regulations, and repeated admonitions on the other. Baruch A. Levine shows us the way into this difficult and sometimes forbidding book of the Bible, and we can be confident of our guide, and secure in the knowledge that the one who led us into the thicket will lead us out again into a broad and fair land.

Baruch A. Levine is the Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University. Ordained early in his career, eventually he moved from the synagogue to the classroom, shaping a generation of future rabbis, clergy, and scholars. In his long and distinguished career, he has published widely on the books and themes of the Torah, including the volume on Leviticus in the JPS Torah Commentary Collection.

Numbers 21–36 – Baruch A. Levine | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780300139426

The book of Numbers is an account of how the Israelites wandered in the wilderness after receiving the Ten Commandments of Mount Sinai. Through this time of testing, while facing an uncertain future, the people complained repeatedly to Moses and to God. Though fraught with tension and power struggles, their pilgrimage led to the discovery that God is indeed faithful to his promises, regardless of how people behave.

In Numbers 21–36, world-renowned Bible scholar Baruch A. Levine unravels the complexity and confusing details in this Old Testament book. His lucid translation, based on thorough textual and linguistic research, including the ancient Deir Alla texts, opens the door for modern readers to understand and appreciate the richness of this intriguing book. Further, Levine examines the route of the wilderness wanderings, the ancient Near Eastern context of the laws, the social organization of early Israel, and the meaning of this biblical book for the contemporary world. Numbers 21–36 is destined to become a classic and to share the same glowing reception that greeted Numbers 1–20 and its publication.

Deuteronomy 1–11 – Moshe Weinfeld | Published: 1991 | ISBN: 9780385175937

Deuteronomy 1–11 is here presented in a ground-breaking new translation, with a comprehensive introduction and thorough commentary by world-renowned Israeli biblical scholar Moshe Weinfeld. The “second law,” Deuteronomy portrays Moses as the founder and great lawgiver of Israel. In a series of addresses, Moses reviews his life and the life of God’s people. He reminds them of the guiding hand of God, which has brought them thus far along the way, and will bring their Exodus and wanderings to a triumphal conclusion in the Holy Land.

Through a beautiful translation and insightful comments in this first of two volumes on Deuteronomy, Weinfeld reinvigorates the basic laws of society with their life-giving power: the Shema (“Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”) and the Great Commandment (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”). These laws govern Israelite religious and communal life under God’s guidance.

Moshe Weinfeld is the foremost commentator on the Deuteronomist and the Deuteronomic School. He is professor of biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Deuteronomy 12-34 (forthcoming)

Joshua – 1-12 – Thomas B. Deozeman | Published: 2015

Joshua – 13-24 – Thomas B. Dozeman (forthcoming)

Replaced Joshua – Robert G. Boling and G. Ernest Wright | Published: 1995 | ISBN: 9780385000345

Judges 1–12 – Jack M. Sasson | Published: 2014 | ISBN: 9780300190335

Replaced Judges – Robert G. Boling | Published: 1974 | ISBN: 9780385010290

The book of Judges records the birth pangs of the Israelite nation. From the Conquest to the Settlement, the conflicts in this book (military, political, and religious) reveal a nascent Israel, struggling to define itself as a people.

The period of the Judges, c. 1200–1100 BC, was fraught with inter-tribal struggles, skirmishes, and pitched battles with neighboring peoples, and the constant threat of assimilation. The Israelites repeatedly turned away from their God: ignored his commandments, worshipped other gods, and continually sinned. Yahweh raised up judges to lead the people back to covenant faithfulness. In their several roles as priest, prophet, and military chief of staff, these judges heeded God’s call and led the people. In the book of Judges, we get rare glimpses into the exceptional qualities and human frailties of these leaders. The approachable stories, the humor, and even the criticism of the children of Israel and the judges surprisingly illuminate a people in transition.

Robert G. Boling is a minister of the United Presbyterian Church and a professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. He belongs to the American Schools of Oriental Research, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society of Biblical Literature, and is editor of the journal Biblical Research.

Ruth – Jeremy Schipper | Published: 2016 | ISBN: 9780300192155

Replaced Ruth – Edward F. Campbell Jr. | Published: 1975 | ISBN: 9780385053167

Ruth, a tale of human kindness and just dealing far beyond the norm, contains elements that for centuries have been the subject of debate. With a sprightly translation and a commentary rich in informed speculation, Edward Campbell considers the questions of layman and scholar alike.

Finding no overt mighty acts, the layman asks, “Why was Ruth included in the Bible at all? Where is God?” Campbell shows that God is not only present throughout but is indeed the moving force behind all the developments of the story. Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz each act as God to each other, by taking extraordinary responsibility and performing extraordinary acts of kindness. And it is God who is responsible for the series of coincidences on which the plot hinges.

The scholar’s questions deal with such matters as purpose, date, and genre. Campbell’s research into ancient customs and linguistics suggests to him that Ruth is a historical novelette, entertaining and instructive, composed not long after the reign of King David, during the time of Solomon or within the subsequent century. Campbell demonstrates the storyteller’s skill with sensitive analysis of form, pacing, and wordplay. By delving into word origins and nuances he shows how convincingly the characters are developed. One instance: Naomi and Boaz use obsolescent language, emphasizing the generation gap between them and Ruth.

In addition, the illustrations help the reader understand unfamiliar elements of the story—the setting, the agricultural seasons and harvesting, the clothing of the times, the city gate where elders and interested villagers gather to make sure that all is done in a just and godly way.

Edward F. Campbell Jr. is professor of Old Testament at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

I Samuel – P. Kyle McCarter Jr. | Published: 1980 | ISBN: 9780385067607

The two books of Samuel narrate the establishment and expansion of the Kingdom of Israel. From Samuel’s providential birth, to his appointment of Saul as Israel’s first king, to the demise of Saul and the rise of David as his successor, I and II Samuel are filled with the stuff of Israel’s everyday experience. Religious, political, economic, military, agricultural, and many other features of the Middle Eastern landscape populate this sacred narrative.

A thorough analysis of textual and literary sources, as well as an examination of the larger ancient Near Eastern context of the period, leads P. Kyle McCarter Jr., to descriptions of the people, places, customs, and noteworthy features of the language of I Samuel. For McCarter, a key issue is accounting for the historical circumstances that led to the composition of the books of Samuel. In dialogue with major schools of thought pertaining to the origin and transmission of I Samuel, the author offers his scholarly opinions on its composition. McCarter presents a unique new translation based upon the latest and most extensive textual sources available, including scrolls and fragments from Qumran. Furthermore, he disentangles the complicated textual history of Samuel.

P. Kyle McCarter Jr. is William F. Albright Professor in Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He holds degrees from Harvard University, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the University of Oklahoma. He is a contributor to Ancient Israel, Aspects of Monotheism, and The Rise of Ancient Israel.

II Samuel – P. Kyle McCarter Jr. | Published: 1984 | ISBN: 9780385068086

II Samuel completes P. Kyle McCarter Jr.’s study of the book of Samuel. In this volume, McCarter continues the discussion of textual and literary sources as they relate to a reconstruction of historical events.

A key issue for McCarter is accounting for the historical circumstances that led to the composition of the book of Samuel. In dialogue with major schools of thought pertaining to the origin and transmission of the book, the author offers his scholarly opinions on its composition. McCarter presents a unique new translation based upon the latest and most extensive textual sources available, including scrolls and fragments from Qumran. Furthermore, he resolves the complicated textual history of Samuel.

P. Kyle McCarter Jr. is William F. Albright Professor in Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He holds degrees from Harvard University, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the University of Oklahoma. He is a contributor to Ancient Israel, Aspects of Monotheism, and The Rise of Ancient Israel.

I Kings – Mordechai Cogan | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780300140538

Beginning with the death of David and the rise of Solomon, I Kings charts the history of Israel through the divided monarchy, when Ahab reigned in the north and Jehoshaphat reigned in the south. Mordechai Cogan’s translation brings new immediacy to well-known passages, such as Solomon’s famously wise judgment when asked by two prostitutes to decide their dispute regarding motherhood of a child: “Cut the live son in two! And give half to one and half to the other.” With a bibliography that runs to almost a thousand articles and books, Cogan’s commentary demonstrates his mastery of the political history described by I Kings, as well as the themes of moral and religious failure that eventually led to Israel’s defeat and exile.

Mordechai Cogan received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. He is a professor in the department of history of the Jewish People at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

II Kings – Mordechai Cogan and Hayim Tadmor | Published: 1998 | ISBN: 9780300140743

II Kings is the chronicle of the raging conflicts that tore the united kingdom of Israel apart, creating the rival nations of Israel to the north and Judah to the south. It tells of the time of the great prophecies of Elijah and Elisha, and of the legendary conquerors of not only the Jews, but the whole of the Middle East—Sennacherib, Hazael, Tiglath-pileser III, Nebuchadnezzar, and Shalmaneser.

The book of II Kings was written with a dual purpose. It provided a chronological history of the divided kingdoms of Israel, from the time of division, through the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and the final exile of the Jews into Babylonia. It also served as a reminder to all Israelite monarchs that their loyalty to the God of Israel, as worshipped in Jerusalem, determined the course of history. In his telling of the story, the book’s author emphasized to his contemporaries and future generations that in order to avert the calamities that befell the Chosen People (their conquest by non-believers, the destruction of Jerusalem, and their ignominious exile), they would have to avoid a repetition of the misdeeds of the past. If they remained loyal to their God, their God would remain loyal to them.

Complete with maps, charts, photographs, and extra-biblical documentation, II Kings presents an important and illuminating new translation which explores a tumultuous epoch of change that forever affected theological and world history.

Mordechai Cogan received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. He is a professor in the department of history of the Jewish People at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Hayim Tadmor is a professor of Assyriology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

I Chronicles 1–9 – Gary N. Knoppers | Published: 2003 | ISBN: 9780300139525

Who were the Israelites? Was Israel’s first king, Saul, a hero or a disaster? Was David a gifted and accomplished leader or a murderer and a cheat? Did Solomon preside over the most glorious epoch in Israelite history or did he lead the nation into a fateful decline?

In I Chronicles 1–9, the distinguished scholar Gary Knoppers addresses these questions through a thoughtful and exacting reading of one of the last books of the Hebrew Bible. He shows that Chronicles, which contains a variety of viewpoints on the major events and people, provides a distinct perspective on much of Israel’s past, especially the monarchy. He discusses how the chronicler’s introduction to the people of Israel redefines Israel itself; explains and defends the transition from Saul to David; and shows how the Davidic-Solomonic monarchy was not only a time of incomparable achievement and glory, but also the period during which the nation’s most important public institutions—the Davidic dynasty, the Jerusalem Temple, the priests, and the Levites—took formative shape.

I Chronicles 1–9 systematically employs the Dead Sea Scrolls to reconstruct the biblical author’s text. Knoppers reveals how Chronicles is related to and creatively drawn from many earlier biblical books, and presents a fascinating look at its connections, in both compositional style and approach, to the historical writings of ancient Mesopotamia and classical Greece.

Gary N. Knoppers is head of the department of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies at Penn State University. In addition to writing and editing three books, he has published articles in such scholarly publications as Biblica, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

Replaced 1 Chronicles – Jacob M. Myers | Published: 1965 | ISBN: 9780385012591

I Chronicles 10–29 – Gary N. Knoppers | Published: 2004 | ISBN: 9780300139532

What was the place of the monarchy in the history of ancient Israel? Was Israel’s first king Saul a hero or a disaster? Was David a highly gifted leader and accomplished king or a murderer and a cheat? Did Solomon preside over the most glorious epoch in Israelite history or did he lead the nation into a fateful decline? Gary N. Knoppers shows how the Bible itself contains a variety of fascinating perspectives on major events and characters. One of the most misunderstood books of the Bible, Chronicles presents a distinctive and important viewpoint on much of Israel’s past, especially the monarchy.

I Chronicles 10–29 systematically employs the Dead Sea Scrolls to reconstruct the biblical author’s text. Knoppers reveals how Chronicles is related to and creatively drawn from many earlier biblical books, and presents a fascinating look at its connections, in both compositional style and approach, to the historical writings of ancient Mesopotamia and classical Greece.

II Chronicles – Jacob M. Myers | Published: 1965 | ISBN: 9780385037570

II Chronicles is a crucial book for historians of the biblical period and for students of the Bible. Like I Chronicles, it has been both over—and undervalued. In recent years it has, certainly, suffered undue neglect.

However, II Chronicles is to be neither accepted as a faithful narrative of the period of biblical history from Solomon to Cyrus nor dismissed as an imaginative re-creation of that history. It must be taken as an important clue to the biblical process, for here we find the Bible quoting itself—sometimes directly, sometimes in paraphrase.

Jacob M. Myers has set before himself the enormous task of organizing and correlating the evidence to be found in II Chronicles. Meticulously, he analyzes important aspects of the Chronicler and his work—his method of composition, his conviction that to rebuild the nation of Israel one had to restore and strengthen her traditional religion, his significant post-Exilic perspective. The book also examines the vast literature on Chronicles to find what it yields toward a better understanding of the chronicler and a fuller appreciation of his work. The appendixes in the book provide a list of the parallels and paraphrases that relate Chronicles to other books of the Bible, and genealogical charts summarize the family histories to be found in Chronicles.

Jacob M. Myers was professor of Old Testament at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania until his death in 1991.

Ezra and Nehemiah – Jacob M. Myers | Published: 1965 | ISBN: 9780385046954

Ezra and Nememiah in the acclaimed Anchor Bible series continues the spiritual history of Jerusalem begun in II Chronicles; they relate the return of the Jewish people to their home from exile in Babylonia and the revitalization of the Jewish religion. Two remarkable personalities—with strikingly different approaches to the same objective—played dominant roles in this rebuilding of a nation. Ezra, the learned, pious, scribal priest, known among his contemporaries as “the second Moses,” was the architect of spiritual reform. Nehemiah, the forceful, shrewd, resourceful administrator, was the master international politician.

The importance of Ezra and Nememiah is, however, not only historical. With I And II Chronicles, believed to be written by the same author, Ezra and Nememiah comprise of an exceedingly complex jigsaw puzzle of parallels, direct quotes, and retellings, in some cases, of the same stories—all of which is, perhaps, more absorbing for the scholar than for the layman. But a study of Ezra and Nememiah—and the conclusions to which it leads—is crucial to an understanding of who wrote which portions of the Bible, how and when they came to be written, and what that understanding tells us ultimately about how the Bible, bit by bit over a period of almost 1,000 years, came into being.

Ezra and Nehemiah – Tamara Cohn Eskenazi (forthcoming)

Esther – Carey A. Moore | Published: 1971 | ISBN: 9780385004725

Esther, the biblical book named after the beautiful Jewish woman chosen by the Persian King Xerxes to be queen, is a story of love, political intrigue, and religious faithfulness. Carey A. Moore combines his treatment of scholarly issues with an engaging explanation of the popular Jewish festival of Purim.

One of three biblical and extra-biblical books named after women (Esther, Ruth, and Judith), Esther reads like a novel, with its fast-paced, action-packed story. Drawing on ancient tales of court intrigue and Midrashic sources, the author captivates the reader with the story of Queen Esther, her uncle Mordecai, King Xerxes, and the royal court’s villain, Haman. The story not only entertains, it also explains the origins of the Jewish festival of Purim.

Moore deftly deals with the scholarly issues peculiar to this book without sacrificing his sensitivity to its literary quality. The uncertainty that Esther should be included in sacred Scripture stems from its apparent lack of religious elements, its absence at Qumran, and its questionable historicity. Moore takes up these issues, carefully explaining and weighing prevailing scholarly theories before registering his own conclusions on the origin, date, and purpose of the book of Esther.

Job – Marvin H. Pope | Published: 1965 | ISBN: 9780300140750

This third edition on the book of Job contains numerous new, revised, or augmented notes. Of special interest is the inclusion of readings from the earliest translation of the book of Job, the recently published Targum (Aramaic translation) recovered from Cave XI of Khirbet Qumran, in the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea, perhaps the version which was suppressed by Rabbi Gamaliel.

The book of Job is one of the indisputably great works of world literature. The story is well-known: a prosperous and happy man, distinguished for rectitude and piety, falls victim to a series of catastrophes. And the occasion (if not the reason) for these undeserved calamities: Satan’s challenge to Yahweh to test the sincerity of Job’s faith.

It is by now proverbial to refer to the patience of Job. Yet this traditional image derives only from the prologue and the epilogue of the book. The Job who confronts us in the long middle section is anything but patient. His outcries against God raise the question of theodicy, or divine justice, which occupies the greater portion of Job’s dialogue with his comforters.

But it is inevitable, as literature, that Job must be read and enjoyed. This translation is marked by a concerted effort to capture as much as possible the poetic and metrical characteristics of the original Hebrew: the result is a version notable for its accuracy and directness. The experience of reading the book of Job in this translation, then, is to rediscover an exceedingly eloquent masterpiece. In the terse, rhythmic quality of the translation, the incisive comprehensiveness of the introduction and notes, Job maintains a high standard of scholarship, literateness, and readability.

Marvin H. Pope is professor of Northwest Semitic languages at Yale University.

Psalms I: 1–50 – Mitchell Dahood | Published: 1966 | ISBN: 9780385027656

Psalms I: 1–50 is the first of a three volume commentary on the biblical book of Psalms. It offers a unique, lively translation of the most beloved collection of poetry in Judeo-Christian sacred Scriptures. Based on his linguistic analysis of both biblical and extra-biblical texts, Mitchell Dahood, interprets this Hebrew poetry in light of rich linguistic and cultural evidence.

Dahood’s translation captures the beauty and full texture of Hebrew poetry. It offers an accurate English rendering, framed within the dynamic poetic forms of the Hebrew text. Through the use of Ugaritic and cognate literature, Dahood corrects mistranslations and illuminates previously obscure phrases. The fruit of a masterful analysis of the original texts, this fresh translation, the comprehensive notes, and the groundbreaking commentary establish Dahood’s Psalms I: 1–50 as the premier commentary on the Psalms.

Psalms II: 51–100 – Mitchell Dahood | Published: 1968 | ISBN: 9780385037594

The bulk of Israel’s religious poetry is preserved in the biblical book of Psalms. In this volume, the second of three on the Psalms, Mitchell Dahood interprets this Hebrew poetry in light of a rich collection of Ugaritic texts.

Dahood’s translation captures the beauty and rich texture of Hebrew poetry. It offers an accurate English rendering, framed within the dynamic poetic forms of the Hebrew text. Through the use of Ugaritic and cognate literature, Dahood corrects mistranslations and illuminates previously obscure phrases. The fruit of a masterful analysis of the original texts, this fresh translation, with its comprehensive notes and ground-breaking commentary, establishes Dahood’s Psalms II: 51–100 as the premier commentary on the Psalms.

Psalms III: 101–150 – Mitchell Dahood | Published: 1970 | ISBN: 9780385006071

Having closely examined the original text, Mitchell Dahood has attempted a unique translation which relies heavily on contemporary linguistic evidence. His work stresses the relation of the Psalms to the Ugaritic texts found at Ras-Shamra, and to other epigraphic discoveries along the Phoenician littoral.

This translation tries to capture as much as possible—within the limits of language and the scope of present scholarship—the poetic qualities of the original Hebrew. It attempts to render accurately not only the meaning of the Psalms but their poetic forms and rhythms as well. It is particularly responsive to the terse, three-beat metrical line predominant in Hebrew poetry, and it reproduces the parallelism so characteristic of biblical verse. In this process of probing the original, Mitchell Dahood unearths some striking examples of passages previously mistranslated, and arrives at many provocative readings.

In addition to an introduction, text, and notes, this volume contains a comprehensive grammar of the Psalter which makes use of much of Mitchell Dahood’s recent work with Ugaritic.

Proverbs 1–9 – Michael V. Fox | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780385264372

In Proverbs 1–9, Bible scholar Michael V. Fox translates and explains the meaning of the first nine chapters of this profound, timeless book, and examines their place in the intellectual history of ancient Israel. This thorough study of Proverbs includes a survey of the collections of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature, as well as innovative and insightful comments. In addition to the translation and commentary proper, Fox includes several extended thematic essays on Proverbs 1–9, covering such themes as the origins of personified wisdom, what wisdom is, and where wisdom can be heard, plus an appendix of textual notes. The format of the commentary makes it accessible to the general reader and also provides materials of special interest to scholars. This is the first of a two-volume commentary that accords Proverbs the depth of study it deserves.

Proverbs 10–31 – Michael V. Fox | Published: 2009 | ISBN: 9780300142099

This volume completes Bible scholar Michael V. Fox’s comprehensive commentary on the book of Proverbs in the Anchor Yale series. Fox translates and explains in accessible language the meaning and literary qualities of the sayings and poems that comprise the final chapters.

He gives special attention to comparable sayings in other wisdom books, particularly from Egypt, and makes extensive use of medieval Hebrew commentaries, which have received scant attention in previous Proverb commentaries. In separate sections set in smaller type, the author addresses technical issues of text and language for interested scholars.

The author’s essays at the end of the commentary view the book of Proverbs in its entirety and investigate its ideas of wisdom, ethics, revelation, and knowledge. Out of Proverbs’ great variety of sayings from different times, Fox shows, there emerges a unified vision of life, its obligations, and its potentials.

Ecclesiastes – Choon-Leong Seow | Published: 1997 | ISBN: 9780300139600

Good advice that stands the test of time—those things we all know are true, tips that help us live the good life—we call wisdom. But, one lifetime is not enough to master the fine art of living. Distilled over centuries, the biblical book of Ecclesiastes offers us the time-tested advice of Israel’s sages. This is the best of wisdom, with echoes of East and West—from Zen and Tao to Merton and Moore—all rolled into one.

In Ecclesiastes, Bible scholar Choon-Leong Seow creatively translates and carefully interprets one of the world’s most profound, most enduring collections of ancient wisdom. Sometimes joyful and exultant, other times cynical and fatalistic, the ancient author Qohelet (“Teacher”) wrestles with the ups and downs of real life. Even today, we recognize and repeat the sayings of this treasure-trove of apt advice. The book begins and ends with the infamous claim, “Vanity of vanities, says Qohelet, vanity of vanities! All is vanity!” In between, the sage leaves no stone unturned in the search for meaning.

Focusing the best tools of modern scholarship on the biblical book, Seow’s commentary overflows with insights about the meaning of the original text and its relevance for today. As the wisdom of biblical Ecclesiastes has stood the test of time, so shall Seow’s Ecclesiastes become a classic.

Choon-Leong Seow is Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he is internationally recognized for his work on the Hebrew Bible and on wisdom literature.

Replaced Proverbs, Ecclesiastes – R.B.Y Scott | Published: 1965 | ISBN 978-0385021777

Song of Songs – Marvin H. Pope | Published: 1977 | ISBN: 9780385005692

The Song of Songs has been compared to a lock for which the key was lost. Traditionally ascribed to King Solomon, the book has a sensuous imagery that has been the subject of various allegorical interpretations, chiefly as relating to Yahweh’s love for Israel or Christ’s love for the Church.

Marvin H. Pope suggests that the poem is what it seems, an unabashed celebration of sexual love, both human and divine, rooted in the fertility religions of the ancient Near East, the sacred marriage rite, and the funeral feast. A distinctive feature of his interpretation is the correlation between love and death. Also discussed are parallel literatures, possible Indian influences, and the significance of the song for women’s liberation. Samples of traditional Jewish and Christian allegorical interpretations are cited for each verse.

Numerous photographs and drawings of Ancient Near East origin illustrate and authenticate this provocative and controversial interpretation of Solomon’s sublime song.

Isaiah 1–39 – Joseph Blenkinsopp | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780300139617

Writing a commentary on the book of Isaiah in the middle of a paradigm shift in biblical studies, and in the study of the prophetic books in particular, is no easy task. The book of Isaiah has been the object of more scholarly interest over the past two or three decades than during the preceding century. At the same time, much of the received wisdom on the formation of the book has been called into question, including such matters as the date of its several components, the standard tripartite division, the role (if any) to be assigned to the prophet Isaiah himself, and the passages dealing with the anonymous Servant of the Lord. A great deal of effort has been, and continues to be, expended in exploring new approaches to the book, both within the conventional critical methodologies and beyond them.

This commentary by Joseph Blenkinsopp on the first 39 chapters of the book, the first of a three volume commentary on Isaiah, is written from a critical perspective in the belief that only in this way can these texts be given the opportunity to say what they have to say—and also in the conviction that what they have to say still retains its transforming power for those willing to listen attentively today. The result is a commentary of unequaled brilliance and insight that will stand as the definitive study of one of the Hebrew Bible’s most compelling and elusive books.

Joseph Blenkinsopp is currently John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 1970.

Isaiah 40–55 – Joseph Blenkinsopp | Published: 2002 | ISBN: 9780385497176

Scholars have traditionally isolated three distinct sections of what is known as the book of Isaiah, and in Isaiah 40–55, distinguished biblical scholar Joseph Blenkinsopp provides a new translation and critical commentary on the section usually referred to as Second or Deutero Isaiah. The second volume in a three volume commentary, it easily maintains the high standards of academic excellence established by Isaiah 1–39.

Second Isaiah was written in the sixth century BC., in the years just before the fall of the mighty Babylonian Empire, by an anonymous prophet whom history has erroneously identified with the real Isaiah (born ca. 765 BC). Scholars know Second Isaiah was written by someone other than Isaiah because the contexts of these prophecies are so very different. When Second Isaiah was written, the prophet believed that Israel’s time of suffering was drawing to a close. There was, he insisted, a new age upon them, a time of hope, peace, and renewed national prosperity. The main thrust of the prophet’s argument was intended to rally the spirits of a people devastated by war and conquest. One of the most famous examples of this optimistic tone is the well-known and beloved “Song of the Suffering Servant,” which is found in chapters 52–53, and about which Blenkinsopp has some challenging new ideas.

The final chapters of Second Isaiah, however, are in an entirely different key as it becomes clear that the new world the prophet foresaw earlier was not going to come to pass. This despair finds its most poignant expression in the final section of the book of Isaiah, addressed in the third volume, also included in this collection.

Isaiah 56–66 – Joseph Blenkinsopp | Published: 2003 | ISBN: 9780300139624

The world’s leading authority on the prophet Isaiah brings his distinguished three volume commentary on the book of Isaiah to a conclusion with this new translation and critical discussion of the final 11 chapters.

The concluding section of the book of Isaiah, sometimes referred to as Third or Trito Isaiah, had a profound impact on the Christian movement in its formative phase, including such central issues as the identity of the founder, the profile of the disciple, and the gentile mission. In this thorough and informative commentary, Joseph Blenkinsopp shows that while these chapters maintain continuity with Second Isaiah, they must be considered in the light of a new set of circumstances.

The texts present a community beset by severe problems, attempting to cope with disappointed expectations and trying to maintain its faith in the reality, power, and benevolence of the God of traditional religion. Blenkinsopp discusses in detail the issues that divide the community, from concerns about the efficacy of religious practices (prayer, fasting, Sabbath observance, and sacrifice) to questions about who may claim the name of Israelite and under what conditions, to what kind of relations should be maintained with outsiders. In examining each of these topics, Blenkinsopp shows that they provide evidence of an emerging Judaism seeking its own identity and self-definition and testify to the existence of a prophetic discipleship inspired by the person and teaching of the charismatic servant whose fate is described in the previous section of Isaiah.

Reflecting the same standard of excellence as Blenkinsopp’s first two volumes on Isaiah, this is an important contribution to the prestigious Anchor Yale Bible.

Second Isaiah – John L. McKenzie | Published: 1969 | ISBN: 9780300140798

Isaiah, the largest and most widely quoted prophetic book in the Bible, is unmatched in eloquence and grandeur. The prophetic figure behind this book looms large in Israel’s history because he speaks to perennial themes that echo throughout Israel’s history. John L. McKenzie here translates and comments on the portion of the book of Isaiah known as Second Isaiah (chapters 34–35 and 40–66).

Hope springs eternal for the exiles addressed by Second Isaiah. The prophet points to the rise of Cyrus and his Persian Empire as God’s chosen instrument for sealing the destruction of Babylon. With the fall of Babylon, Isaiah soothes the pain of endless exile and envisions a new age when Israel will once again return to the Promised Land. Isaiah offers the exiles the hope of restoration and paints a picture of God’s salvation.

Drawing on available material from the Dead Sea Scrolls, McKenzie’s translation captures the spirit and excitement of Second Isaiah. His examination of literary and theological issues amply illuminates this monumental prophetic book for the novice and expert alike.

John L. McKenzie was professor of Old Testament at De Paul University in Chicago, until his death in 1991.

Jeremiah – John Bright | Published: 1965 | ISBN: 9780385008235

Jeremiah 1–20 – Jack R. Lundbom | Published: 1999 | ISBN: 9780300139631

Jeremiah, long considered one of the most colorful of the ancient Israelite prophets, comes to life in Jack R. Lundbom’s Jeremiah 1–20. From his boyhood call to prophecy in 627 BCE, which Jeremiah tried to refuse, to his scathing judgments against the sins and hypocrisy of the people of Israel, Jeremiah charged through life with passion and emotion. He saw his fellow Israelites abandon their one true God, and witnessed the predictable outcome of their disregard for God’s word—their tragic fall to the Babylonians.

The first book of a three volume commentary on Jeremiah, Jack R. Lundbom’s eagerly awaited exegesis of this book investigates the opening 20 chapters of this Old Testament giant. With considerable skill and erudition, Lundbom leads modern readers through this prophet’s often mysterious oracles, judgments, and visions. He quickly dispels the notion that the life and words of a seventh-century BCE Israelite prophet can have no relevance for the contemporary reader. Clearly, Jeremiah was every bit as concerned as we are with issues like terrorism, hypocrisy, environmental pollution, and social justice.

This impressive work of scholarship, essential to any biblical studies curriculum, replaces John Bright’s landmark Anchor Yale Bible commentary on Jeremiah. Like its predecessor, Jeremiah 1–20 draws on the best biblical scholarship to further our understanding of the weeping prophet and his message to the world.

Jack R. Lundbom is an internationally respected authority on Jeremiah. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and held visiting appointments at Andover Newton Theological School, Yale Divinity School, The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Uppsala University in Sweden.

Jeremiah 21–36 – Jack R. Lundbom | Published: 2004 | ISBN: 9780300139648

This second book of the three volume Anchor Yale Bible commentary on Jeremiah by Jack R. Lundbom offers an astute translation and commentary on the middle 16 chapters of Jeremiah. Important themes in the present volume include injustice within Judah’s royal house, sexual immorality among the clergy, and true versus false prophecy. Yet the prophet who thundered Yahweh’s judgment was also the one who gave the remnant people—in oracle and in symbolic action—a promise and a hope, expressed climactically in a new and eternal covenant for future days. Here too is the only report in the Bible of an accredited scribe writing up a scroll of oracles for public reading at the temple.

This magisterial work of scholarship is sure to be essential to any biblical studies curriculum. Jeremiah 21–36 draws on the best biblical scholarship to further our understanding of this pre-eminent prophet and his message to the world.

Jeremiah 37–52 – Jack R. Lundbom | Published: 2004 | ISBN: 9780300139655

Stirring words of the most outspoken of the Hebrew prophets are re-examined in this concluding volume of the esteemed Anchor Yale Bible on Jeremiah.

This final book of the three volume Anchor Yale Bible commentary on Jeremiah by Jack R. Lundbom gives us translation and commentary on the concluding 16 chapters of Jeremiah. Here, during Judah’s darkest days, when nationhood came to an end, Jeremiah with his people confronted the consequences of the nation’s sin, while at the same time reconstituting a remnant community with hopes to give Israel a future. Jeremiah preached that Israel’s God, Yahweh, was calling to account every nation on the earth, even the nation chosen as his own. For the latter, Jeremiah was cast into a pit and left to die, only to be rescued by an Ethiopian eunuch. But the large collection of foreign nation oracles in the book shows that other nations too were made to drink the cup of divine wrath, swollen as they were by wickedness, arrogant pride, and trust in their own gods.

This magisterial work of scholarship is sure to be essential to any biblical studies curriculum. Jeremiah 37–52 draws on the best biblical scholarship to further our understanding of this pre-eminent prophet and his message to the world.

Lamentations – Delbert R. Hillers | Published: 1992 | ISBN: 9780300139471

The poetry found in the Book of Lamentations is an eloquent expression of one man’s, and one nation’s, despair. The poet is deep in mourning as a result of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in the sixth century BC. He looks to Israel’s own sins to explain the catastrophe, and yet he recites poignant examples of Israel’s suffering in wondering aloud if God has abandoned his people altogether. Thus his lament is both a confession and a prayer for hope in spite of the horrible defeat.

Lamentations is traditionally thought to have been written by the prophet Jeremiah; today the question is whether one man wrote it or many. In his introduction, Delbert Hillers gives the evidence against Jeremiah’s authorship and suggests that the poems should be treated as an intelligible unity, most likely written by an eyewitness to the events described.

The book of Lamentations has been taken up through history both as poetry and as an expression of boundless grief. It has become part of the Jewish and Christian liturgies, as well as a source of comfort far beyond the time in which it was written. This commentary fills in the book’s literary and historical background, and we emerge with a fresh respect for the artistry with which it was composed. The poetry itself demands this respect, with a translation here that carries the emotion and heartbreak of the original Hebrew.

This new edition by Delbert R. Hillersis a thorough revision of his earlier Anchor Yale Bible commentary, incorporating new literary theories and textual discoveries connected with the very latest Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship.

Delbert R. Hillers is W.W. Spence Professor of Semitic Languages and Near Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He is also the author of the volume on Micah in Hermeneia.

Replaced Lamentations – Delbert R. Hillers | Published: 1972 | ISBN: 9780385007382

Ezekiel 1–20 – Moshe Greenberg | Published: 1983 | ISBN: 9780385009546

In Ezekiel 1–20, the first of two volumes of commentary on the Scripture attributed to the third major Old Testament prophet, Moshe Greenberg uses accessible prose to explain Ezekiel’s ecstatic, erratic, almost incomprehensible otherworldly visions and prophecies. One of this century’s most respected biblical scholars, Greenberg translates the text, identifies the critical issues raised by the book, and offers an impressively balanced, thoroughly holistic interpretation of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 1–20 rigorously engages the biblical text with all the tools of historical critical analysis. Drawing upon the rich history of Jewish and Christian interpretation, Greenberg employs ancient and modern sources in his elucidation of this most difficult prophetic book.

Moshe Greenberg was professor of biblical studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 21–37 – Moshe Greenberg | Published: 1997 | ISBN: 9780300139679

Ezekiel was and is perhaps the most misunderstood and challenging Hebrew prophet. His prophecies and visions transport us to almost indescribable realms, completely uncharted territory this side of heaven. But as one of Israel’s three major prophets, the words and symbolic actions of this mouthpiece of God were directed to a people weighed down by the realities of human experience.

In this long-awaited and eagerly anticipated second volume of his commentary on the book of Ezekiel, Moshe Greenberg exhibits the characteristic care and special sensitivity of a world-renowned scholar. He translates the text into flowing English that captures the richness and subtleties of the problematic Hebrew original. Using illustrations from a vast array of literature on Ezekiel, Greenberg brings the book’s prophecies and people alive for modern readers.

Ezekiel 38–48 – Stephen L. Cook | Published: 2018 | ISBN: 9780300218817

The Book of Daniel – Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella | Published: 1978 | ISBN: 9780385013222

The book of Daniel was written as resistance literature, to strengthen and console loyal Jews of the second century BC who had to endure religious, economic, and social oppression at the hands of Antiochus I. The inspiring stories in which Daniel and his companions Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survive the ordeals of the lions’ den and the fiery furnace dramatize for believers of all time the ultimate test of faith—the willingness to risk one’s life for one’s beliefs.

The book of Daniel also includes the famous incident of “the handwriting on the wall” and recounts the four vivid dream-visions or apocalypses which, through symbols and signs, offered interpretations of history and predictions of future deliverance.

Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella have revealed the profound religious and human dimensions of the Daniel stories. They present Daniel as a colorful and dramatic hero unique in biblical literature—an enduring symbol of hope and salvation for all men and women of faith who must suffer for their beliefs.

Louis F. Hartman was professor of Semitic languages at The Catholic University of America.

Alexander A. Di Lella is professor of Old Testament at The Catholic University of America.

Hosea – Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman | Published: 1980 | ISBN: 9780385007689

Hosea is the result of a collaboration by world-renowned scholars Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman. This new translation and commentary is based on one of the oldest of prophetic writings. The translation is unique in so far as the literary integrity of the text is scrupulously adhered to. For both scholars and general readers, the commentary notes contain cultural and linguistic information which sets each passage within the socio-historic context of the eighth century BC. Hebrew vocabulary, syntax, and poetic language are examined in an effort to confront one of the most obscure sections of biblical literature. Eight pages of photographs and illustrations are also included, which take readers into the wonders of the Iron Age in which Hosea lived.

Francis I. Andersen taught the Bible in Australia, the United States, and around the world before retiring as professorial fellow in the department of classics and archaeology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Out of his pioneering work on the poetics and metrics of biblical texts, he has produced over 70 scholarly articles and many books.

David Noel Freedman (1922–2008) received his PhD in Semitic languages and literature from Johns Hopkins University in 1948. Distinguished author and prolific editor, D. N. Freedman contributed to the Eerdmans Biblical Resources Series and The Bible in Its World.

Joel – James L. Crenshaw | Published: 1995 | ISBN: 9780300140767

Scripture scholar James L. Crenshaw captures the ominous, yet hopeful spirit of Joel’s prophecy in his new translation and commentary.

Joel’s prophecy has an unexpectedly familiar ring to it. The biblical book of Joel is relevant to our world because it confronts an age when people tolerated almost anything, did not want someone telling them how to live their lives, and had difficulty distinguishing right from wrong. It was at once a time of self-indulgence and a time of spiritual decay. The economic and political disparity of the day, combined with widespread social injustice and deviant religious practices, brought about God’s judgment on his chosen people, the Judahites. Pleading the litany of sins in Joel is like reading the newspaper; things have not changed much in 2,500 years.

Leading Scripture scholar James L. Crenshaw’s fresh translation of the biblical prophecy of Joel combines the latest research into Hebrew language and literature with down-to-earth insights into how Joel’s words relate to the modern world. Drawing upon a thorough analysis of the book’s grammar and philology, literary forms and context, religious and social situation, and historical setting, Crenshaw offers the most informed and up-to-date commentary available. For those who want to read and understand Joel, this book is indispensable.

James L. Crenshaw is professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.

Amos – Göran Eidevall | Published: 2017 | ISBN: 9780300178784

Replaced Amos – Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman | Published: 1989 | ISBN: 9780300140705

The life and mission of Amos, the shepherd and prophet, have always fascinated students of the Old Testament. This rancher-farmer from Tekoa, summoned dramatically by Yahweh to prophesy to Israel under the kingship of Jeroboam II (eighth century BC) about the corruption, injustice, and religious insincerity of his time, has intrigued scholars for centuries. Was Amos’ message one of judgment and retribution only, or also of redemption?

Noted scholars Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman team up to examine and explain this critical segment of the Bible. Using new insights and modern methods, the authors interpret the text clearly, enthusiastically, and with startling perception. Readers will gain a new understanding of the historical, literary, and religious dimensions of the book of Amos.

Obadiah – Paul R. Raabe | Published: 1996 | ISBN: 9780300139716

Obadiah exemplifies the classic Israelite prophetic tradition. This brief but volatile diatribe encompasses many of the great prophetic themes, such as divine judgment against Israel’s enemies, the day of Yahweh, Zion theology, Israel’s possession of the Promised Land, and the kingship of Yahweh. These themes allow Obadiah to transcend time and touch upon some of the modern Middle East’s most controversial issues. Its harsh language and pro-Israelite zeal spark debate even today. Through his accurate translation and sympathetic interpretation of what the book meant to its original sixth-century audience, Paul R. Raabe relates the reader’s modern world to that of the ancient Near East.

In the revered Anchor Yale Bible tradition, the commentator provides the contextual framework to make sense of Obadiah’s cryptic and often ignored prophetic message. Drawing upon an exhaustive analysis of the books grammar and philology, literary forms and context, religious and social situation, and historical context, Raabe offers us the most informed and up-to-date commentary available. Scholars, students, clergy, and laypeople will rely on Obadiah for years to come.

Jonah – Jack M. Sasson | Published: 1990 | ISBN: 9780385235259

Were Jonah’s experiences true to the history of ancient Israel? Were they meant to be read comically, philosophically, allegorically, symbolically, or realistically? And is God godly when acting beyond the comprehension of prophets, let alone ordinary human beings?

These issues, and many more, are thoughtfully considered in this meticulously detailed and insightful translation of the original Hebrew text of Jonah as created by Jewish authorities during the second half of the first millennium BC. In these profound and enduring tales, realistic events and miraculous incidents merge, and we never have to wait long to witness the power of God’s love or wrath.

One of the 12 Minor Prophets, Jonah faced more challenges in a short span of time than any other biblical hero. He went to sea and nearly drowned in the belly of a great fish. On land, Jonah journeyed east to Nineveh, where his mission was to spread the word of God in a city plagued by evil. He was tested by God at every turn. But even during his darkest hours, his faith never wavered and through all the tumult, he always listened for the comforting voice of the Lord.

Author Jack M. Sasson employs the very latest information in biblical scholarship to interpret the many nuances in Jonah’s seemingly simple story. Providing Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, and, occasionally, Syriac and Arabic translations, this volume is an exciting addition to the world-acclaimed series.

Jack M. Sasson is currently the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies, professor of classics, and director of Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University.

Micah – Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman | Published: 2000 | ISBN: 9780385084024

As one of the 12 Minor Prophets, Micah unwaveringly spoke God’s message to Israel—a message filled with judgment but laced with the promise of redemption. Micah combined poetic complexity and literary sophistication to compel his audience to respond. And now, through an exacting linguistic and literary analysis of the biblical text, coauthors Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman explain what Micah meant to his contemporaries, as well as what his message means to readers today.

What sets this volume apart is its attention to the prophet’s original text. The commentary is descriptive rather than speculative, philological rather than theological. With unusual care, the authors—two of the world’s leading Bible scholars—examine the features of Micah’s biblical Hebrew and prophetic discourse. They discover the use of a special kind of language, which, in its poetic composition, differs significantly from the language of classical Hebrew prose.

At the zenith of their careers, masters of all relevant disciplines, Andersen and Freedman are the perfect duo to unlock the words of this challenging prophet.

Nahum – Duane L. Christensen | Published: 2009 | ISBN: 9780300144796

This work represents a significant breakthrough in the study of Hebrew prosody with important implications for understanding the formation of the canon of the Hebrew Bible. Duane Christensen, a renowned biblical scholar, offers a detailed analysis of the Hebrew text of Nahum and demonstrates the intricate literary structure and high poetic quality of the work.

Nahum is a book about God’s justice and portrays God as strong, unyielding, and capable of great anger. This view of God’s nature stands in contrast to that found in Jonah, another book in the section of the Hebrew Bible known as the Book of the 12 Prophets, which presents God as “compassionate, gracious . . . [and] abounding in steadfast love.” Christensen shows how Nahum and Jonah present complementary aspects of God’s nature, each essential for an understanding of the divine being.

Habakkuk – Francis I. Andersen | Published: 2001 | ISBN: 9780300139730

The book of Habakkuk is an intensely personal testimony played out against a highly political backdrop. Writing as his land was being invaded and his fellow Israelites were plundered by the Chaldeans, Habakkuk questions God’s actions with a passion equal to Job’s. Habakkuk wonders, how can a God who is just and compassionate allow his people to be slaughtered? In trying to punish the Israelites and right the wrongs of his people, why did God choose the savage, infinitely more wicked Chaldeans as his instrument?

The puzzles Habakkuk contemplates will stir the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever wrestled with the existence of evil. Francis I. Andersen, a well-known authority on the Minor Prophets and acclaimed Hebrew studies pioneer, examines Habakkuk both as a work of sophisticated theological inquiry and as an artistic creation. The result is a book that illuminates the nuances of the text and brings to life the culture and values of the ancient Israelites through a compelling portrait of one the Bible’s most fascinating and elusive prophets.

Zephaniah – Adele Berlin | Published: 1994 | ISBN: 9780300140804

In a world plagued by political corruption and human indifference, the great prophet Zephaniah made an urgent plea for reform and return to faith. Writing during the tumultuous reign of Josiah of Judah (640–609 BC), Zephaniah witnessed the slow erosion of the Jews’ obedience to Yahweh and their increasing imitation of the ruling Assyrians’ pagan rituals and cult practices. Unable to bear this moral decline, Zephaniah cried out with a devastating message that pierced the complacent atmosphere of Jerusalem like a trumpet blast. The day of the Lord’s judgment was near and, as the prophet forecasted, it would be “a day of wrath . . . a day of distress and anguish . . . darkness and gloom.”

In staccato exclamations, elevated rhetoric, and a rich tapestry of metaphors and similes, Zephaniah painted a world beset by corruption, idolatry, and apathy. As his passionate verse unfolds, we learn of the doomed destiny of nations that are indifferent to the Lord’s power and of humans who have become too enthralled with worldly riches. As scathing as any modern social critic, Zephaniah proclaimed salvation only to those who lead a life of simplicity, faith, and humility.

Adele Berlin’s splendid translation captures the vivid imagery and sheer potency of Zephaniah, causing the prophet’s words to spring to life and sweep the reader into the politically and socially dynamic world of ancient Israel. With keen insight and lucid analysis, Berlin also draws vital links between Zephaniah’s historical references and other relevant parts of the Bible.

Haggai, Zechariah 1–8 – Carol L. Meyers | Published: 1987 | ISBN: 9780385144827

Haggai and Zechariah were written during a critical period in Israel’s history, the momentous return of the Jews from Babylonian exile. Following the conquest of Babylon by the Persian Empire, the Israelites sought to reestablish their ethnic and religious legacy in Judah. This was a time of profound turmoil and uncertainty, and Haggai and Zechariah provided a crucial measure of support and inspiration. They rallied Israel’s energies and exhorted their fellow countrymen to heed the word of God. Under their guidance the Jews restored the Temple at Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar. Together the two prophets guided Israel through an important transitional epoch, and reconciled the influences of Persia’s dominion with the sacred traditions of the Hebrew people.

In this illuminating new translation and commentary, Carol Meyers and Eric Meyers consider the book of Haggai and the first eight chapters of the book of Zechariah in a linguistic, social, and historical context. They underscore the literary artistry, the political acumen, and the prophetic authority of these fascinating volumes that proved so vital to the survival of Israel and the preservation of the Jewish faith.

Carol L. Meyers holds an MA and a PhD from Brandeis University, and is professor in the department of religion and is associate director of the Women’s Studies Program at Duke.

Eric M. Meyers has an MA from Brandeis and a PhD from Harvard.

Zechariah 9–14 – Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers | Published: 1992 | ISBN: 9780300139761

This commentary and new translation of Zechariah 9–14 continues the approach adopted in the authors’ volume on Haggai and Zechariah 1–8. Authors Carol Meyers and Eric Meyers are perhaps uniquely qualified for this work because of their backgrounds in biblical archaeology and the social sciences. Employing the highest standards of philological, literary, and historical research, they shed light on many enigmatic passages and offer an entirely new perspective on the history of Israel and its religion in the Persian period.

Whereas many scholars have viewed this point in the history of Israel as a time of deterioration of the beliefs and practices of biblical religion, the authors paint a picture of an innovative and vibrant community struggling to maintain its identity within a rapidly changing world dominated by the mighty Greeks and Persians. In the face of this the author of Zechariah 9–14 makes extensive and transformative use of earlier biblical writings and of the sayings of previous prophets, and articulates a radically new view of Israel’s future.

Carol and Eric Meyers are the first modern commentators to see in these ancient texts the central role played by the Greco-Persian wars in shaping the postexilic restoration community of Israel and its views of an expansive and glorious future. And although Zechariah 9–14 is often regarded as the swan song of biblical prophecy, the authors clearly demonstrate that the new modes of prophetic discourse found within this text helped biblical religion to meet one of the greatest challenges in its long history.

Malachi – Andrew E. Hill | Published: 1998 | ISBN: 9780385468923

Admittedly, as the last book in the Old Testament, and a minor prophet at that, Malachi is often overlooked by Bible readers. Yet, Malachi’s passionate proclamations and the significance of what he had to say to his people capture the attention of even the casual reader. The message of Malachi came at a time of cultural and religious rethinking for Israel (roughly 500 BCE), when God’s people were scattered throughout the Near East, with most living in Mesopotamia under Persian rule. They could easily have disappeared from history had it not been for the prophetic call to repentance.

In his fresh new translation, notes, and comments on this brief prophetic book, Andrew E. Hill explains why we should pay attention to Malachi as God’s spokesperson. Hill places the book in its historical context to interpret the original meaning, as well as offer the modern reader insights into what it has to say to us today. With his translation and commentary, along with photographs, line art, and maps, he provides all the necessary details for the reader to understand and appreciate Malachi.

Andrew E. Hill (PhD, University of Michigan) is professor of Old Testament studies at Wheaton College in Illinois. His articles have appeared in such scholarly publications as Hebrew Annual Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, and Vetus Testamentum.

Intertestamental Literature

Tobit – Carey A. Moore | Published: 1996

Tobit is the story of a righteous, devout, and charitable man who—blind and miserable—sends his son, Tobiah, to collect on an old loan. To test his faith, an angel joins Tobiah on his journey, and in the end Tobiah returns with the money, a beautiful bride, and a miraculous cure for his father’s affliction. Tobit’s story touches us precisely because it tells the tale of simple, hardworking everyday folk, who try, despite seemingly insurmountable dangers and difficulties, to be faithful and do good.

Judith – Carey A. Moore | Published: 1985

In the Apocrypha, Judith is the saint who murdered for her people. She offered herself to Holofernes, the Assyrian general sent by Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the Israelites. After she had charmed Holofernes with flattery and drink, Judith chopped of his head while he lay in a drunken stupor, thereby leaving his troops “headless” and in a state of total panic and confusion. Her victory was celebrated in song and brought peace to her land for years to come.

Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah: The Additions – Carey A. Moore | Published: 1977

The apocryphal sections of Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah are vibrant works which cast light on the life and thought of the Jewish nation at the time of the exile, adding dramatic excitement and increasing the religious significance of these beloved Bible tales.

The additions to the book of Daniel tell the exciting stories of the “Fiery Furnace,” “Susanna and the Elders,” and the confrontations between Daniel and the gods of Babylon; and show how God preserved the faithful in the face of certain death.

The book of Esther is transformed by the additions from a so-called “secular” work to a wonderful and dramatic tale of God’s concern and care for his people under the tyranny of foreign oppressors.

The additions to the book of Jeremiah consist of poems and prayers addressed to the people of the exile, exhorting them to shun idolatry and offering encouragement for a repressed nation.

The Wisdom of Ben Sira – Patrick W. Skehan and Alexander A. Di Lella | Published: 1995

The Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) contains the sayings of Ben Sira, arguably the last of Israel’s wise men and its first scribe, whose world was defined and dominated by Greek ideas and ideals. This Hellenistic worldview challenged the adequacy of the religion passed down to Palestinian Jews of the second century BC by their ancestors. Ben Sira’s training in both Judaic and Hellenistic literary traditions prepared him to meet this challenge. He vigorously opposed any compromise of Jewish values; and his teaching bolstered the faith and confidence of his people.

I Maccabees – Jonathan A. Goldstein | Published: 1976

“The Apocryphal book of I Maccabees is an inspirational thriller.” with the help of God, the aged priest Mattathias and his sons—Judas Maccabaeus, Jonathan, and Simon—dramatically lead the Jews of Judaea first to victory and then to freedom against the formidable successors of Alexander the Great. Their struggles begin in guerilla warfare, responding to the terrible persecutions decreed by King Antiochus IV, and courageously accomplish their first great triumph—still celebrated in the festival of Hanukkah.

II Maccabees – Jonathan A. Goldstein | Published: 1983

II Maccabees continues the chronicle of the “Time of the Troubles” (167–64 BC), begun in I Maccabees. It recounts the stories of conflict between militant Jews, led by Judas Maccabaeus, and their Hellenistic oppressors. Aside from the story of the struggle to control the temple and the holy city of Jerusalem, though, II Maccabees shares little in common with I Maccabees. The second volume of reflections of Jewry in the generation following the Maccabaean revolt presents and evaluates the experience from its own unique perspective.

I and II Esdras – Jacob M. Myers | Published: 1974

Written about 10 BC, I Esdras is a history ranging from the pious reign of Josiah to the religious reforms of Ezra. For this period Josephus follows I Esdras in his antiquities of the Jews.

From the publisher:

THE ANCHOR YALE BIBLE is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.

The Anchor Yale Bible is committed to producing commentaries in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the series, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist. Its approach is grounded in exact translation of the ancient languages and an appreciation of the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written supplemented by insights from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism.


  2. Ibid.