Continental Commentary Series | Reviews, Theology, Pictures

continental bible commentary isaiahThe Continental Commentary Series, published by Fortress Press makes critical biblical scholarship from German and French scholars available to the English-speaking world.

This 19-volume series combines scholarly excellence with academic rigor to benefit pastors, students, and scholars of both the Old and New Testament.

From Claus Westermann’s 3-volume commentary on Genesis to the 3-volume commentary on the Psalms by Hans-Joachim Kraus, these volumes examine the text of Scripture in penetrating detail with a fresh translation, detailed commentary, and theological assessment.

Each book in the Continental Commentary Series includes comprehensive introductory material, including an explanation of narrative themes, an overview of the historical and cultural context, an analysis of textual traditions, and an evaluation of recent literature.

The remainder of each volume is divided according to each pericope of Scripture, with each section containing a summary of secondary literature, a fresh translation of the text, an evaluation of the literary form and the setting in life, and a lengthy commentary.

Each volume also contains indexes on Hebrew words, subjects, names and authors, and other material.

Reviews of the Continental Bible Commentary Series

continental bible commentary genesisOn the Genesis volume:

C.S. Rodd, Expository Times: “Claus Westermann’s commentary on Genesis is one of the really great commentaries—great in size (three large volumes), great in comprehensiveness (covers all aspects of the text and has massive bibliographies), and great in theological perception.”

On the 1 and 2 Kings volume:

Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont School of Theology, and co-editor of the Forms of the Old Testament Literature Series (17 vols.): “Fritz’s commentary is a fine addition to the Continental Commentaries Series. It combines an appropriate mix of historical, archaeological, geographical, and literary critical analysis. It this it is a fine work for both students and scholars. In my view, it is superior to other recent volumes on Kings.”

On the Revelation volume:

Frederick Danker, editor, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: “In this commentary, one catches the Revelator’s vision of eternity ablaze with promise and expectation of accountability in the bleakness of the present. May this book find many who are willing to dialogue with the Revelator.”

Volumes in the Continental Commentary Series

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Genesis 1-11 – Claus Westermann

Bernhard W. Anderson, Journal of Biblical Literature:

“Westermann’s commentary has the merit of taking a definite stand in the hermeneutical debate. In the tradition of Gunkel, it takes full advantage of the methods of form criticism and of the phenomenological study of religion. Again and again Westermann opens up dimensions of meaning which are not only relevant for theology but for human existence in the modern world.”

continental bible commentary psalmsGenesis 12-36 – Claus Westermann

Claus Westermann was Professor of Old Testament at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Genesis 37-50 – Claus Westermann

Leviticus – Jacob Milgrom

William K. Gilders, Emory University:

“[This volume’s] clarity and accessibility make it a most valuable resource for anyone who wishes to engage with Jacob Milgrom’s important scholarly contributions.”

Building upon his life-long work on the Book of Leviticus, Milgrom makes this book accessible to all readers. He demonstrates the logic of Israel’s sacrificial system, the ethical dimensions of ancient worship, and the priestly forms of ritual.

Ruth – André LaCocque

Gerald West, University of KwaZulu-Natal, S. Africa:

“I have long been a fan of André LaCocque’s work, and this commentary is no exception. . . . What I particularly appreciated is the inclusion by LaCocque of many of the more marginal readings of Ruth. . . . LaCocque locates himself carefully within the existing scholarly literature, both within and beyond biblical scholarship, and dialogues with it in detail.”

This volume provides a readable introduction to the narrative book of Ruth appropriate for the student, pastor, and scholar. LaCocque combines historical, literary, feminist, and liberationist approaches in an engaging synthesis. He argues that the book was written in the post-exilic period and that the author was a woman.

1 and 2 Kings – Volkmar Fritz

This volume provides a readable introduction to the narrative books of 1 and 2 Kings appropriate for the student, pastor, and scholar. Fritz combines historical, literary, and archaeological approaches in an engaging synthesis. While he addresses issues of the deuteronomic redaction, the author does not become bogged down in technical discussions or allow this to overshadow the holistic interpretation of the text.

Psalms 1-59 – Hans-Joachim Kraus

This volume completes the publication in English of Kraus’s classic work on the Psalms in the Biblischer Kommentar series (previously published: Theology of the Psalms, 1986, and Psalms 1-59, 1988). The English edition has been widely praised by reviewers.

Psalms 60-150 – Hans-Joachim Kraus

David H.C. Read, Senior Minister at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1956-1989:

“The most thorough study of the Psalms in recent years, it contains manna for preachers.”

continental bible commentary matthewTheology of the Psalms – Hans-Joachim Kraus

James Limburg, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota:

“Exceptionally rich, presenting the fruits of a lifetime of research in an attractive and helpful way.”

Qoheleth – Norbert Lohfink (Ecclesiastes)

This new addition to the successful Continental Commentary series is a significant and fresh treatment of Qoheleth (or Ecclesiastes). A famed professor presents a startlingly new translation of this often perplexing book of the Old Testament. Lohfink also argues for a rather different interpretation of the book than one finds elsewhere. Rather than reading the book’s perspective as depressing, lost, or cynical, he highlights the elements of joy and balance. The volume includes introduction, new translation, commentary, parallel passages, bibliography, and indexes.

Song of Songs – Othmar Keel

In addition to a comprehensive introduction and an analysis of text and form, Othmar Keel focuses on the metaphorical and symbolic language of the Song of Songs. He makes full use of parallels-textual and iconographic-from Palestine, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. More than 160 illustrations, prepared by Hildi Keel-Leu, add to the interpretation of the songs.

Isaiah 1–12 – Hans Wildberger

John Bright, author of A History of Israel:

“This excellent commentary is certainly the most exhaustive of works available on the chapters with which it deals. I recommend it unreservedly to all serious students of the Old Testament.”

Isaiah 13–27 – Hans Wildberger

Bernhard E. Hasel Bibliotheca Orientalis:

“Wildberger’s commentary is a work of such importance that it must be carefully studied by each serious student of Isaiah. It is a rich and significant contribution.”

Isaiah 28–39 – Hans Wildberger

John Bright Interpretation:

“It would be hard to imagine a more thorough and a more convincing presentation. I recommend this commentary unreservedly to all serious students of the Old Testament.”

Obadiah and Jonah – Hans Walter Wolff

Micah – Hans Walter Wolff

David L. Petersen, Religious Studies Review:

“Wolff’s suggestions about the growth of the Micah collection are particularly valuable. A definitive volume.”

James M. Robinson:

“There is nothing else in English that compares with Luz’s commentary; it is the best!”

Schuyler Brown:

“This volume is a joy to read.”

Eduard Schweizer:

“It is an outstanding commentary, the first to use the Wirkungsge-schichte, the understanding of the text throughout the centuries, to interpret the text itself.”

Haggai – Hans Walter Wolff

In this distinguished commentary, Wolff’s task is to defend Haggai as much more than a minor prophet. He was a man whose feet were placed firmly on the ground, one of the dominating figures of the postexilic community, the main instigator of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, and so responsible for inaugurating a new era in Jewish history.

Matthew 1-7 – Ulrich Luz

Warren Carter Pherigo, Professor of New Testament Saint Paul School of Theology:

“This volume is vintage Luz in its high-quality, interpretive material. The textual engagement is astute, the theological exploration is insightful, and the history of interpretation material is unmatched.”

Galatians – Dieter Lührmann

The long-awaited commentary by Dieter Lührmann is now available to English-speaking audiences for the first time. It is a profound, succinctly written dialogue with the text that carefully follows the main points of Paul’s arguments in his most controversial letter. The author presents a theological interpretation which takes seriously Paul’s claims about the gospel and also provides a distinctive outline based on this close reading of the text. Also included are helpful discussions of the competing theologies of Paul and his opponents, a chart on Paul’s career, and a map of the Roman world. Lührmann is a highly acclaimed interpreter of the New Testament. This volume will be a valuable addition to a well-received commentary series.

Revelation – Jürgen Roloff

Hans-Friedrich Weiss:

“Roloff has produced an intrepretation of the Revelation of John that can be certain to gain the special interest of theologians because of his . . . emphasis on the Christological starting-point of Revelation and the perspective that this discloses for the Christian community.”

Frederick Danker:

“In this commentary, one catches the Revelator’s vision of eternity ablaze with promise and expectation of accountability in the bleakness of the present. May this book find many who are willing to dialog with the Revelator.”


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