Socio-Rhetorical Bible Commentary Series – Ben Witherington | Reviews, Purpose, Volumes

Review of the Socio-Rhetorical Bible Commentary Series

socio-rhetorical bible commentary
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Scot McKnight, North Park University:

“Every time Ben Witherington writes a commentary, I buy it. Why? Because few can explain the rhetoric of a New Testament book as clearly as Ben, few can match the theological awareness of Ben, few canvass scholarship as completely as Ben, and fewer yet can combine rhetoric, theology, scholarship, and piety as well as Ben.”

Paul Ellingworth, Evangelical Quarterly, on the Hebrews volume:

“Perhaps deSilva’s most important single contribution is the fresh light he throws on central aspects of the Christian faith, notably presenting grace and gratitude as complementary elements in a binding relationship analogous to that between patron and client.”

Darrell Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary:

“A solid commentary, a sane introduction, and a superior integration of these letters historically and culturally. The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians is Witherington at his best. Anyone with questions about how these letters function and who wrote them would do well to start and finish here.”

Theology Today:

“Craig Keener’s commentary on Matthew brings his breathtaking acquaintance with the ancient literature of the first century to illuminate the First Gospel. This book offers a unique catalogue of references to Hellenistic and Judaic literature. Keener’s remarkable capacity to associate these texts to the Gospel makes this work valuable for the references alone.”

Purpose of the Socio-Rhetorical Bible Commentary Series

From the publisher: Witherington’s distinctive socio-rhetorical approach helps unearth insights that would otherwise remain hidden using only form criticism, epistolary categories, and traditional criticism.

Volumes in the Socio-Rhetorical Bible Commentary Series

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socio-rhetorical bible commentaryThe Gospel of Matthew – Craig S. Keener

Donald A. Hagner, Fuller Theological Seminary:

“R. T. France, long recognized as a Matthean scholar par excellence, now presents a crowning achievement in this superb full-length commentary. With the firm hand of a seasoned scholar, France offers a lively, insightful commentary marked above all by solid, no-nonsense exegesis. This is vintage France, and every student of Matthew will find great rewards here. I recommend this volume with the highest enthusiasm.”

The Gospel of Mark – Ben Witherington III

Marion L. Soards, professor of New Testament studies, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary:

“Drawing on a host of ancient authors who were concerned with the form and function of rhetoric and writing, Ben Witherington interacts with a broad range of contemporary New Testament scholarship to offer his own informed interpretation of Mark’s Gospel. With clarity and conviction Witherington guides readers through complex, often controversial, issues of interpretation. This commentary offers both a new exposition of Mark’s Gospel and an intelligent introduction to scholarly Markan studies.”

Mark Allan Powell, Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary:

“Witherington provides scholars and church leaders with an impressive, reliable, and often surprising commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He treats the book as an ancient biography of Jesus, written by and for people who were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God and Savior of the world. By being faithful to the literary dynamics of Mark’s text and attentive to the social dynamics of Mark’s world, Witherington reveals Mark’s life-transforming message of hope for our world today.”

socio-rhetorical bible commentaryThe Acts of the Apostles – Ben Witherington III

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary:

“Witherington has done students, pastors, and scholars a great favor by providing an analysis of the book of Acts that is fully conversant with the enormous secondary literature on Acts yet neither loses sight of Luke’s text nor bogs down in scholarly minutiae. His appraisal of Luke’s second volume in relationship to his Gospel and against the backdrop of classical rhetoric and ancient social sensibilities makes this book an instructive companion for readers of Acts.”

Richard Bauckham, professor emeritus of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews:

“This is a very fine commentary that, unlike many others, takes seriously all dimensions of Luke’s text—historical, social, rhetorical, and theological. It is full of fresh insights and balanced assessments of controverted issues. It will be of great value as much to the expert scholar as to the reader approaching the study of Acts for the first time.”

socio-rhetorical bible commentaryPaul’s Letter to the Romans – Ben Witherington III

Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary:

“Ben Witherington is one of the most outstanding New Testament scholars of our generation, and in this commentary on Romans he brings his usual breadth of knowledge and reverence to the text. Scholars will appreciate the fresh analysis and rhetorical insights, while the work’s clear language and sensitivity to Paul’s message make it ideal for general readers desiring a readable commentary.”

Conflict and Community in Corinth – Ben Witherington III

Andrew T. Lincoln, professor of New Testament studies, University of Gloucestershire

“Ben Witherington blends the best of recent sociological and rhetorical scholarship on Paul into a distinctive, rich, and accessible commentary on the Corinthian correspondence. His work operates at two levels: the main commentary offers an informative and edifying resource for students and preachers, while the more detailed investigations, bibliographies, and footnotes provide plenty to stimulate scholars. This is a bold, comprehensive, and impressive attempt to set Paul’s dialogue with the Corinthian church squarely in its social context and to illuminate the apostle’s art of persuasion.”

Grace in Galatia – Ben Witherington III

Frank Thielman, Presbyterian professor of divinity, New Testament, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University:

“Witherington’s lucid and thoughtful commentary is driven by the text rather than by some overarching theory about Paul or his opponents. The result is that Paul’s own concern in the letter emerges clearly—to proclaim the end of the Mosaic law and the powerful presence of the new era.”

Richard Longenecker, distinguished professor of New Testament, McMaster Divinity College:

“A work characterized by clarity of vision regarding the critical, historical, and theological issues involved . . . and by a crispness and vividness of language in setting out the message of Galatians in contemporary form. This commentary will undoubtedly have a long and useful life, capturing the interest and hearts of many.”

Paul’s Letter to the Philippians – Ben Witherington III

Jerry L. Sumney, Lexington Theological Seminary:

“Drawing on an impressive range of interpreters (including those who have critiqued his previous work), Ben Witherington provides a careful and helpful reading of Philippians and the issues it addresses. His lucid prose guides both beginning and practiced readers through the argumentative function of each section, consistently affirming that rhetorical criticism is the most appropriate lens for reading Paul’s work. At the same time, Witherington’s socio-rhetorical method leads him to highlight the ways that seeing the letter in its Greco-Roman and Macedonian social and cultural contexts enriches our understanding. . . . This commentary is certain to become a work that students and teachers will refer to often.”

The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians – Ben Witherington III

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary:

“Every time Ben Witherington writes a commentary, I buy it. Why? Because few can explain the rhetoric of a New Testament book as clearly as Ben, few can match the theological awareness of Ben, few canvass scholarship as completely as Ben, and fewer yet can combine rhetoric, theology, scholarship, and piety as well as Ben.”

Darrell Bock, professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary:

“A solid commentary, a sane introduction, and a superior integration of these letters historically and culturally. The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians is Witherington at his best. Anyone with questions about how these letters function and who wrote them would do well to start and finish here.”

The Letter to the Philippians

1 and 2 Thessalonians – Ben Witherington III

Bruce W. Longenecker, professor of religion, Baylor University:

“Ben Witherington is a master at crafting commonsense commentaries that are accessible to a broad spectrum of readers and conversant with the best of scholarship. In this regard his 1 and 2 Thessalonians does not disappoint. It is one of his best.”

[Hebrews] Perseverance in Gratitude – David A. deSilva

Interpretation:

“This is an innovative and important full-scale commentary on one of the lengthiest and least-appreciated books in the New Testament. It is written in an engaging, generally non-technical style that should make it attractive to interested laypeople as well as students, pastors, and scholars. . . . DeSilva has written an enthusiastic commentary that offers valuable insights and many particular suggestions about how the letter’s teachings apply today.”

Peter H. Davids, independent scholar and educational missionary in Europe:

“Perseverance in Gratitude is a masterpiece that provides plenty of value for all types of readers. Specialists will appreciate the application of socio-rhetorical criticism to Hebrews. Non-specialists will appreciate the clear explanation of socio-rhetorical criticism and of ancient rhetoric. Preachers will appreciate the ‘Bridging the Horizons’ sections. And all readers will appreciate the clarity of deSilva’s writing. . . . I warmly welcome this commentary as a fine textbook for teaching Hebrews in the classroom.”

Letters and Homilies for Jewish Christians – Ben Witherington III

Michael Bird in Booklist:

“The value of this book is that Witherington offers a helpful exegesis of the text and wrestles with the issues that each book raises resulting in a commendable resource for students and pastors.”

Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1-2 Peter – Ben Witherington III:

Kelly David Liebengood, Midwestern Journal of Theology:

“This commentary format allows Witherington to showcase his greatest strengths as an exegete―his familiarity with ancient rhetoric, his vast knowledge of both Greco-Roman and Jewish backgrounds, and his keen and creative historical imagination.”

Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians (1-2 Timothy, Titus, 1-3 John) – Ben Witherington III

Duane F. Watson, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly:

“. . . this commentary provides solid interpretation of these letters in a very readable style. It is accessible and profitable to the layperson and scholar alike. . . . well worth the investment of time and money.”


Also see:

Bible Commentary Series (index)

New Testament commentaries (index)

Old Testament commentaries (index)