Great Commentary on 1 Peter

This is a great commentary on 1 Peter. It is now difficult for me to say what is my favorite commentary on 1 Peter (my favorite book of the Bible). Two commentaries are now vying for first place: this one, and Achtemeier. These are the two best.

Jobes offers a unique explication of the general background behind the letter, arguing that “the Christians to whom Peter writes were converted elsewhere (than Asia Minor, LK), probably Rome, and then displaced to Asian Minor” (pg. xi).  

She furthers offers an analysis of the syntax of 1 Peter, and finds that 1 Peter offers characteristics of Semitic interference. In other words, the writer was a Jew for whom Greek was a second (though well-learned) language.

Thirdly, she offers a comprehensive study of the language of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) in its relationship to 1 Peter. These three things are her unique contributation to the study of 1 Peter. She accomplishes all three things admirably in a book that is remarkable in its ability to speak to both lay-person and scholar. She is incredibly lucid in her explanations. It should be noted that she takes Dalton’s view of the spirits in prison passage, the view I also share. In short, if you were to have only one commentary on 1 Peter, this one should be it.

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11 Comments

  1. David Gadbois said,

    April 4, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    My inner Tim Bayly feels a little queazy about buying a commentary written by a woman. If patriarchy is biblical (which we know it is), then I’m not sure what to make of this sort of scholarship which, essentially, places a woman in a teaching position.

    Not to say, of course, that this isn’t a useful or rockin’ commentary.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    April 4, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    David, would it be any different from talking with your wife about what a text means? What difference does it make if your wife (hypothetically) knew Greek and Hebrew, and was a scholar? Can men learn nothing about a text from a woman? This isn’t a worship service, nor a seminary classroom. To me, it is in a different category from those things.

  3. David Gadbois said,

    April 4, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Heh. Since I haven’t found Mrs. Right yet, both the first and second questions you asked are hypothetical. I am, however, accepting applications for the position :)

    Sure, like I said I don’t doubt that it is a useful commentary we can learn from, to answer your third question. But scholarship is a sort of authority and her book probably will be used for reference in the seminary classroom. And the commentary is, I take it, more than just an academic work on Greek and Hebrew, but involves theological exposition.

    I’ll have to think about this one. Maybe this would be similar to, say, accepting communion from a female deacon. Not ideal, but still edifying and perhaps, in some contexts, necessary from a practical standpoint.

  4. Ronnie said,

    April 4, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I don’t have any problem with the commentary being written by a women. I often attend bible studies with women and they exegete Scripture. However, they have no authority over me and neither do a commentary. Even if it is a reference used in seminary that doesn’t make it an authority. How many references in seminary are used to present the other views? Are they therefore authorities?

  5. Rob Somers said,

    April 4, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Ronnie wrote:
    >How many references in seminary are used to present the other views? Are they >therefore authorities?

    Yes. That is why they are used. When one wants to know something about John Wesley’s theological convictions, the place to look would be in his own writings. They are the authority on what he thought. (Provided they have not been tampered with after his death, or something of that nature.)

    As far as Karen Jobes, I have read some of her stuff before – she co-wrote a book about the LXX – I could not help but notice some standard gender inclusiveness in that book; did you see anything of that sort in the commentary on Peter? Also, the authors had an annoying practice of using BCE / CE notation instead of BC/AD. It seems somewhat silly, as far as I am concerned, when you cannot get a hearing from other ‘scholars’ unless you use their language; by this I mean that it impossible to have praise from the academic world unless you use politically correct wording. Some of you might say that it is ‘being all things to all people’, and in some cases that might be so. However, I think in many cases it is a simple knuckling under, so to speak, and abiding by the rules of established scholarship.

    As an aside, it really seems to me that Christian women attending University is a waste of money. Those ones who can afford to do it ought to save their money and help their husband (yes, I am saying a Christian woman should find a Christian man and get married) with it, for example, by using the money for a down payment on a house. The only reason I can see for a woman going to University is to prepare for homeschooling her children. Perhaps in that case there would be some value in such an education, otherwise it seems like a waste of money and time.

  6. Andrew C said,

    April 6, 2007 at 1:00 am

    I’m not even going to weigh in on the discussion of women going to university and such. . . if that’s your thing, go nuts with that I guess . . .

    With regard to Jobes’ commentary – she is a strong exegete and knows her Greek really well. Her Ph.D. dissertation on the Alpha Text of Esther is a major piece of scholarship. Since it was published (I believe in 1996), major text-critical works dealing with Esther (Michael V. Fox, Kristin DeTroyer, etc.) have all had to interact with, and reckon with, her thesis.

    Make sure to not overlook her work in NIVAC on Esther. The commentary series has some limitations (e.g., some of the “application” is a bit cheezy) but it is a solid and helpful volume.

  7. Scott Brennan said,

    April 19, 2007 at 11:50 am

    What interests me about this thread is that there is no direct reference to what the apostle Peter actually said about the role of women. It seems that Peter is dealing with a pagan culture and converts who are wives. He reminds the wives that although they are weaker (not inferior) they are still partners and join heirs of life (an unmistakable reference to Genesis 1:26-28). Surely if a woman is a partner and joint heir she is more than capable of writing a work of the standard of this commentary. How many of you men who have a problem with this have the ability to produce such a world class piece of insight. Come on men, don’t be blinkered by your own culture. This is exactly one of the main issues Peter is addressing in his epistle!

  8. Dawn said,

    September 29, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Reading these postings was fascinating. I’m a bit surprised at the idea that woman shouldn’t go to a university unless she is homeschooling. I’m confused. Should a married woman not go on to higher education, or any woman? I would have to disagree with this view. I believe a woman’s top priorities are to God, her husband, her children, and her home. This is not to say that she can not better herself by learning all she can about this amazing world God created for her and her family to enjoy. The Lord works through these educated women. Countless lives are touched daily by teachers (most teachers are women) and other female professionals. And as for the idea that a commentary written by a woman is usurping the male authority, I think that’s a bit legalistic. Give her a chance. If the commentary is not well written, comment on that. The fact that she is a woman (an educated one I’m sure) is irrelevant.

  9. S. Lloyd Norris said,

    January 31, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Wow.

    Andrew, I respect your ability to disregard the comment about women and the university, but I’m too young and impetuous.

    Rob, that viewpoint is so damaging and hurtful on so many levels. I like this site and usually read quietly, –I’m a philosophy and theology student and Lincoln Christian College and Seminary in Lincoln IL and like the different advice on commentaries and the like here, as I do quite a bit more philosophy work than theological, at least at this juncture, and don’t have time to become an expert on commentaries– but I don’t believe I’ve ever posted before, I’m not one for theological debates. I find they rarely do nothing but divide and embitter Christians who should be dwelling in unity- they’re usually less about a genuine, selfless concern for the truth of God and more about **my view**. However, I’m all for discussion and I’m all for gentle rebuke of those who have put themselves under your authority.

    That being said, your comment was too much for silence. I find I cannot follow Wittgenstein’s advice to “pass over in silence.” I’m ashamed that anyone who has read the Word and calls himself a Christian would espouse such a divisive, faulty reading and interpretation. This is no different than the Christians who opposed the abolition of slavery by arguing that Paul deemed it moral in Philemon and gave it credibility in Colossians and Ephesians. Funny that these two twin passages about women and slavery are next to each other in each book- yet somehow you and other like-minded men have decided that one of these was a cultural tradition worthy of abolition and the other was an authoritative statement on the lower state of women meant to last for eternity.

    Rob, I mean this as a brother in Christ, one who will spend eternity with you and who is called to encourage you all the more as the day approaches- you may want to stop and ask yourself if this view is a significant part of the fact that you are single. This is not in any way a slam, put-down, etc. I really believe that your 1st century view of the worth, value, role, purpose, and nature of women is hindering your ability to love and cherish your wife in a culturally sensitive yet equally biblical and God-honoring way.

    Your view is simply unbiblical. Too much scriptural example refutes your view, in my opinion caused by an inability to detect the differences between a pure moral imperative or directive being given [consider others before yourselves, love your neighbor, etc.] and guidance and advice on how to live morally within cultural norms while still honoring God [men are above women, don't show your hair in church]. Not everything said in the bible is meant for all times- See Leviticus, then see Jesus and the prostitute about to be stoned.

    There are scriptural edicts that we need to respect and honestly deal with and wrestle with on this topic, obviously. Ephesians 5:22-33 is a great example, as some roles are prescribed for each. I’m not saying that women do not have a different role than men. However, different does NOT mean less or lower. Your view in light of Ephesians 5 is simply not possible. Your aim is for the woman to willing subjugate her will to the man’s. My only reply to that is this: Remember that if you take Ephesians 5’s role for the woman as being eternally normative for all women in all cultures you must do the same for man’s role in this verse:

    “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her…”

    Gave himself up for her- as in, completelyentirelywhollyfully giving up his will, even his most basic will to simply LIVE. Seems to me that even if you believe that this passage is normative, you’ve got some major obstacles to surmount in trying to explain how in the world you think the woman is supposed to bow to the will and well-being of the man without an equitably submissive -if not MORE so- attitude on the part of the man. After all, what’s more submissive than dying for another?

    Rob, this is from a brother who loves you and wishes you blessings in the Spirit- but who is also so pained when the name of Christ is used to oppress and repress anything but evil. I write this with confidence in the spirit of Romans 14 and similar passages, which I believe to be the key to understanding why Paul said some of these things the way he did- but mainly in the spirit of Galatians 5:1, which I’ll close with. I pray that the tone of this reproach found a soft heart willing at least to consider what has been said. It was written with the same heart.

    S. Lloyd Norris

    “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and DO NOT SUBMIT AGAIN to a yoke of slavery.”
    – Emphasis mine…sorry, no italics in this browser.

  10. S. Lloyd Norris said,

    January 31, 2008 at 1:50 am

    **disclaimer**

    I apologize, I meant to say “any possible wife, and women can see that” where I said “your wife.” I came back and added a sentence to that, and it must have overwritten or something. Sorry!

    S. Lloyd Norris

  11. April 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve read this commentary more than once – very useful


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