Finished His Pentateuchal Commentary

With this volume, the author has finished his commentary on the Pentateuch, and it is one of the very best in existence. He is one of my four favorite living OT commentators (the other three being Iain Duguid, John Mackay, and Dale Ralph Davis). I am hoping that John Currid will be able to continue on writing on Joshua and beyond in the same series. The only really irritating thing about this series is the endnotes. As I have said before, endnotes defeats the entire purpose of having footnotes. I know it saves money, but it greatly increases the irritation factor for anyone reading the commentary to have to flip back and forth all the time. Nevertheless, anyone preaching or teaching on Numbers will want to have this commentary.

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7 Comments

  1. Greg Smith said,

    October 14, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    No one has ever adequately explained to me why it is cheaper to print endnotes than it is to print footnotes. In this era of high tech word processing, I can hardly believe it can make a difference.

    Endnotes are like putting the engine for a car in the back seat. You need to have it but it [the engine] doesn’t belong there. Endnotes are the most annoying practice any publisher can foist upon their customers. I don’t understand how anyone in the position to make such a decision can sleep at night.

  2. Stephen Welch said,

    October 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Greg, I agree with you about the endnotes. Endnotes to me are cheesy and lazy. When I was in college and seminary we were not allowed to use endnotes. If seminarians have to use footnotes I think a respectable Reformed author should do the same.

  3. Fred Greco said,

    October 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    This is an excellent series, and I agree with you about the other OT commentators. Currid is a model for what an author should be in terms of work ethic. The reason he completed such a large body of work *while* serving and preaching in the church, and while teaching in seminary is because he wrote every day. Every day he went off to his “writing office” (in a different place than his regular office) and put out a set amount of material.

  4. Thomas said,

    October 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    @Greg Smith:

    I believe there are only two word-processing applications that can generate footnotes: Microsoft Word and Adobe FrameMaker, but both have serious flaws that prevent most publishers from using them to make books. (WordPerfect may generate fns but it’s slightly less obsolete than Gutenberg and has a limited following among a diminishing generation of attorneys who were compelled to use it in law school.)

    Word’s footnotes are perfect but Word cannot generate a TOC or an index, and it won’t allow you to adjust your font size or leading down to the micro-point, which is problematic because books are seldom set in 10 on 12 anymore. (It’s common to see books set in 10.7 on 13.1 (or any other decimal) because digital fonts are not created equal. 10 point Times is much larger than 10 point Perpetua, even though they both say 10. So if you want Perpetua to match Times’ size, you have to increase it to 11.7 points, which means your leading must increase as well. This affects the top and bottom margins and it will affect the number of lines you can fit on a page.)

    On the other hand, FrameMaker generates TOCs and indexes, and it allows you to adjust your font size and leading to any fraction. And while FM does generate footnotes, it does not have the ability to scroll fns from page to page. For example, if you have a two-paragraph footnote but only two lines of the note will fit on the page of the citation, FM bumps the entire note to the next page because it can’t scroll the note from page to page. Even worse, if a given fn is more than a page long (which is common with academic works), FM runs the note off the page into oblivion. There is one work-around for this flaw, but it requires a very experienced FM technician and is extremely time-consuming. One mistake can nuke a whole chapter.

    Therefore, most bookmakers choose to use endnotes.

  5. October 15, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Fred: That’s the way Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) wrote his novels – a set amount of words every morning and every week. That’s how he got nearly 50 novels completed in his lifetime. And yet, they’re not hackwork. Trollope is considered to be right up there with Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray, etc., in the 19th-century English pantheon. And, in the commentary-writing world, Currid is a Trollope.

    I have Mackay’s 2 volumes on Jeremiah and Kitchen’s magnificent volume on Proverbs – all in the Mentor series. I really appreciate this new “trend” of more commentaries being written by working pastors (some of whom happen also to be working scholars).

  6. October 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Re: Endnotes
    I have used InDesign for some years manually setting footnotes for The Confessional Presbyterian journal. I will continue to do so because of the complex layout. However, I recently laid out a book using InDesign’s footnote feature (the W. Robert Godfrey Festschrift) and it worked well for a straight forward book project, so I am using it for future book projects as it saves time over manually tracking them, and as I indicate, InDesign has continued to improve the functionality of the feature and it is at the point I”m content to use it. Framemaker is for very complex technical books; if they could be combined it would be a killer text layout program (Word is not a text layout program). I use InDesign for the superior tooks for tweaking the text. As long as we have printed books there is no reason to do lousy page layouts.

  7. October 17, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I mean “tools”; not speaking of another hobbit.


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