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#45 - An evaluation of The Women's Bible Commentary
by Robert Nguyen Cramer
This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.
Question/insight #45: "Why a WOMEN'S Bible commentary? Is God a respecter of persons?"
[BibleTexts note: This question from a fellow-participant in the "Ordination of Women" email forum was in response to my having quoted from the Women's Bible Commentary, near the end of my webpage commentary at http://www.bibletexts.com/terms/bd.htm.]
Response #45: That's a good question. Let's look at the precedent in Jesus' words in his various "commentaries" on "the kingdom." We have within the New Testament gospels:
"The disciples' commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Peter's commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Children's commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Eunuchs' commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Tax collectors' and prostitutes' commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Scribes' commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Poor people's commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"People Christianly healed commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Those born from above (or again) commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
"Those born of water and Spirit commentary on the kingdom" by Jesus
Was Jesus a "respecter" (Greek: prosopoleptes, English: "one who shows favoritism"*, Acts 10:34) of persons, or was he simply addressing individual needs/issues and/or individual audiences?
* Barclay M. Newman, Jr., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, New York: United Bible Societies, 1993, p. 155)
I do not see the Women's Bible Commentary, Expanded Edition, with Apocrypha, edited by Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe (Atlanta: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) as showing favoritism. It simply addresses individual needs/issues and/or individual audiences -- and it does so in a manner that is at least as fair, honest, and genuinely scholarly as most other one-volume Bible commentaries. Of all the Bible commentaries that I have in my own research library **, not one is so absolutely exhaustive that it includes all that all of the other commentaries have. Each commentary includes material that its editors consider to be most important within the commentary's intended own scope and within their own editorial perspective -- whether that commentary is a one volume commentary of the entire Bible, a multi-volume commentary of a single book of the Bible, or a multi-volume commentary of the entire Bible. The Women's Bible Commentary not only includes much of the same basic information found in other high quality one-volume commentaries, but it also provides valid information and valuable insights that are not found in other commentaries. It is an excellent biblical commentary worthy of inclusion in any Bible student's library.
"Women's Bible Commentary: A reader's endorsement" at http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa045.htm
Copyright 1996-2005 Robert Nguyen Cramer