Commentary on Old Testament


#1

I’m looking for a good commentary on the Old Testament any suggestions? I have many of the books from the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series but those are all NT. I was hoping to find something like that for the Old.


#2

Hi :slight_smile: did you check in the Scripture Study Resources? It’s the first sticky in Sacred Scripture Forum. There maybe be something in there …I haven’t checked though :slight_smile:


#3

You could get a Haydock Bible since it has commentary on both the Old & New Testaments. There is an online version here.


#4

The Navarre Bible comes to mind, although my understanding is that it takes certain aspects of the JEDP theory for granted.

While I don’t have much of a scholarly opinion on JEDP, since I’m not a scholar, I don’t particularly go out of my way to read commentaries that assume its validity either.

But perhaps you don’t care about that and, by all accounts, The Navarre Bible is an excellent resource.

If you’re looking for something pretty traditional and with a strong devotional direction, then there’s always Haydock.

The problem with that Bible commentary is that I’m not aware of a good printed version of it — and by “good” I mean one that doesn’t have, IMO, an awful, headache-inducing typesetting. (I have an older, two volume version of this.)

There’s also Orchard’s work, which is either available from sources that sell used books, or else from Lulu.


#5

:thumbsup:


#6

I’m looking for a good commentary on the Old Testament any suggestions? I have many of the books from the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series but those are all NT. I was hoping to find something like that for the Old.

Try the Stone Edition of the Chumash, which covers Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. It’s written by Art Scroll, which is an Orthodox Jewish publication house. The premise behind Art Scroll was to help less religiously observant English-speaking Jews to better understand Hebrew texts. They have a whole host of books on the Old Testament, and some pretty incredible prayer books as well, but the Stone Edition of the Chumash is a good place to start.

This book is really concise, clear English, and the commentary is excellent. You will learn quite a bit if you carefully study this text. It is, by far, one of my favorite books as far as helping to understand some of the really complex parts of Leviticus.

Granted, it is not Catholic. Regardless of that fact, I don’t believe that you would find the content objectionable by Catholic standards. The commentary is mostly explanatory, as well as providing insight into different passages as interpreted by some of the greatest minds in Judaism.


#7

Also, another Jewish series from the Jewish Publication Society is their 5-volume commentary on the Torah.

The church approves of using Jewish commentaries, mindful that they have a different point of view. For example, in this series, there is an essay about “the binding of Isaac” and its interpretation, first, as a argument against human sacrifice, and, second, as an argument against the Christian belief that God send His Son to be a sacrifice for sin. Well, it’s good to get their point of view so clearly, although it is not entirely so logical as to exclude that possibility that the Christian belief is valid.

I think that’s probably the most complicated anti-Christian argument they make, although, when the text supports something else, they will pounce on that as an anti-Christian proof text, but you won’t be mislead by these, because they are so blatant. Otherwise, it’s a fairly good exposition of what is in the Torah.

JPS has plans for other commentaries on the Jewish scriptures. some already have been published for Ruth, Judges, Esther (which they say is the most hilarious book in the Bible), Jonah, Song of Songs, maybe one or two others. the commentary on Psalms will be published by 2025.

Alternately, an much less expensive way to go is with The Jewish Study Bible, Oxford U Press, 2nd edition.

A Protestant commentary on the whole Bible is Matthew Henry’s Commentary, which is 250 years old, or more. I haven’t gone through it to any large extent. It’s a Protestant Christological point of view of scripture. I mention it because I think you can still get a relatively inexpensive one-volume version of this.

Then, for about $30 a pop, there’s the 30 (or so ) volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, which has copious excerpts from the early church fathers (well, that’s all that’s in here are such excerpts). Intervarsity Press, with lots of Catholic contributions. Some of the commentaries cited are from church fathers who might have been a little heretical here or there. The editors usually point this out, but you have to watch your step. The ECF largely used an allegorical method of exegesis, but there are still some very good insights, often on every page. apparently many of these citations are translated into English here for the first time. The editors have done a lot of selecting from ancient texts. Mostly the citations cover verse-by-verse of the Bible, but there are gaps where apparently nobody had written a commentary worth quoting. Sometimes the excerpt corresponds to the topic of a verse but may not have been originally written as a commentary on that verse.

I’ll have to re-read the previous post about ArtScroll. I’ve looked over their catalogs at least a half-dozen times, and I cannot point to anything like a line-by-line commentary of the Jewish Scriptures. Maybe I’ve overlooked it. They have the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds (“study of scripture”) in Aramaic, Hebrew, and English – these would be for scholars who have 000’s to invest. Surely I don’t have these.

At your nearby public library or nearby in your vicinity, you might be able to find the NEW Interpreter’s Bible, which is a Protestant set of commentaries. 1 Co 14 says we should pray for the gift of prophecy, but do you ever HEAR that prayer in a Catholic church? It’s not even discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You’ll find some pertinent remarks on that subject in this reference. My local library discarded the older version, which was not in the Reference section of the library, but they put the NEW version in the Reference Section – they hid it on me.


#8

I bought a couple of their books on Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, the Path of the Just, the Siddur (prayer book). I’ve seen the Chumash in the catalog but have been hesitant about it – my bookshelves are literally overflowing as it is.


#9

JEDP is otherwise or alternately referred to as the documentary hypothesis. You can do a search and find essays which attack these ideas.

a theory is a proposition which has a lot of evidence for it. You ought to take a look at the idea in whatever book you have, but you don’t have to have a cow about it. If you don’t buy it, fine. It is a “hypothesis” to explain the development of the Bible text we have today as being the result of several lines of oral or written tradition, resulting in the texts we have today.

It’s not something whose only dimension is whether you accept it or not, but when you consider it. it may give you insight into how the texts came together (as opposed to the single-author hypothesis of Genesis, for example).


#10

Thanks for all the responses. I think I might start with the Haydock Bible commentary and work from there.


#11

I’ll have to re-read the previous post about ArtScroll. I’ve looked over their catalogs at least a half-dozen times, and I cannot point to anything like a line-by-line commentary of the Jewish Scriptures. Maybe I’ve overlooked it. They have the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds (“study of scripture”) in Aramaic, Hebrew, and English – these would be for scholars who have 000’s to invest. Surely I don’t have these.

They have several line-by-line commentaries on the Torah, and another series that gives line-by-line commentary on various books in the Old Testament as well. I have their volumes on Rashi’s line-by-line commentary on the Torah, and it is amazing to read.

As far as the Babylonian Talmud, you can actually subscribe to a monthly subscription where they send a new volume every month or two for about $35 dollars per edition. It has Aramaic on one side, and English on the other. I think it is about 72 volumes in total. The mailing coincides with the Daf Yomi 7 year reading cycle, where you can finish the whole Talmud in about 7 years if you follow the reading cycle. For all of the antisemitic comments about the Talmud, it is heavy reading, but truly amazing with fascinating bantering back and forth on various theological and religious law issues.

The Jerusalem Talmud has a similar subscription plan, but its content is apparently even more intense than the Babylonian Talmud, and supposedly far more advanced in terms of content and sophistication.

I bought a couple of their books on Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, the Path of the Just, the Siddur (prayer book). I’ve seen the Chumash in the catalog but have been hesitant about it – my bookshelves are literally overflowing as it is.

I think I actually started with the Chumash, and went from there. What is nice is that the commentary is diverse, covering quite a bit of ground from various Jewish Sages. You can read the whole Chumash in an annual cycle as well.

The prayer books are amazing. They even have some editions that help you to speak the prayers in Hebrew, and others that help the reader learn Hebrew by reading the English translation right below the Hebrew.

We really could use a Catholic publishing house that mirrors the work of Art Scroll in terms of the depth of quality of their work. They produce some amazing books. Granted, they have their own theological leanings, but they have proven to be extremely helpful in learning the fundamentals of the Torah.


#12

Though the series is not yet complete you could also start with this and the others, by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, that are finished:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KNyKI9FL.SX380_BO1,204,203,200.jpg

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Book of Genesis

Mike


#13

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