My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you have ever picked up a J.B. Lightfoot commentary, you know the precision and thoughtfulness that is wrapped up in the material. You also quickly recognize that the writer was serious about the Scriptures and about understanding them. That's what makes the J.B. Lightfoot Legacy Series a joy. As many of his uncovered manuscripts become published and presented, it will help to re-establish a renewed sense of taking the biblical texts in their contexts, grammar, linguistics, chronology, etc. and build a revived earnestness. An example of this has just been published in the third volume of the Lightfoot Legacy series, "The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: Newly Discovered Commentaries." This 362 page hardbound volume brings out the incomplete notes Lightfoot had been compiling on both 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter, and binds them to several articles published by the astute scribe that are germane to both biblical books. The editors, Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still, assisted by Jeanette M. Hagen, have done pastors and professors a service in compiling this material.
The rudimentary commentaries are abrupt and abridged because they were in the note-taking stage when they were originally penned. Lightfoot made notations of textual issues and penned observations about specific Greek words in each chapter. Neither commentary is full; not every verse is covered, and not every chapter is addressed. 2 Corinthians ends at chapter eleven only mentioning textual issues. 1 Peter begins with a fairly in-depth introduction, but never makes it past chapter three. Even though both commentaries were incomplete, the reader can have the satisfaction of knowing that the annotations were likely used in his lectures and presentations.
This third volume includes several articles drafted and divulged by the author in various venues. Some have become public domain, others were used by permission. The subjects of the additional chapters and appendices cover the chronology of Paul and his preparation for ministry. Others look at Titus, history, and what "The Letter Killeth, but the Spirit Giveth Life" means. The longest appendix, some 90 pages in length, is Lightfoot's article on the Christian Ministry. Finally, there are two favorable pieces about the importance and impact of Lightfoot, composed by C.K. Barrett and J.D.G Dunn.
All in all, "The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter" is a valuable asset, especially for Lightfoot fans. Though the commentaries are undeveloped, nevertheless they will still be valuable to the preacher, Bible student or Seminary professor. Once the whole Legacy Series is completed, they will make a superior addition to any library. I recommend the book, and the series.
Thanks to IVP Academic for providing, upon my request, the free copy of “The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter” used for this review. The assessments are mine given without restrictions or requirements (as per Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255).
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