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Assignment

For

  • Ancient Christian Interpreters
  • Reformation and Early Modern Interpreters
  • Modern (and perhaps Post-Modern) Interpreters

Gather information about your selected text, answering the following questions/prompts:

(1) What did writers interpret the text to mean, i. e. what did they write about it?

(2) Identify with a brief biographical sketch (a 4-5 sentence paragraph) each interpreter whose work will appear in your rough draft.

(3) Explain or otherwise describe the methods used by the writers to interpret the text. You must cite a minimum of three interpreters and their work.

Ancient Christian writings on Scripture for dummies

Find your passage in Ancient Christian commentary (Ref. BS491.2 .A52)

Look for the names of Ancient Christian writers, which are quoted in Ancient Christian commentary for that passage

  • The Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture [Volumes on the individual books (or sub-sections of books) of the Bible are in the Reference Collection]

Find the full-text in print or online for some of those ancient Christian writers, and read

  • searches like au:Chrysostom and su:Bible John
  • searches like su:Bible Galatians early church interpretation
  • searches like su:Bible Ezekiel church fathers
  • Ante-Nicene Fathers [Reference Collection]
  • Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers [Reference Collection]
  • Ancient Christian texts [Reference Collection]
  • Other sources, such as the series titled “Ancient Christian Writers” may be found in the general stacks in Nicholson Library.

Write down "(1) What did writers interpret the text to mean, i. e. what did they write about it?"  Look for differences.

For the "(2)  ... brief biographical sketch{es] (a 4-5 sentence paragraph)" in information from from dictionaries of Christianity

For the "(3) Explain or otherwise describe the methods used by the writers to interpret the text."  mostly express your own analysis.  Perhaps help from, introductions to the book

McKim, Donald K. 1998. Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
BS501 .A1 H57 1998
Kannengiesser, Charles. 2004. Handbook of Patristic Exegesis : The Bible in Ancient Christianity. The Bible in ancient Christianity, v. 1-2; Bible in ancient Christianity, v. 1-2. Leiden: Brill.
BR65 .K34 2004
or other books (searches like Chrysostom  Bible John)
 
Here are call numbers for some of the series of ancient Christian writers in the Nicholson Library reference collection:

Ancient Christian commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press. Ref. BS491.2 .A52

Ante-Nicene Fathers : The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers.  Ref. BR60 .A52 1994 Reprint, first published 1885-1896. 

Schaff, Philip. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. First Series /. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. Ref. BR60 .S4 1994  Reprint, first published 1886-1890.

Schaff, Philip, and Henry Wace. 1994. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Second Series. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers. Ref. BR60 .S44 1994  Reprint, first published 1890.

The Fathers of the Church : A New Translation. New York: Catholic University of America. Ref. BR60 .A62 A6.   Volumes after v.70 are available as eBooks; you have to search the library catalog by series and author for individual volumes, for example: Fathers of the Church Chrysostom

Online Dictrionaries for the Biography portion

Theological Commons (at Princeton Theological Seminary), The
Has a better search interface that most free digital sites, It offers more than 75,000 out-of-copyright titles in religion and theology.  Most of the books were published before 1923.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) subset Some full text available
May help to find Early Modern commentaries: full-text searchable collection of 25,300 eBooks from the roughly 125,000 books and pamphlets to be found in the Pollard and Redgrave and Wing short-title catalogues of early printed books, published in English or in England before 1700. 

Reformation and early Modern

Similarly to the Ancient Christian writers series, there is a collection of quotations ordered by books of the Bible in the following series.  However, the series is incomplete, and you may not find you book of the Bible, or passage. 

Reformation commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic.  Ref. BS491.2 .R43

The works of these reformation authors are widely available.  Look for an index volume which contain scripture indexes.  The first three of these writers are available at Nicholson library.

  • Jean (John) Calvin
    • Located in the circulating stacks, by books of the Bible, not as a set, for example Calvin's commentary on Genesis is at BS1235 .C293 v.1-2 
    • Search the library catalog, like this, substituting your book of the Bible:
      • Calvin commentaries Bible Genesis
    • The Old Testament commentaries are only in a 19th century translation by William Pringle.
    • The New Testament commentaries were translated also more recently, in the 1950s and 1960s edited by Calvin commentaries Bible Torrance, so to find these newer translations add Calvin commentaries Bible Torrance to your search; and you may have to "Place Hold" to get these shipped to Nicholson from Indiana Partner Libraries:
      • Calvin commentaries Bible Hebrews Torrance
  • Martin Luther   -- Stacks BR330 .E5 1955
  • John Wesley  -- Stacks BX8217 .W54 1979
        v.14 is has a scripture index to the other volumes
  • Matthew Henry (can find in most Bible study websites)
  • Jonathan Edwards  -- Stacks BX7117.E3 
        each volume includes a scripture index in the back, you'll need to look in the index in each volume of his sermons, which are arranged by year.
  • Thomas Aquinas
    He wrote commentaries on most N.T. books, and Psalms, Job, & Lamentations.  You can find English translations on line at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/
  • Cornelius a Lapide (active 1592-1616)
    Catholic commentator Great Commentary (online, includes most of the New Testament)

And you can find these people in Dictionaries of Christianity (see above in the biographies section of this guide.)

McKim, Donald K. 1998. Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters.Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
BS501 .A1 H57 1998  might suggest some other writers from this time period.  
Some might be found in online, 19th century translations
Peter Martyr Vermigli  (search book catalogs for Pietro Martire Vermigli)
Ulrich Zwingli
John Lightfoot
Richard Hooker
 
Sometimes you'll find scholarly sermons from this period which are complied as "commentaries".
Here's a reference book:
Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim. 1996. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. New York: Oxford University Press. BR302.8 .O93 1996

Modern and Post-Modern

The biographies of the authors is a difficult part of this assignment.  Maybe try

University/Seminary website for the vita/resume of the author, or a biography blurb (probably written by the university marketing department though)

Review of Biblical Literature
Here you might find reviews modern commentaries, and some more authoritative info on the authors. 

Don't trust dust jackets, publisher websites, or Amazon for these biographies.

 

Here are some commentary series in the Reference Collection

Word biblical commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan. ref BS491.2 .W67
Written mostly in the 1970s and 1980s, solid exegesis, with original languages from a moderate evangelical perspective.
 
The new international commentary on the Old Testament;  Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co..
ref BS491.2 .N481
Solid exegesis, with original languages, from a reformed evangelical perspective, mid-2000s to present.
 
Taylor, Richard A., and E. Ray. Clendenen. 2004. Haggai, Malachi. The new American commentary, v. 21A; New American commentary, v. 21A. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman. ref BS491.2 .N491
Baptist perspective, from the mid-2000s
 
The New Interpreter's Bible : Books.  Nashville: Abingdon.  ref BS491.2 .N484 1994
Mainline protestant perspective, from the mid-1990s
 
Interpretation biblical commentary series.  Westminster/John Knox.  (not shelved as a set, look in the catalog, in the circulation stacks)
Mainline protestant perspective, from the mid-1980s to mid-2000s
 
Smyth & Helwys Bible commentary;  Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys Pub. ref  BS491.2 .S69
Feels like a college textbook, from teh 2000s to present.
The new international commentary on the New Testament.  Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. ref  BS491.2 .N4812
Reformed evangelical from the 2010s
Anchor Bible series : A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New Haven: Yale University Press. ref  BS491.2 .A512
Scholarly academic perspective from the 1970s to the 2010s.
 
New Beacon Bible Commentary. 2010s  ref BS491.2 .N49
Beacon Bible Commentary. 1960s. Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press. ref  BS491.2 .B4
Wesleyan Nazarene (Church of God?) perspective.
 
Newsom, Carol A., Sharon H. Ringe, and Jacqueline E. Lapsley. 2012. Women's Bible Commentary. 3rd ed.Louisville, Ky: Westminster John Knox Press. ref BS491.3 .W66 2012
Example of a commentary explicitly owning its perspective
 
American Bible Society. 1999. Holy Bible : African American Jubilee Edition : Contemporary English Version. Jubilee ed. New York: American Bible Society. Stacks BS185 1999 .N48
Example of a commentary explicitly owning its perspective.
 
McKim, Donald K. 1998. Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
ref BS501 .A1 H57 1998

Web Sites

Review of Biblical Literature
Here you might find reviews modern commentaries, for part 3 of the assignment.  Site maintained by the Society of Biblical Literature.

Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library
The Wesleyan-Holiness Digital Library is a free, multidisciplinary, open access, digital resource of books, literature, multimedia material,  initiated by the Church of the Nazarene in response to the global need for access to resources for education, lifelong learning, and specifically ministerial preparation.

Theological Commons (at Princeton Theological Seminary), The
Has a better search interface that most free digital sites, It offers more than 75,000 out-of-copyright titles in religion and theology.  Most of the books were published before 1923.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) subset
May help to find Early Modern commentaries: full-text searchable collection of 25,300 eBooks from the roughly 125,000 books and pamphlets to be found in the Pollard and Redgrave and Wing short-title catalogues of early printed books, published in English or in England before 1700. 

Religion Online
"More than 6,000 articles and chapters. Topics include Old and New Testament, Theology, Ethics, History and Sociology of Religion, Communication and Cultural Studies, Pastoral Care, Counseling, Homiletics, Worship, Missions and Religious Education."

Christian Classics Ethereal Library 
Classic Christian Writings sponsored by Calvin College.

Various online Bibles, such as:

 A searchable collections of Bibles including: English versions; Greek and Hebrew versions; ancient versions; plus many versions in other languages. Includes additional searchable full-text tools such as topical indexes and commentaries.

Search for Books and eBooks

Advanced Catalog Searching

Selecting Keywords for Searching for Books, eBooks, and Articles

Searching ATLA Religion Database for Scripture passages

Please watch this more advanced video about the ATLA Religion Database,
teaching you how to search its unique index of Scripture passages.

Assoc. Professor, Electronic Resources Librarian

Browzine Christian Ministries

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