The title of the paper was "Of the Making of Commentaries There is No End: The Past, Present, and Future of a Genre”. In the lecture Tremper argued that writing new commentaries is an important and necessary endeavor. To be honest, I was surprised at this perspective given the oft stated remark, "Not another commentary!" I thought he would trumpet the elitest view that commentaries are a waste of scholarly energy.
Given that I am currently under contract for two commentaries, Tremper's argument was relevant to me. So for all you commentary naysayers here is Tremper's seven reasons for writing new commentaries.
- Advances in knowledge
- New methods and prespectives
- Competing interpretations
- Human finitude
- Reading in community(s)
- Changing context(s)
- Different readerships: clergy and laity
One other interesting element was Tremper's less than sanguine view of the Brazos's Commentary series. I would concur with his coolness . I reviewed the Matthew volume by Hauerwas. While I found it spiritually enriching, it was only loosely connected to Matthew. I wondered at times if he actually needed the Matthean text for the book. If a theological commentary works, it must engage closely with the text and its context. The text should not be a pretext for a theological perpsective that would have otherwise existed without the Matthean text.