Monday, June 28, 2010
Book Notice: 1-2 Thessalonians by Gordon Fee
Gordon D. Fee
The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians
NICNT; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009.
Available from Amazon.com
Gordon Fee is well known for his works on textual criticism, introduction to NT interpretation, and various commentaries on Paul (esp. 1 Corinthians, Philippians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, and Galatians). This volume on 1-2 Thessalonians is vintage Fee as he exegetes the text with normal vigor and acumen. As for some highlights. Fee regards the "wrath" in 1 Thess. 1.10 as God's future judgment and not the wrath of a tribulation. He accepts the authenticity of 1 Thess. 2.14-16 and maintains that the passage is "simply too Pauline" and there are more logical places for such an interpolation if this were one. 1 Thess. 4.13-18 contains little information about the actual process of the Lord's coming because, Fee writes, "The reason is simple: Paul has almost no interest whatever in our final eschatological 'geography'; rather, his interest is altogether personal, having to do with their being 'with the Lord,' whose 'abode' is regularly expressed as 'in heaven'." On the significance of the second coming in 1 Thess. 5.4-11, Fee comments: "One of the unfortunate aspects of the emphasis in some North American Christian communities on the Lord's return is that this passage, which was intended as a word of assurance and hope for those beleaguered believers, has so often been used by preachers as a threat, so as either to spur believers on to behave righteously or to frighten them to do so". Fee accepts Pauline authorship of 2 Thessalonians and follows I. Howard Marshall's view that several weak arguments don't add up to one strong one. Fee states: "When one reads the literature by those who argue that Paul is not the author of this letter, one is struck by the 'thinness' of the argumentation as such, especially since there is hardly a single argument that does not take some form of subjectivity on the part of its proponent(s)". As for 2 Thess. 8.11 and the meaning of "he who restrains" Fee is agnostic and comments: "So, at the end of the day, we should probably leave the sentence as it is - something that he and they both knew, and because they did know, we do not, and most likely never will this side of eternity".
Be ready also for Gordon Fee's forthcoming Revelation commentary in the New Covenant Commentary Series published by Wipf & Stock.