Monday, December 2, 2013

A Review of Carson's Commentary Guide

Over at For Christ and His Kingdom, Carmen Imes gives a good review of D.A. Carson's newly released NT Commentary Survey.  What a great tool for students, pastors, and scholars!  I just received my review copy from Baker about three weeks ago.  I will have my review up soon.  But I will mostly be concerned to highlight differences between this survey and his previous (6th edition) one.

Carmen basically compares Carson's and Longman's respective surveys.  She helpfully (and, 'affirmingly') hits some similar points I had previously made in my comparison between Longmann's survey and Carson's (here is my review of Longman's new edition where I compare more in depth.  The below link is a quicky!).  One being the layout and accessability.  Carmen says,

Carson weaves his analysis into paragraphs that stretch into page after page. For example, commentaries on Matthew fill nine pages, and Mark six. Readers will need to read the whole section carefully in order to decide which commentaries are worth their time. Unlike Longman’s 5th edition, this book is no “fast food” restaurant. The menu takes quite a while to read. This weakness is partially mitigated by the chart at the end that highlights “best buys,” but that chart includes only one or two commentaries for each NT book.
As I contended, they both have their upsides and downsides.

I think this was a good question that many will be asking.  While Carson is clear in many cases, as in Luke, among other places, clarity could be brought here that may still be lost in his "best buys" section:
While Carson’s narrative is helpful, I often find myself wondering, “What’s the bottom line? Which commentary should I consult?”
 I hope I can help add to the discussion with what the payout would be of buying the new edition instead of just getting an older one for a few bucks.

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