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Fortress Commentary on the Bible

Examining ancient contexts • Interpretive tradition • Contemporary questions

Featuring the work of over seventy-five top biblical scholars, the commentary presents a balanced synthesis of current scholarship, enabling readers to interpret Scripture for a complex and pluralistic world. The volumes balance attention to ancient biblical contexts with attention to contemporary challenges and to the ethics of responsible interpretation.

Each volume contains introductory essays that address the general challenges that constitute the ethical and theological agenda for interpreting the Old or New Testament in the twenty-first century. Section introductions address questions of historical origin and context at the center of scholarship on each section of the Bible.

Commentary entries are provided for every book in the Old Testament, Apocrypha, and New Testament. Each entry includes a brief introduction to the book, notes for “sense units,” and a list of works cited. A unique feature of the commentary is the way every sense unit is addressed on three levels:

1. The Text in Its Ancient Context. What did the text probably mean in its original historical and cultural context? Attention is given to the relevant text-critical, lexical, syntactic, stylistic, and rhetorical issues, as well as literary, historical, and cultural context.
2. The Text in the Interpretive Tradition. What have people subsequently taken the text to mean? Here the commentary explores the various ways Jewish, Christian, or other traditions have interpreted or applied the text.
3. The Text in Contemporary Discussion. What are the most important problems that arise for readers and hearers today? The focus here is on the ways we interrogate or “talk back” to the text. This section invites the reader to join a lively contemporary discussion about how the interpretation of the text matters.

 

Fortress Press Reference Editor Scott Tunseth and Acquisitions Editor Neil Elliott explain the vision and contexts of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible!

 

Explore the books

The Old Testament and Apocrypha
The Old Testament and Apocrypha

Hardcover
1,050pp
​ISBN: 9780800699161
$49
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Look inside the book!
OT Contents 
OT Contributors 
Introduction 
OT Chapter 1 excerpt 

The New Testament
The New Testament

Hardcover
700pp
ISBN: 9780800699178
$39
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Look inside the book!
NT Contents 
NT Contributors 
NT Chapter 1 excerpt 

Fortress Commentary on the Bible set
Fortress Commentary on the Bible set

Hardcover
1,750pp
ISBN: 9780800699529
$88
Order now

The Advisory Board

Walter Brueggemann • William R. Herzog II • Richard A. Horsley
Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza • Gale A. Yee

The Editors

The Old Testament and Apocrypha

Gale Yee
Gale A. Yee

Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hugh R. Page Jr.
Hugh R. Page Jr.

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

Coomber
Matthew J. M. Coomber

St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa

The New Testament

Margaret Aymer
Margaret Aymer

Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, Georgia

Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge

Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas

David A. Sánchez
David A. Sánchez

 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California

An Interview with the Editors

Creating a new two-volume Bible commentary from scratch requires many contributors and thousands of hours of research, writing, and editing. The two-volume Fortress Commentary on the Bible has over seventy contributors working with the guidance of six scholar editors, and Fortress staff, Scott Tunseth (General Editor for Reference) and Neil Elliott (Bible Studies Acquisition Editor). Planning for the two-volume commentary began at SBL 2011, and the volumes were published just in time for SBL 2014. Here, Scott Tunseth asks the editors about their work.

Endorsements

As an effort in destabilization of genre, I applaud this 'commentary'. . .

"Although still a fierce crank about and critic of the commentary as an academic-intellectual genre and religio-cultural-political refraction, I am intrigued by this new project: the editors seem to me—certainly, in the framing material, with its raising of ex-centric and broad problems, questions, and issues—to be working in the direction of destabilization of genre. And so as an effort in destabilization of genre I applaud this 'commentary.' "

—Vincent L. Wimbush | Institute for Signifying Scriptures, Claremont Graduate University

An excellent resource for beginning students and Bible study groups.

"The Fortress Commentary on the Bible provides an excellent resource for beginning students and Bible study groups. It includes many fine contributions by experienced and reliable scholars, and the bibliographies are a treasure trove."

—John J. Collins | Yale Divinity School

A must read . . . exquisite and profound, yet quite accessible.

"With the culinary artistry of a Julia Childs and a Wolfgang Puck, producing elegance, symmetry, and engaging knowledge, the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha provides a wonderful smorgasbord of insight into the Hebrew Bible and Apocrypha with rich servings of literary, historical, and theological wisdom. With global, diverse voices and perspectives, contributors address texts in their ancient contexts and the textual interpretative traditions, and situate the texts in their contemporary milieus, always aware of their audiences. With the rich appetizers and entrees of sociocultural, literary, and political insights, this biblical commentary invites readers to gain insights that allow for marveling at the poetic and prophetic voices in the text, toward becoming responsible interpreters. This work is a must read for those with an appetite of curiosity, for those who desire a new recipe for reading, and for any who desire to have a one-volume biblical commentary that is exquisite and profound, yet quite accessible."

—Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan | Shaw University Divinity School

Very impressive—the best one-volume scholarly commentary on the New Testament available today.

—Marcus J. Borg | Former Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture Emeritus, Oregon State University

A welcome new approach that gives readers an introduction to the rich interpretive tradition.

"While most biblical commentaries of the past have focused either on the text in its original context or in contemporary interpretation or attempted to combine the two with very little in between, this new approach takes on the three aspects of ancient context, contemporary discussion, and the middle ground of the interpretive tradition. In response to recent interest in the history of interpretation, this represents a welcome new approach that gives readers an introduction to the rich interpretive tradition that has happened over the centuries between the biblical writings and our own interaction with them."

—Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ | Charles Fischer Professor of New Testament Emerita Brite Divinity School

Unlike many commentaries, this one is more interested in stimulating a critical encounter with the biblical text than in providing a set of answers. . .

“The new Fortress Commentary on the Bible offers a tool for encountering Scripture in a new and multi-faceted way. Like many commentaries on the Bible, it provides information on the cultural and social situation in which the biblical text was composed. . . . Unlike many commentaries, this one is more interested in stimulating a critical encounter with the biblical text than in providing a set of answers about what it once may have meant. With this approach, the commentary offers to be particularly useful to intelligent modern readers of the Bible, who respect its role as a formative text in the development of the Christian tradition, but who also approach the text sensitive to its potential dysfunction. It promises to be a welcome tool for pastors and teachers seeking to encourage a thoughtful and critical engagement with the Bible.”

—Harold W. Attridge | Yale Divinity School

Hear from the Contributors

An Interview with the Contributors

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible was created with the expert work of over seventy contributors working with the guidance of six scholar editors, and Fortress staff, Scott Tunseth (General Editor for Reference) and Neil Elliott (Bible Studies Acquisition Editor). Here, Fortress Press asks a select group of the contributors about their work.

My Teaching Tools

The Fortress Commentary on the Bible distills the current conversations in contemporary biblical studies, gathers scholarship from a cohort of diverse perspectives, and provides a unique view of biblical texts through the lens of contexts. This makes the commentary an excellent resource for instructors and students alike in upper-level biblical studies and seminary courses. Read an interview with Professor Paul Kim on why he uses the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha in his Introduction to the Hebrew Bible course!

FP: Why did you select the Fortress Commentary on the Bible for use in your Introduction to the Hebrew Bible course?

PK: It is one of the latest commentaries out there, which also appears to read like a good “introduction” textbook for Hebrew Bible / Old Testament. It is also from a reputable publisher.

FP: The Fortress Commentary on the Bible emphasizes interpreting biblical texts with three contexts: the text in its ancient context, the text in the interpretive tradition, and the text in contemporary discussion. Why do you find it important to include the discussion of contexts in your teaching?

PK: I like all three contexts—in fact, this is ingenious. One reservation I had was whether covering three contexts would obstruct the overall quality. However, I am delightfully surprised that each context discussion is rich with solid scholarship and cutting-edge knowledge. I have read many portions thus far (e.g., Exodus–Chronicles, plus some prophetic books), and find each section immensely insightful. Especially, the “contemporary” context discussions are thought-provoking, powerful, yet balanced.

FP: Similarly, why should students care about studying in context?

PK: Students often are less than enthused about learning the Bible—an ancient text with ancient and often remote and unappealing stories, especially the Old Testament as opposed to the more popularized New Testament. Helping them learn the key ingredients of ancient contexts, long interpretive traditions, and contemporary connections can enrich their clearer understanding, and even appreciation, of this ancient text.

FP: How do you present contexts in class?

PK: I try to introduce the Ancient Near Eastern texts, culture, and archaeology (e.g., Context of Scripture texts [Hallo and Younger, Brill]) for ancient context. For interpretive traditions, I have students do their own group presentation by doing extensive research on a given topic. For contemporary discussions, I introduce a movie, current news issue, or pastoral care case studies so that students can find how characters, events, and issues of the Bible do matter for pertinent characters, events, and issues of today's society.

Overall, I am pleasantly impressed with the Fortress Commentary on the Bible, and I hope to use it as one of my main textbooks for upcoming years!

Reviews

Academic Reviews for the Fortress Commentary on the Bible

Media Reviews 

Books

9781506415857
Gale A. Yee (Editor), Hugh R. Page Jr. (Editor), Matthew J.M. Coomber (Editor)
Release date: September 1, 2016

This concise commentary on the Prophets, excerpted from the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha, engages readers in the work of biblical interpretation. Contributors from a rich diversity of perspectives connect historical-critical analysis with sensitivity to current theological, cultural, and interpretive issues. 

Each chapter (Isaiah through Malachi) includes an introduction and commentary based on three lenses: ancient context, the interpretative tradition, and contemporary questions and challenges. The Prophets introduces fresh perspectives and draws students, preachers, and interested readers into the challenging work of interpretation.

9781506415932
Release date: September 1, 2016

This commentary on the Hebrews, the General Epistles, and Revelation, excerpted from the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The New Testament, engages readers in the work of biblical interpretation. Contributors connect historical-critical analysis with sensitivity to current theological, cultural, and interpretive issues.

Each chapter (Hebrews through Revelation) includes an introduction and commentary based on three lenses: ancient context, the interpretative tradition, and contemporary questions and challenges.

Hebrews, the General Epistles, and Revelation introduces fresh perspectives and draws students, preachers, and interested readers into the challenging work of interpretation. 

Apocrypha
Gale A. Yee (Editor), Hugh R. Page Jr. (Editor), Matthew J.M. Coomber (Editor)
Release date: September 1, 2016

This concise commentary on the Apocrypha, excerpted from the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha, engages readers in the work of biblical interpretation. Contributors from a rich diversity of perspectives connect historical-critical analysis with sensitivity to current theological, cultural, and interpretive issues. Each chapter (Tobit through 4 Maccabees) includes an introduction and commentary based on three lenses: ancient context, the interpretative tradition, and contemporary questions and challenges. The Apocrypha introduces fresh perspectives and draws students, preachers, and interested readers into the challenging work of interpretation. 

9781506415833
Gale A. Yee (Editor), Hugh R. Page Jr. (Editor), Matthew J.M. Coomber (Editor)
Release date: September 1, 2016

This commentary on wisdom, worship, and poetry, excerpted from the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha, engages readers in the work of biblical interpretation. Contributors connect historical-critical analysis with sensitivity to current theological, cultural, and interpretive issues.

Each chapter (Job through Song of Songs) includes an introduction and commentary based on three lenses: ancient context, the interpretative tradition, and contemporary questions and challenges.

Worship, Wisdom, and Poetry introduces fresh perspectives and draws students, preachers, and interested readers into the challenging work of interpretation. 

9781506415819
Gale A. Yee (Editor), Hugh R. Page Jr. (Editor), Matthew J.M. Coomber (Editor)
Release date: September 1, 2016

This commentary on the Historical Writings, excerpted from the Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha, engages readers in the work of biblical interpretation. Contributors from a rich diversity of perspectives connect historical-critical analysis with sensitivity to current theological, cultural, and interpretive issues.

Each chapter (Joshua through Esther) includes an introduction and commentary based on three lenses: ancient context, the interpretative tradition, and contemporary questions and challenges.

The Historical Writings introduces fresh perspectives and draws students, preachers, and interested readers into the challenging work of interpretation. 

Pages

Updates

New video introduces the Fortress Commentary on the Bible!
April 30, 2015
Fortress Press Reference Editor Scott Tunseth and Acquisitions Editor Neil Elliott explain the vision and contexts of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible!
New interview with a Spring 2015 user!
March 26, 2015
How are professors using the Fortress Commentary on the Bible in their classes? Read an interview with current user Professor Paul Kim of Methodist Theological School in Ohio!