Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
RAR 13:2 (Spring 2004) p. 191
A Critical And Exegetical Commentary On The Gospel Of Saint Matthew W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison International Critical Commentary, Edinburgh: T.& T.Clark (1988–97) Volume 1:(Not yet available) Volume 2:808 pages, cloth, $75.00,
Volume 3:789 pages, cloth, $75.00
The Gospel According To Matthew Leon Morris Grand Rapids: Eerdmans (1992)
798 pages, cloth, $47.00
T he new edition of The International Critical Commentary /( on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (ICC) quite evidently has set for itself a very high standard. The first installment was C. E. B. Cranfield’s magisterial volumes on Romans, and now we have the three volumes on Matthew by the capable team of the late New Testament scholar, W. D. Davies, and his protege, Dale C. Allison. Inasmuch as this renewed version of the ICC seeks to continue the tradition of meticulous philological and historical research set by its predecessor, the commentary of Davies/Allison is certainly no disappointment.
For the user of the commentary, the most important consideration is the methodological-hermeneutical approach of its authors. One of the phenomena of modern biblical study has been the trend to dismiss the factor of context and concentrate on “the text in itself.” For the practitioners of such disciplines as the “new hermeneutic,” “structuralism,” and the various brands of “post-structuralism,” the historical
RAR 13:2 (Spring 2004) p. 192
study of the Bible has been assigned only a preliminary role in interpretation, the primary assumption being that any author (biblical or otherwise) creates a literary world of his own, an art for art’s sake, upon which extraneous factors must not be allowed to obtrude. The result has been that traditional introductory matters such as date, authorship, readers, as well as the consultation of parallel literature falling within the milieu of the document in question, have been replaced by a concentration on the “deep structures” of a writing, i.e., the underlying features which form the basis of all narratives: the functions, motives and interactions of the main characters (and objects), and—most notably—the types of oppositions and their resolutions which develop as the text unfolds. In short, the thrust of the literary critical method is its disavowal of an “intended meaning” of an author within a historical /cultural context, an intention which addresses issues contemporary with the author.
It is against such a hermeneutic that Davies/Allison react. In their words, “We cannot gather grapes from briars nor figs from thistles: our expectation of the fruit to be harvested depe...
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