Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: Vol. 1 by Ben Witherington III

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This volume covers Titus, I and II Timothy and the Epistles of John in the socio-rhetorical commentary style that Witherington has become famous for. In fact, it is almost beyond belief that Witherington has had such an enormous output of commentaries on New Testament books. If you suspect he may have written too quickly to have covered such ground, you will see in this volume that he hasn’t cut any corners in the subjects he addresses.

He makes quite a distinction about some of these epistles being homilies, but I couldn’t help but think as I read, what real difference does it make for we who study God’s Word? In the Pastoral Epistles he had a lengthy and quite good Introduction on them as a whole. Then there was an Introduction for each individual book before the commentary. I felt it covered the same sort of issues a regular commentary would. I did not agree with some of his conclusions, and feel perhaps his socio-rhetorical method can be overdone, but I still felt it a solid contribution.

I was even less in agreement with his conclusions on the Epistles of John, especially about who the writer is, and wonder if his thoughts about a theme of “wisdom” are beyond what the text can bear. Still, I found it easier to read than many commentaries.

At times he can be a little dogmatic, but the fact that he is a superb writer makes that a small price to pay. He will force you to think about his viewpoint, and even if you disagree, you will be far richer for having done so. In short, though I disagree in places, I give this volume a high ranking as a volume that succeeds in its mission–helping the reader to formulate his or her own positions.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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