Leslie Allen is a veteran commentator who has contributed commentaries in several important series. Here in the Old Testament Library (OTL) Allen has replaced an earlier weak volume in the series with this widely-recognized contribution on the Book of Jeremiah. Having used some of his other commentaries, I found here the same quality of efforts as I saw in earlier projects. The book is even considered more conservative than several in this series.
After a nice bibliography, Mr. Allen begins a rather brief Introduction for this commentary. I appreciated his sharing his six guiding principles of approach to this commentary. I wish all commentators would so succinctly tell us up front the approach they’re going to take. He gets into translation and text and then quickly moves to the genre. He feels that “oracles of disaster constitute a backbone for the book”. He discusses the quotation formulas that you will encounter in Jeremiah. He barely addresses style before he jumps into literary development. Though I could not agree with his conclusions about the LXX and MT, he did carefully state his reasons. His comments on structure were helpful, and then he ends the Introduction with a discussion of purpose in the complex Book of Jeremiah. He remarks that the “purposeful trajectory of overriding grace that stretches over the book like a rainbow” is key.
The commentary was superior to the Introduction. In each passage, he gave the text with exegetical notes, followed by a paragraph on the passage as a whole, and then with more comments on individual verses. Though I could not always agree with his conclusions, you could tell that Mr. Allen was a season scholar with a full grasp of all the issues.
I found this book to be one of the more important in the OTL series, and as I said before, more conservative than some of them. Anyone trying to secure the most important commentaries on Jeremiah for a first-class library, simply must add this volume. I recommend it.
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.