This book by Philip Towner is an impressive entry in the venerated New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT) series. Towner had already published on the Pastorals before this major work, and was known for assisting Howard Marshall on his earlier ICC work. It’s clearly a top-5 work on the Pastorals today and is the favorite of many. Even though, I couldn’t agree with his egalitarian viewpoint, I can’t deny the quality of his scholarship and the skill of writing in this work.
He provides a huge Introduction running through page 90 with a substantial bibliography preceding it. Though he’s not too keen on the label “Pastoral Epistles”, he sees value in addressing the three letters together and takes that approach in this Introduction. After addressing a few preliminary issues, he jumps into the major division in scholarly discussion on these letters–did Paul write them, or did even the same author write them ?–and he lays out the battle lines clearly. I’m more confident of the traditional viewpoints than he is, but I enjoyed his evenhanded explanations. Authorship issues bleed into historical setting and he upholds his quality discussion throughout. He covers theology, structure, and other introductory matters with great depth as well.
As you would expect in a NICNT volume, the commentary is on the English text with deeper exegetical comments in the footnotes. What you end up with is an usable volume with access to more specialized exegetical matters. The commentary itself is top-notch and enlightening for the reader. Towner used the NICNT format to good advantage and provides us with a volume well worth checking out. 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.
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