Second Epistle To The Corinthians (New International Greek Testament Commentary)
~Murray J. Harris
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Average customer rating:
2.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0802823939
Manufacturer : Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company|
Release data : February, 2005
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Solid, but not remarkable
Murray Harris is a solid exegete and is known for his grammatical acumen. This commentary, however, does not read like the rest of the NIGTC series (with the possible exception of Luke by IH Marshall). The NIGTC series is intentionally written toward a higher level audience, those that still know their Greek and can wade through French and German at least a little.
The work as a whole is solid, if unspectacular. Harris holds to many traditional points, and rarely comes up with new arguments for them. That being said, the best feature of this commentary by far is the introduction. He argues quite well for 2 Corinthians' unity and covers the theology of 2 Corinthians as only Victor Paul Furnish had ever done previously (with the exception of the NTT series by Cambridge).
The previous reviewer of this book said that there is a mistake moving from page 67-68 in the book, yet there is not. Page 68 begins with a list of specific grammatical or rhetorical devices used by Paul in the letter. One such device is "citation of a view, with a verb of saying expressed" (p. 68). This just happens to be the first phrase on the page, and so the previous reviewer thought it was the middle of a thought when it was actually a beginning of a list of terms, none of which are in upper case.
Occasionally this commentary read more like one from the Word series (which begins the comments with the Greek text) or the BECNT series (which muddles everything together, grammar and theology, in the comments section). Harris mixes in theology with grammar, and thus allows the reader to think that theology and grammar are determined at the same time when grammar should come first and theology second.
I definitely would recommend Thrall (ICC) and Furnish (AB) first, but Harris' volume is still solid. The bibliography is extensive and clearly Harris put a lot of work into this commentary.
I have been delighted by other commenaries in the NIGTC series, and was eagerly anticipating Murray Harris' commentary on 2 Corinthians. After all, Harris is a very experienced teacher who had previously written a commentary on 2 Corinthians in 1976. Now with this completely new commentary I was looking forward to the fruit of Murray's lifetime of scholarship. I was looking forward to fruit, but was served 962 pages of sawdust. It is difficult to describe how painfully boring this work is and I would have returned it if it wasn't an assigned text book for one of my classes.
Rather than providing crisply argued interpretations of Paul's letter, this commentary is just a pile of information and disjointed opinions. The reason I gave it 2 stars rather than none is simply because it contains so much information that it has some value to anyone who wants to devote several years to studying 2 Corinthians. But if you are a pastor looking for a good commentary to help with a 4 month sermon series ... don't even consider this tomb as an option.
On top of how painful this text is to actually wade through, the editors should be ashamed of themselves for actually putting it into print. This text contains such useful features as an analysis of the Chiastic structure being presented in UNTRANSLATED Italian (p. 111). This may be designed to show how well read Harris is - but is just annoying to the 99.9% of English speaking pastors who don't read Italian. The editors should have just said NO.
Unless you feel compelled to buy a dozen commentaries on 2 Corinthians, you should scratch this text off of your "wish list".