Word Biblical Commentary

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This is a list of the current and forthcoming commentaries in the Word Biblical Commentary. For more series, see my post on commentary series.

The Word Biblical Commentaries (WBC) are an unusual commentary series. They're supposed to be combining an academic approach, based in the original languages in full original language fonts, with an evangelical approach. The reality is less clear. Some of the volumes are less detailed than others, though all do use the original language fonts. The evangelicalism of this series varies considerably depending on the author. Some are clearly theological conservatives who hold to some form of inerrancy. Others don't seem to me to be evangelicals even by a reasonable stretch of the term. They say each author needs to hold to evangelicalism by a fairly loose interpretation of the term, but I think the editors are so loose with it that it's ceased to have any meaning. Some of the volumes are accordingly far removed from what most evangelicals are looking for. Others are solidly conservative and consider the kinds of questions people of faith rather than historians and scholars will ask. I consider Wenham on Genesis, Williamson on Ezra-Nehemiah, O'Brien on Colossians and Philemon, and Lane on Hebrews as the best commentaries on those books, hands down, and Clines on Job, Craigie on Psalms 1-50, Stuart on Hosea-Jonah, Longenecker on Galatians, Lincoln on Ephesians, Mounce on the Pastoral Epistles, and Bauckham on II Peter and Jude are among the very best on those books. The series is nearing completion. Judges, Job 21-42, Acts, and I Corinthians remain vacant. A number of volumes have been contracted for replacements. Only a few such replacements have already appeared.

The format of the series gets mixed reviews. Some find it extremely helpful by separating different aspects of what a commentary does into different sections. Others find it incredibly annoying. I'm in the latter camp. It's hard to find anything, because you have to look at three or four different sections sometimes, only to find that it's not covered at all in some cases. In a normal commentary, you just look under the verse in question, and if it's not there you know fairly quickly. The bibliographies get the most credit from reviewers, because they're ridiculously comprehensive, but I think they're one of the biggest weaknesses of the series. They're so scattered. There's no central bibliography, and the author indexes aren't compiled very well. There are no footnotes, so every reference occurs in text, but the references are always author and date after the first reference, and it's usually very difficult to find the first reference to get the whole citation. I've tried to find references to certain authors, and a number of page references the index says to look at won't even discuss that author, or the first appearance of that author isn't in the index at all so I won't find the full bibliographic information. If they had real bibliographies instead of scatttered mini-biographies, it would be much more helpful. The reviewers constantly say the series is great for the bibliographies, but having such comprehensive bibliographies scattered throughout the book is pretty useless if the index doesn't tell you where the reference you're looking for is. Some of the volumes in this series are excellent, but they're good in spite of the absolutely horrendous format and not because of it.

Volumes released:

Genesis 1-15: Gordon Wenham (1987)
Genesis 16-50: Gordon Wenham (1994)
Exodus: John Durham (1987)
Leviticus: John Hartley (1992)
Numbers: Philip Budd (1984)
Deuteronomy 1-11: Duane Christensen (1993)
Deuteronomy 1:1-21:9, Duane Christensen (2001) [with chs.1-11 revised]
Deuteronomy 21:10-34:12 (2002)
Joshua: Trent C. Butler (1983)
Ruth/Esther: Frederic W. Bush (1996)
I Samuel: Ralph Klein (1983)
II Samuel: Arnold A. Anderson (1989)
I Kings: Simon De Vries (1985)
I Kings: Simon De Vries (1985, rev. 2003)
II Kings: T.R. Hobbs (1985)
I Chronicles: Roddy Braun (1986)
II Chronicles: Raymond Dillard (1987)
Ezra-Nehemiah: H.G.M. Williamson (1985)
Job 1-20: David J.A. Clines (1989)
Job 21-37, David Clines (2006)
Psalms 1-50: Peter C. Craigie (1983)
Psalms 1-50: Peter C. Craigie and Marvin E. Tate (1983, rev. 2005)
Psalms 51-100: Marvin E. Tate (1990)
Psalms 101-150: Leslie Allen (1983)
Psalms 101-150: Leslie Allen (1983, rev. 2002)
Proverbs: Roland E. Murphy (1998)
Ecclesiastes: Roland E. Murphy (1992)
Songs of Songs/Lamentations: Duane Garrett/Paul House (2004)
Isaiah 1-33: John D.W. Watts (1985)
Isaiah 1-33 (rev. 2006): John D.W. Watts
Isaiah 34-66: John D.W. Watts (1987)
Isaiah 34-66 (rev. 2006): John D.W. Watts
Jeremiah 1-25: Peter C. Craigie, Page H. Kelley, Joel F. Drinkard (1991)
Jeremiah 26-52: Gerald L. Keown, Pamela J. Scalise, Thomas G. Smothers (1995)
Ezekiel 1-19: William H. Brownlee (1986)
Ezekiel 1-19: Leslie C. Allen (1994)
Ezekiel 20-48: Leslie C. Allen (1990)
Daniel: John E. Goldingay (1989)
Hosea-Jonah: Douglas Stuart (1987)
Micah-Malachi: Ralph L. Smith (1985)

Matthew 1-13: Donald Hagner (1993)
Matthew 14-28: Donald Hagner (1995)
Mark 1:1-8:26, Robert A. Guelich (1989)
Mark 8:27-16:20, Craig Evans (2001)
Luke 1:1-9:20, John Nolland (1989)
Luke 9:21-18:43, John Nolland (1993)
Luke 19-24: John Nolland (1993)
John: George Beasley-Murray (1987)
John: George Beasley-Murray (1987, rev. 1999)
Romans 1-8: James D.G. Dunn (1988)
Romans 9-16: James D.G. Dunn (1988)
II Corinthians: Ralph P. Martin (1986)
Galatians: Richard N. Longenecker (1990)
Ephesians: Andrew T. Lincoln (1990)
Philippians: Gerald F. Hawthorne (1983)
Philippians: Gerald F. Hawthorne and Ralph P. Martin (1983, rev. 2004)
Colossians/Philemon: Peter T. O'Brien (1982)
Thessalonians: F.F. Bruce (1982)
Pastoral Epistles: William Mounce (2000)
Hebrews 1-8: William Lane (1991)
Hebrews 9-16: William Lane (1991)
James: Ralph P. Martin (1988)
I Peter: J. Ramsey Michaels (1988)
II Peter/Jude: Richard J. Bauckham (1983)
I-III John: Stephen S. Smalley (1984)
Revelation 1-5: David E. Aune (1997)
Revelation 6-16: David E. Aune (1998)
Revelation 17-22: David E. Aune (1998)

Forthcoming volumes:

Numbers (replacement): John Sailhamer (Oct 2007)
Joshua, revised, Trent C. Butler (Mar 2009)
Judges, Trent C. Butler (Feb 2007)
I Samuel (2nd ed.), Ralph W. Klein (Nov 2007)
Job 38-42, David Clines (Oct 2008)
Hosea-Jonah (2nd ed.), Douglas Stuart (Feb 2007)
Micah-Malachi (unsure if replacement or revision of Smith), Douglas Stuart (Nov 2007)
Mark 1:1-8:26 (replacement), Craig Evans (Oct 2008)
Acts 1-14, Steve Walton (Nov 2008)
Acts 15-28, Steve Walton (Aug 2009)
I Corinthians, Linda Belleville (June 2009)
II Corinthians (2nd ed.), Ralph Martin
Colossians/Philemon (2nd ed.), Peter T. O'Brien and Clinton Arnold (Nov 2010)
Thessalonians (2nd ed.), F.F. Bruce and Seyoon Kim (Nov 2007)
II Peter/Jude (2nd ed.), Richard Bauckham (Oct 2009)
I-III John (2nd ed., full revision), Stephen Smalley (2007)

Note 1: Thomas Nelson lists the above dates here. They are notoriously bad at predicting when commentaries will be out. Generally speaking, dates within a year or two are probably pretty accurate. The later the date, the more unreliable these dates are, and some of the later ones might also end up being reassigned within a few years, which will extend the date even further.

Note 2: This serious is notorious for releasing volumes that are almost entirely unchanged and calling them second editions. There is usually a bibliographical update and sometimes a short essay on the scholarship since the first edition (e.g. this is true of I Kings, Psalms 1-50, and John). Other second editions are full revisions, sometimes by the original author (e.g. Isaiah) and sometimes by a new author (e.g. Philippians). Only one that I know of so far has been a complete replacement (Ezekiel 1-19), but several others are coming. So be aware that it's very unclear what some of these forthcoming replacement volumes will be. Unless I've indicated what sort of second edition any of these will be, it's best not to assume anything.

1 Comments

Good post...I have a couple of the commentaries in the set, and think they're a bit laborious. But, there are a couple that are up-coming that will be must haves, like Sailhammer. He's one of the most thought provoking commentators out there today.

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