Friday, April 2, 2010

Carleston's Review of Hebrews Commentaries

Carlston, Charles E. “Commentaries on Hebrews: A Review Article.” Andover Newton Review 1 (1990): 27-45.

Charles Edwin Carlston served as Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Andover Newton Theological School.

Carlston’s essay surveys popular, semi-popular, and scholarly commentaries on the book of Hebrews. In the popular category he places Herbert Chilstrom, Juliana Casey, William Johnsson (in the Knox Preaching Guide series), and David Gooding. He classifies the works of Donald Hagner (NIBC), Donald Guthrie, and Robert Jewett as semi-popular. These works have a higher level of scholarship than those in the popular category and would be most useful to the pastor or Bible study leader. Under the heading of scholarly works which have the best scholarship and most detailed exegesis he includes Harold Attridge, Harald Hegermann, and Herbert Braun. William Lane’s popular commentary is mentioned in a postscript but not reviewed. This article appeared before Lane’s two-volume Word commentary came out.

Carlston’s general approach (with variation) to each work begins with an overview of introductory issues such as authorship, date, provenance, circumstances for the writing etc., and the overall message of the book. He also indicates each author’s general theological tendencies. He highlights each author’s interpretations of key passages (1:3; 2:9; 4:12-13: 5:7; 8:1; 9:16-18: 12:2 etc. seem to be some of Carlston’s interpretive cruxes) and how they treat textual variants. He discusses their treatments of the history of religions context and theological issues such as hermeneutics, faith, Christology, eschatology etc. He also mentions the general layout of each work and the nature of their bibliographies and indices. He concludes with an overall evaluation of each work and its usefulness for preaching. Naturally, Carlston interjects his own views throughout the reviews. Carlston gives a helpful, concise overview of the works involved.

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