Friday, 30 May 2008

Announcing New NT Commentary Series: The New Covenant Commentary Series

Michael Bird announces a new New Testament commentary series called the New Covenant Commentary Series (NCSS). To be edited by Michael Bird and Craig Keener, this series will be published by Wipf & Stock with targeted publication dates set between 2009-2014.

With already so many commentary series in the market, not to mention individual commentaries, is there really a need for a new series? What would justify another set of commentaries that would cause a strain on the budget of the libraries in the majority world (including the seminary that I am currently attached)?

One of the editors, Michael Bird, has this to say about the NCSS:

"The New Covenant Commentary Series (NCCS) is designed for ministers and students who require a commentary that interacts with the text and context of each New Testament book and pays specific attention to the impact of the text upon the faith and praxis of contemporary faith communities."

But would such a description adequately justify a new series? Would not the NIVAC series published by Zondervan fit the above description? Bird further provides 3 distinguishing features of this series:

"The NCCS has a number of distinguishing features. First, the contributors come from a diverse range of backgrounds in regards to their Christian denominations and ethnic background. Unlike many commentary series that tout themselves as being international, the NCCS can truly boast of a genuinely international cast of contributors with authors drawn from every continent of the world (except Antarctica) including North America, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Kenya, India, Singapore, and Korea (my comments: hey, Malaysia is excluded! Mana boleh!! I noted that only 3 out of the 20 contributors are from the majority world. The rest are from the developed nations (mainly North America and I consider Singapore and South Korea developed nations). If it is truly to be a commentary that reflects the global church, I strongly believe that more contributors from the majority world where Christianity is not only growing amidst persecution, but is also a minority faith within a hostile environment, are needed in which their voices should and need to be heard by the developed and post-Christian nations. I think this better reflects the setting and circumstances of the early church. Aren't there scholars from the majority world who could also make significant contribution to this project? Just wondering out loud.). We intend the NCCS to engage in the task of biblical interpretation and theological reflection from the perspective of the global church."

"Second, the volumes in this series are not verse-by-verse commentaries, but they focus on larger units of text in order to explicate and interpret the story in the text as opposed to rigorous analytical approaches."

"Third, a further aim of these volumes is to provide an occasion for authors to reflect on how the New Testament impacts the life, faith, ministry, and witness of the New Covenant Community today. This occurs periodically under the heading of ‘Fusing the Horizons and Forming the Community’. Here authors provide windows into theological interpretation, application, and special emphasis given to spiritual, ministerial, and community formation. It is our hope that these volumes will represent serious engagements with the New Testament writings, done in the context of faith, in service of the church, and for the glorification of God. (my comments: Again, it is this very reason that I believe scholars from the majority world could make significant contribution here. Perhaps coming from Malaysia, I am a bit biased.)"

For a list of the contributors of NCSS, visit Michael's blog by clicking here.


Sze Zeng said...

wow lau.... ya la, I think too much commentary series already! I don't see NCCS has that much difference with the Two Horizon series, from the least that i know about the both.

Kar Yong said...

Hi JW,

Anyway, let's see the first commentary to be published next year, and I shall reserve my further comments until then. However, the list of contributors is impressive but I am saddened by the mere rhetoric of being "global" by just including 3 contributors from the two-thirds world.