There are many commentaries on individual books of the Bible, but the reader who wishes to take a broader view has less choice. This series is intended to meet this need. Its structure is thematic, with each volume embracing a number of biblical books. It is designed for use with any of the familiar translations of the Bible; quotations are normally from RSV, but the authors of the individual volumes also use other translations or make their own where this helps to bring out the particular meaning of a passage.
To provide general orientation, there are two volumes of a more introductory character: one considers the Old Testament in its cultural and historical context, examining ways of approach to its complex ancient material; the other, on the New Testament, discusses the origins of Christianity. These two volumes point forward to the four which deal with different kinds of material in the Old Testament: narrative, prophecy, poetry/psalmody, wisdom and law; and to the three which handle different aspects of the New Testament: the Gospels, Paul and Pauline Christianity, the varieties of New Testament thought. The present volume looks at the nature of biblical interpretation, covering both Testaments. This is designed both to draw together some of the many themes touched on in the other volumes, and also to invite the reader to look further at the problems of understanding an ancient literature in the very different cultural context of the present time.
The authors of the individual volumes write for a general readership. Technical terms and Hebrew or Greek words are explained; the latter are used only when essential to the understanding of the text. The general introductory volumes are designed to stand on their own, providing a framework, but also to serve to raise some of the questions which the remaining volumes examine in closer detail. All the volumes, with the exception of the two general ones and that on biblical interpretation, include discussion of selected biblical passages in greater depth, thus providing examples of the ways in which the interpretation of the