Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Proverbs 1-9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Proverbs 1-9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary

Article excerpt

Proverbs 1-9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. By Michael V. Fox. AB 18A, New York: Doubleday, 2000, xix + 474 pp., $42.50.

Michael V. Fox has added another volume to the Anchor Bible. This publication is part of an update of R. B. Y. Scott's contribution to the Anchor Bible, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, which appeared in 1965. Scott's work was one of the earliest offerings in the Anchor Bible and fit closely with the original intention of the series (as I understand it), which was to provide basic introductory material, emphasize a new translation, and offer textual notes, along with a comparatively minimal amount of commentary. Subsequent authors added more weight to the commentary; thus Scott's work was much thinner than other volumes that followed in the series. As evidence of the larger space given in the more recent books in this series, Fox will cover the book of Proverbs in two volumes. The first volume covers chaps. 1-9 of Proverbs, while volume two will cover chaps. 10-31. Ecclesiastes will be treated in a separate volume. Thus what Scott did in one volume (257 pp.) in 1965 will be covered in three volumes in the updates.

The book consists of four main components: (1) commentary, which requires no knowledge of Hebrew; (2) excursuses on topics that arise from the exegesis; (3) philological and technical notes, which appear in small type; and (4) textual notes, which are found at the end of the book. There is also an extensive discussion of introductory matters and, as is true of all offerings in the Anchor Bible, the author provides an original translation of the text.

Fox divides Proverbs 1-9 into a prologue, ten lectures, and five interludes. The ten lectures are father-to-son discourses, each consisting of an exordium, a lesson, and a conclusion. The five interludes, regarded as later additions, are for the most part reflections on wisdom. There are also minor insertions, which are regarded as secondary.

One of Fox's most noticeable traits is that he is not hesitant to disagree with previous scholarship. The reader will soon discover that the claims of C. H. Toy (ICC), W. L. McKane (OTL), and others come under frequent and pointed criticism. However, Fox shows why he differs with these scholars and provides convincing arguments to support his beliefs. For example, there are detailed discussions regarding the identities of Lady Wisdom and the Strange Woman, in which Fox adequately cites the existing views, critiques them, and offers his own views, with reasonable arguments to back them up. It is disappointing that Richard J. Clifford's contribution to the Old Testament Library came out too late for Fox to interact with it in detail. The same can be said of the recent commentaries by Roland Murphy (WBC) and Raymond Van Leeuwen (NIB). …

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