Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Common Worship Lectionary: A Scripture Commentary, Year A

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

The Common Worship Lectionary: A Scripture Commentary, Year A

Article excerpt

The Common Worship Lectionary: A Scripture Commentary, Year A. Edited by Leslie Houlden and John Rogerson. London: SPCK, 2001. 291 pp., L20 (paper).

This Scripture commentary has sought to be: (a) a "particular kind of help to those who must address congregations"; (b) "decently academic"; (c) a resource for "interpretation that is not eccentric nor shallow"; and (d) a work that acknowledges the academic shift from preoccupation with "mere historicity" to understanding "the minds, intentions and settings of the numerous writers of Scripture, as well as ... the sheer literary `floW of what they wrote" (pp. vii-viii).

It achieves its objectives in (a) and (c) admirably. The treatment of the material is brief and accessible. For example, in looking at the beginning of the Joseph story in Proper 14, Rogerson quickly drops us into the flow of the whole story, identifies some of the translation issues ("the famous coat"), and then poses an engaging question about Joseph, asking if it is "a weakness in his character, was he perhaps overconfident in his manifest destiny?" He reflects that Joseph "at times throughout his story appears as an insufferable prig" (p. 213). Such commentary both challenges and helps those preaching about a well-known passage like this one.

And the commentary is not eccentric or shallow, as illustrated by the short essay on Romans 7:15-25a, one of the lessons for Proper 9. Acknowledging the familiarity of the passage and warning that "readers see in it what they bring to it" (p. 192), Beverly Gaventa drives the reader into addressing how the passage speaks "especially to those who desire the good" (p. …

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