This review appeared in the Apr-Jun 2006 vol. 163 no. 2 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek TextWm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids January 26, 2005
Volumes in this outstanding series emphasize a theological understanding of the New Testament text based on detailed historical-critical-linguistic exegesis. The primary purpose of the series is not to apply and expound the text for modern readers. The target audience is Greek scholars who are concerned with the grammar, syntax, and textual criticism of the New Testament documents.
This commentary does not attempt to give much history of interpretation of 2 Corinthians. The author has utilized some of the older versions of this epistle as well as standard modern translations. He discusses the major theological passages (1:8–11; 5:1–10; and 5:16–20) extensively, and he includes an excursus on Paul’s experiences in Asia that, Harris contends, affected the apostle’s theology. Another subject not discussed much elsewhere is the history and archaeology of Roman Corinth.
His introduction deals with literary issues, historical issues, a chronology of the relations of Paul, Timothy, and Titus with the Corinthian church, analyses of 2 Corinthians (rhetorical, chiastic, and epistolary), and a summary of the theology of the epistle. The indexes locate subjects, authors, and Greek words discussed in the commentary. Harris also includes his own expanded paraphrase of 2 Corinthians, as an appendix, which gives readers a quick way to discover how he understands a word or passage and the flow of Paul’s argument. His bibliographies are extensive.
Harris presents views on disputed subjects evenhandedly and dispassionately and then sets forth his own conclusions concisely. He is a master of the Greek language as well as the commentaries on 2 Corinthians. His warm heart for pastoral issues comes through in his comments on these portions of the epistle. Many readers will agree with David Garland’s comment that this work is “the gold standard for commentaries on 2 Corinthians.” Serious students of this epistle will benefit greatly from the author’s work.
Having taught for many years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Harris is now professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis and theology.
—Thomas L. Constable