On the threshold of the 2011 American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meetings, we are pleased and excited to introduce to you the next general editor of the New International Commentary on the New Testament.
Joel B. Green is professor of New Testament interpretation and associate dean for the Center of Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. He is also author of numerous books on the New Testament, including the NICNT volume on Luke.
Green is the fourth general editor in the commentary series’s long history, following Ned B. Stonehouse (1946–1962), F. F. Bruce (1962–1990), and, most recently, Gordon D. Fee (1990–2011).
In the introductory post below, Green looks back with respect on the three previous series editors, even as he looks forward in hope to the excellent commentary volumes yet to come.
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Ned B. Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, Gordon D. Fee – merely to be mentioned in the same sentence with these giants of modern New Testament scholarship is a great honor. By the time I entered seminary in the late 70s, the NICNT was already well-established, not least because of the work and influence of F.F. Bruce. Today, we find all sorts of evangelical commentary on our bookshelves, but back then our choices were pretty limited – the NICNT and its counterpart on the Old Testament, the Tyndale series, and the odd volume here or there. My introduction to Bill Lane came through reading his NICNT on Mark in my first exegesis course. Bruce’s commentaries on Acts and Hebrews were mainstays. Marshall on the Johannine letters, Mounce on Revelation, Morris on John’s Gospel, Hughes on 2 Corinthians – these and other contributions to the NICNT were welcome additions to my developing library. Under Bruce’s guidance, the NICNT was nothing if not solid, common-sense, textually grounded exegetical work that pastors and students could trust.
I still have the short letter – signed “Fred Bruce,” prepared on what must have been a Royal typewriter with a smudgy ribbon – inviting me to write the replacement commentary on Luke. By the time I received that letter in the late 80s, I had completed an M.Th. at Perkins School of Theology and a Ph.D. under Howard Marshall’s supervision at the University of Aberdeen, and I had begun my career as a teacher and scholar. Scot McKnight and I were about to begin our work on the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, work that would help to nurture my study of and teaching on Luke’s Gospel.
At about the same time, Gordon Fee published what would quickly set the bar for evangelical commentary, his NICNT volume on 1 Corinthians: clearly written, eminently readable, a model of exegesis in the service of the biblical text, biblical interpretation for the church. After his exemplary contribution to the series, who could be surprised when, upon F.F. Bruce’s death in 1990, Gordon was named to take the NICNT into the twenty-first century? Nor would we be surprised with his insistence that we push critical interaction with secondary literature into the footnotes in order to put hardnosed engagement with the text of Scripture and readable prose on center stage. (I can’t recall the last time anyone urged me to read what I had written aloud, to myself, standing in front of the mirror, but that’s what Gordon did!) And, just as he had done, so he urged others to reflect on the ongoing significance of these biblical texts for Christian faith and life.
Gordon has stood tall at the helm for more than twenty years, and I for one am immensely grateful to him for his service as editor of the NICNT.
Gordon’s fingerprints will remain on the series for years to come. New volumes will appear soon, written by authors he recruited. These include commentaries on Hebrews, for example, as well as on the Gospel of Mark and Galatians. Longer-term, we will witness the ongoing renewal of the series, with new authors and new emphases keeping pace with the ongoing work of New Testament scholarship. And the NICNT will continue to model the priority given to engagement with the biblical text in the service of pastors and students – carrying on the good work for which the series has long been known.