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Exegesis Resources: Commentaries

Finding Commentaries

There is a collection of commentaries shelved alphabetically by commentary series title in the Biblical Studies and Commentaries section of the Reference area on Wilson 4.  Standalone and other commentary volumes are shelved by the call number for each biblical book on Wilson 1 (see the Call Numbers tab).  These print commentaries can be located by browsing the shelves in these areas.

There are also many ebook commentary volumes that can be found via the online catalog.  To find them, do a search in the library catalog for the biblical book you are researching, followed by "commentar*".  For example: 

Be aware that there is not a volume for each biblical book in each commentary series, and some series may combine short/similar books in the same volume (I, II & III John, or Amos and Hosea).  Some series are new and still being published, while other series ceased publication before all volumes could be published.  Scholars can work on a commentary volume for a decade or more, so all volumes in a series are not published simultaneously!

Choosing a Commentary

There are many commentaries to choose from.  To help choose the right commentary for your needs, take a look at the "front matter" of the volume you are interested in.  This introductory section should include information about the commentary series, why it was published, if it has a particular theological or denominational perspective, or any other rationale for publication.  This section may also include information about the series editor, the author of your volume, and any abbreviations or translation notes you should be aware of.

Generally, most commentaries are organized in the following manner:

  • introduction to the biblical book as a whole
    • themes
    • outline
    • authorship
    • cultural context, etc...
  • commentary on traditional sections of the text
    • translation of the passage (frequently by the author, but may be a standard translation such as the NRSV)
    • explanation of the translation (terminology, sources, and variants)
    • historical and contextual discussion
    • theological or practical application
    • bibliography (either for each section or compiled at the conclusion)

For additional help in selecting appropriate or well-regarded commentaries for the particular biblical text you are analyzing, you may find it helpful to consult one of the following resources:

Citing Commentaries

When citing commentaries, you will need to include the commentary series your volume is part of in your citation.  For example, to cite this title in Turabian (Chicago) format:

Treier, Daniel J.  Proverbs & Ecclesiastes. Brazos Theological
       Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2011.

To cite an ebook commentary, append the ebook permalink or stable URL to the end of the citation:

Fowl, Stephen E.  Ephesians: A Commentary. New Testament Library. 
       Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2012.  https://ebookcentral.

Commentary Series Collection-Wilson 4