Pages 900 pages
Publisher Abingdon Press
This book appears in the following featured collections.
- Building an NT Commentary Library by Invitation to Biblical Interpretation (Kostenberger & Patterson)
- New Testament Commentaries & Monographs by Princeton Theological Seminary
- Nijay Gupta's Top NT Commentaries by Nijay K. Gupta
In my discussion of 1 Corinthians commentaries (see earlier post here), I mentioned that Hays has only written two commentaries; this is the other one, and it is another goldmine. It is exegetically careful, theologically rich, and thoughtful about the relevance of Paul’s messages for today. Hays is sometimes included in the “New Perspective on Paul,” but he also has “apocalyptic” dimensions to his approach to Paul. [Full Review]
Unfortunately it's not sold as a stand alone, which makes it a bit pricey to own for a short commentary. Fortunately the other volumes that it's bound with are pretty good so it's not a waste to invest in. This commentary is a model for writing brief commentaries. Hays does a wonderful job of summarizing recent Pauline scholarship, merging together the best of both the NPP approach of Dunn and the apocalyptic reading of Martyn and adding in some of his own twists. If I were to rate commentaries solely in terms of my agreement with them, Hays would be at the top of the list. The reflections at the end of each major section also should not be ignored. I found a lot of good material to ponder and many of his points could definitely bolster some sermons. Hays' 1 Corinthians commentary receives all of the adulation, but I think his Galatians is more helpful to the teacher and preacher even if not more original. [Full Review]
Richard Hays gives a popular-level exposition of a New Perspective approach in the NIB. This commentary is bound with a number of others in a thick volume that makes it cumbersome to use, although it's not as expensive as some volumes of this size (900 pages for II Corinthians through Philemon). Many academic libraries have this series available for reference, but often they will treat it as a reference work and won't let you check it out. Hays is a good writer and often has insightful things to say, but I disagree enough with his general approach that I can't give it a strong recommendation. Hays sides firmly with the New Perspective, and he's been strongly influenced by Martyn's commentary. It might be a quicker read for someone who wants to get Martyn's sort of view without wading through the whole Anchor Yale Bible volume. This would be more helpful for someone teaching Galatians than Martyn or Dunn. [Full Review]
Hays' commentary is excellent. The series itself doesn't lend itself to exegetical specificity, but one can look several other places to see how Hays' deals with particular sections specifically. He certainly emphasizes, with Martyn, an apocalyptic & eschatological approach to the text- but retains most of the key insights of a more traditional reading focused on justification by faith, the role of the law, etc. And while these themes are certainly present, this would be the commentary's weakness. They seem, in particular places to be underdeveloped in lieu of Hays' emphasis on narrative in Paul. The narrative aspect is certainly exciting, but the rich Reformation (and biblical truths) which are loudly expounded in this book seem, in places, to be under expounded or at-best, assumed. This is the only place where one can find Hays working out the theological implications of his dissertation through the whole of Galatians.