Writing and Reading Commentaries

Date recorded: 27 Jun 2013 | Speaker: Eckhard Schnabel | Event: ELF Workshop


Commentaries, defined in the singular as “a treatise consisting of a systematic series of comments or annotations on the text of a literary work; an expository treatise following the order of the work explained” (Oxford English Dictionary), are needed by readers of a text they have not written themselves. Authors who read their own texts do not need an explanation—their readers do, if and when the text is difficult to understand, thus requiring explanation for a wider readership, or if and when the text is removed in time and culture from the original context, thus requiring explanation for readers who live at a later time and in a different place. Modern readers of the New Testament live two thousand years removed from the original authors of the New Testament texts, and they live in a different culture.