The Epistle of James
Peter Davids. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982. 225 pages.
These volumes represent two-thirds of the titles published under the series. They contain sensitive exegesis based on the Greek text. These commentaries interact with recent literature and interpretation.
At this point it is too early to make a full appraisal of the series because of the unevenness of format and method. While both volumes treat the text in sections, the exegesis is essentially verse by verse and even phrase by phrase, though Davids gives more attention to the central thrust of the text units. The sections do not contain summary statements nor do they explore the relationship of text units to one another in a careful, deliberate fashion. Davids does, however, provide some reflections on the relationship of text units in James to those of other biblical writers.
In Bruce’s volume, the biblical text is printed in English at the head of each section, followed by critical textual notes for that section. The words, phrases or sentences are then printed in Greek as they are exegeted. Davids’ volume omits the English text and incorporates the text-critical notes and the Greek words or phrases as needed at the points of exegesis.
My comments are intended to point out that the editors are still struggling with style, method and purpose of the commentary series. I hope they move further in the direction of Davids’ commentary on James and encourage the authors to break new ground in interpretation as well as offer more comprehensive theological reflections on the text.