Sunday, March 6, 2016

C.K. Barrett on reading what matters

"Not the least valuable part of the service Dr. ---- has rendered to his colleagues is the assembly of an enormous bibliography, running to 50 pages. His diligence in reading and in writing are beyond praise, and he has dealt with a theme too often the subject of amateurish treatment in a professional manner. In view of this it may seem -- it may be -- ungracious to question whether even so the treatment is sufficient. Is each of the topics adequately dealt with? I do not mean by this to suggest that Dr. ---- ought to have turned each of his chapters (including the Conclusion) into a book, though I am sure he could have done so; rather that he might perhaps have taken a little more time here and there for consideration. The huge bibliography (as it is reflected in the very extensive notes) sometimes at least suggests diligent work with the card index rather than prolonged and profound wrestling with the relatively few books that are really important. ... He takes up, one after another, controversial topics disputed in current theological literature; he sets out various opinions with clarity and with charity, compares arguments, adds his own, and reaches a judgement which is always worth considering and often, in my opinion, correct. But it might have made a more creative book if he had more often allowed the New Testament itself, and literature contemporary with it, rather than modern debate, to prescribe the agenda." - C.K. Barrett in a review published in Journal for the Study of the New Testament 15 (1982): 113-115.

HT: Stephen Westerholm in Stephen Westerholm and Martin Westerholm, Reading Sacred Scripture: Voices from the History of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), ix.

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