Review: II Corinthians (NTL)

2923848Frank J. Matera is the Andrews-Kelly-Ryan Professor of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Matera is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association of America. He received a PhD from Union Theological Seminary and has authored a number of books, including commentaries on Romans (Paideia, 2010) and Galatians (Sacra Pagina, 1992) and New Testament Theology: Exploring Diversity and Unity (2007).

II Corinthians: A Commentary is a characteristic example of what the New Testament Library series has to offer in a market saturated with biblical commentaries. Matera begins with an introduction that covers some of the standard introductory matters, including discussion surrounding the structure of 2 Corinthians, its theology, and relationship to 1 Corinthians. Matera approaches the epistle from a moderately conservative Catholic position, and, interestingly omits a stance on both the authorship and date, while at the same time upholding the epistles integrity as a single document (as opposed to the standard critical consensus).

The commentary proper is widely praised for Matera’s balanced approach as a Catholic scholar—praise that is even heard from many Protestant outlets. Matera is judicious in his interaction with the text and appears to be well-acquainted the peripheral Pauline issues. Two features deserve mention here. First and foremost, like the other volumes in the NTL series, Matera provides the reader with an original translation and textual notes. I have stated this before and I will state it again, I have continually found this to be one of the most helpful features of the NTL series, and Matera does not disappoint. Second, the exegetical handling of the text is brief, pointed, and full (327 pp.). Matera demonstrates a keen awareness of the theological issues and seeks to firmly ground them in the text.

There is no shortage in sight when it comes to choosing a commentary on 2 Corinthians. That said, II Corinthians: A Commentary by Frank J. Matera is one of the better options to explore, especially alongside some of the more established commentaries. While I don’t see this volume superseding Harris (2005), Barnett (1997), or Guthrie (2015), it is positioned as one of the better alternatives. It comes highly recommended!

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