Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CWR Interview w/ Editors of Jewish Annotated NT

Catholic World Report has just posted an interview by Carl Olson with two of the editors of Oxford's Jewish Annotated New Testament. You can read the entire interview here.

Two questions (and responses) are of particular interest to me:

CWR: How might Catholic readers, in particular, benefit and learn from it?

Dr. Levine: On the general topic of Jewish-Christian relations, the Catholic Church has been in the forefront of providing guidelines on how to teach and preach about Jews and Judaism. This volume compliments these efforts. We are also attentive to matters that Jews and Catholics hold in common: the ongoing interpretation of the shared Scripture (Old Testament/Tanakh); the concern for ritual; the role of Law; the relation of the New and Old Testaments.

CWR: What are some of the main concerns or challenges that Jewish readers face in approaching the New Testament?

Dr. Levine and Dr. Brettler: Some will be unfamiliar with basic Christian concepts (therefore, we provide annotations on baptism, Eucharist, resurrection, etc.); some might be concerned with passages that have led to anti-Jewish views (therefore, we provide historical and theological commentary); some might be unfamiliar with the stories and theologies that stand behind the New Testament as well as the stories and theologies that have developed from it (therefore, we show how the text is related to the Tanakh, to Jewish history, and to Jewish theology). Ideally, the Jewish reader will come away with a sense of what the great Lutheran theologian and biblical scholar, Krister Stendahl, called, “holy envy,” the ability to find meaning in a text or a tradition not one’s own.

Judaism cannot be fully understood without an understanding of the New Testament and its interpretation, since at so many points and times in history, Judaism developed within a Christian milieu. Therefore, Jewish readers can see in this text both a recovery of early Jewish history and the points at which Church and Synagogue parted.


Pomeranian Catholic said...

Again, I've got to say, I'm really not too impressed with the volume. It just doesn't have much insight and stays very basic, of course, its intended audience may be beginners in which case it's fine. But the JNT is not for serious Bible students.

Chrysostom said...

I have to agree that I was sorely disappointed with it. I was hoping for a NJPS Study Bible-like version of the New Testament. I dislike the NJPS translation (just look at Gen 1:1-3 for a reason why; overall, it's about the same as the NRSV, but with much less emendation based on Septuagint and DSS), but the NJPS Study Tanakh/Bible includes much more annotation (not that I always agree with it) than any Christian Old Testament, also from a different perspective - it's length is equal to something like the ESV Study Bible, so that's an additional 300+ pages of notes on the Old Testament alone.

It goes in to much greater detail on passages and books that are rarely commented on in Christian Old Testaments (Chronicles, etc.) outside of commentary series that you can buy on specific books (AYBC, NICOT, NAC, WBC, etc.), just as the JNT goes in to less detail, and from a very generic perspective, than even a simple normal Study Bible: for NT study, the NOAB NRSV 4th Ed. (if you like the NRSV, the translation the JNT comes in) has more annotation that is more useful from an close to equally neutral perspective. The JNT includes no new insights that you won't gain from reading the NOAB or HCSB.

And it's severely overpriced.