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Poll
Question: Which style do you prefer?
Lots of Biblical references - 0 (0%)
Some references, some allusions - 2 (50%)
Some references, no allusions - 0 (0%)
Some allusions, no references - 1 (25%)
No references or allusions - 0 (0%)
Other - 1 (25%)
Total Voters: 4

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Author Topic: Commentary Style Preference?  (Read 362 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: January 17, 2012, 07:15:41 PM »

If reading a commentary on Scripture, which style of commentary do you prefer (speaking only of how the author deals with Scriptural passages, not patristic or other references)? Here are a few examples of the styles I am talking about, to give you an idea:

Some references, some allusions
"But this is not the only kind of fortitude which is worthy of note. We consider their fortitude glorious, who, with greatness of mind, 'through faith stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong.' (Heb. 11:33-34) They did not gain a victory in common with many, surrounded with comrades, and aided by the legions, but won their triumph alone over their treacherous foes by the mere courage of their own souls. How unconquerable was Daniel, who feared not the lions raging round about him. The beasts roared, whilst he was eating. (Bel. 5:39)" - St. Ambrose, Three Books on the Duties of the Clergy, 1, 35

Some allusions, no references
"How can one be a virgin who cherishes a harlot? How can one be a virgin who loves adulterers? How a virgin if she seeks for a lover? It is preferable to have a virgin mind than a virgin body. Each is good if each be possible; if it be not possible, let me be chaste, not to man but to God. Rahab, too, was a harlot, but after she believed in God, she found salvation. (Jos. 2:9) And Judith adorned herself that she might please an adulterer, but because she did this for religion and not for love, no one considered her an adulteress. (Judith 10) This instance turned out well. For if she who entrusted herself to religion both preserved her chastity and her country, perhaps I, by preserving my religion, shall also preserve my chastity. But if Judith had preferred her chastity to her religion, when her country had been lost, she would also have lost her chastity." - St. Ambrose, Three Books Concerning Virginity, 2, 4

Lots of Biblical references
"The other affections which are within us, are in some cases useful. For instance, Anger is often useful. For (saith he) 'unjust wrath shall not be innocent' (Sir. 1:22): wherefore it is possible for one to be justly in wrath. And again, 'He that is angry with his brother without cause, shall be in danger of hell.' (Matt. 5:22) Again for instance, emulation, desire, [are useful]: the one when it hath reference to the procreation of children, the other when he directs his emulation to excellent things. As Paul also saith, 'It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing' (Gal. iv. 18) and, 'Covet earnestly the best gifts.' (1 Cor. 12:31) Both therefore are useful: but an insolent spirit is in no case good, but is always unprofitable and hurtful." - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on Hebrews

No references or allusions
"And various are the causes of sorrow, so that we can find no one free from trouble and unhappiness of some kind or other, but some have greater sorrows and some less. Let us not therefore be impatient, nor think ourselves only to be unhappy. For there is no such thing in this mortal life as being exempt from sorrow. If not to-day, yet to-morrow; if not to-morrow, yet some later day trouble comes." - St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on Second Timothy
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Justin Kissel
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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »

Well this thread is turning out to be quite the hit!  Cheesy Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 09:58:06 PM »

I think there's a place for them all and all the authors you cite probably had all 4 styles at some point.
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2012, 09:24:15 AM »

I chose other - as I really want to be able to dig into something I don't understand.  I don't want just bible references. . .I want references to other sources of commentary that might help me hone an idea.  I want the commentary - with the bible references in the commentary - and then have a list of references of other commentary in the back of the book that I can refer to.
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2012, 09:32:21 AM »

I think we can agree though that the OSB style of commentary- unattributed personal opinions and unreferenced patristic citations- is probably the least helpful.
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Justin Kissel
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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 10:13:44 PM »

I should have thought about this thread more before posting! Smiley What I was really wondering about is reading preference. Do people like to have a bunch of verses shot at you? Do people like no verses? Do continual references make it disjointed and difficult to follow, or mess up the flow too much? I was wondering about that kind of thing. I actually picked the excerpts at random, and didn't want to give references, in case that unduly influenced someone's view, but then I know we have to reference stuff for copyright reasons, so I went ahead with the reference info.
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