Grant I. Davies interview on the ICC series

That iconic green cover. That gold inlay on the spine. The distinctive English font peppered through with Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek on every page.

These images, indelibly imprinted on my mind through many years of use, come immediately to mind when I think of the International Critical Commentary series (ICC). These volumes were to me the creme de la creme when I began seminary some years ago, and I knew that my original language chops had to be solid in order to benefit from the insights contained, for example, in Cranfield’s Romans or Goldingay’s Isaiah.

When I heard that all 61 volumes of the ICC commentary series are on sale January 22–31 for $19.99 per volume, I reached out to the current OT editors of the ICC, Professor Grant I. Davies (University of Cambridge). We spoke about what makes the ICC so special, and what we can expect of the series in the future.

Enjoy the interview, and pick up some volumes of the ICC this week while the sale lasts.

What makes the ICC commentary series unique amongst the wealth of commentaries currently available on the market?

GID: ‘Unique’ is a strong word in academic publishing, but what I think distinguishes the ICC from most other commentary series that I know is the level of its commitment to thorough linguistic investigation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text, to fundamental text-critical research (which for the Old Testament especially includes the main ancient translations) and to a searching but sympathetic assessment of previous critical scholarship. Series such as the German Biblischer Kommentar (Altes Testament), Hermeneia (these sometimes overlap), and volumes of the Anchor Bible share some or all of these concerns, but even they probably do not take them as far as the ICC seeks to do. E-copies and paperback editions are available for a growing number of volumes. (Editor’s note: the entire ICC series is available digitally on Logos)

Can you briefly state the history of the ICC series, and give us an indication of what the future holds for the series overall?

GID: The ‘New Series’ of the ICC was initiated in the early 1960s, with Professors John Emerton (Old Testament) and (shortly afterwards) Charles Cranfield (New Testament) as its first editors. The volumes of the ‘Old Series,’ which were published between 1895 and 1951 as a joint project of scholars (and publishers) in the United States and Great Britain, had covered most books of the Bible and included some of the great scholarly commentaries in the English language. But some gaps remained to be filled and biblical scholarship had moved on in ways, critical and theological, that needed recognition in fresh volumes by a new generation of scholars. Cranfield’s Romans (1975, 1979) gave this new impulse a splendid start, and a steady stream of volumes on both Testaments has followed. In the Old Testament important gaps were filled by William McKane on Jeremiah, David Payne and John Goldingay on the second half of Isaiah (40–55 and 56–66) and Robin Salters on Lamentations, while Andrew Macintosh on Hosea and Hugh Williamson on Isaiah 1–5, have provided fresh and up-to-date studies of other books.

How would you describe the process of inviting scholars to contribute to the ICC? Is it akin to winning the Oscars, or is there much fear and trembling for both parties?

GID: Contributors are selected who have proven ability to meet the special demands of the series. More like marathon runners or mountaineers than film stars, I would say! I have been trying to do more justice to the word ‘International’ in the title of the series, with some success in the volumes that have been commissioned recently, but not as much as I would have liked.

Are the ICC volumes capable of serving the needs of both scholars and pastors, given the fact that the list of contributors is more eclectic than uniform in theological and philosophical convictions?

GID: The series offers help to all those, in whatever setting, who are seeking to understand the biblical texts as fully as possible. The newer volumes continue to use a smaller type-face to distinguish the sections which contain more specialised linguistic and text-critical material and may be more suited for “dipping in” than continuous reading.

Finally, are there any upcoming volumes that we should be aware of, and that you are particularly excited about publishing?

GID: The second volume of Hugh Williamson’s outstanding commentary on Isaiah 1–27, covering chapters 6–12, will be published in February 2018: it includes thorough studies of passages which are of major importance for understanding Isaiah and the later impact of the book. Two further volumes are expected to appear in the next year or so, my own commentary on Exodus 1–18 and Stuart Weeks’s first volume on Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth. A new development in the past few years is the start of work on the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books under the editorship of Stuart Weeks. Several authors have agreed to write for us and work is well under way on Ecclesiasticus/Ben Sira, for example. But it will be a few years before the first of these volumes is published, I think.

The ICC Commentary Sale is a rare chance to get a few gems (or the whole series) for $19.99 each, and in the format most conducive to serious research—in your Logos library, fully tagged and searchable, linked with your Hebrew and Greek texts.

This sale runs only until the end of the month, so take advantage of this special pricing before February 1st.


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