On the Writing of New Testament Commentaries: Festschrift for Grant R. Osborne

OsborneIt’s a pleasure to watch a godly scholar honored with and genuinely surprised by a Festschrift. (A Festschrift is a collection of writings published in honor of a scholar.) That’s what happened to Grant Osborne on November 14, 2012, in Milwaukee at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.

A few hundred people filled up a convention room to hear a 2.5-hour session on “Writing and Reading Commentaries,” but right out of the gate Eckhard Schnabel revealed the surprise that it was primarily a time to present a Festschrift to Grant Osborne. And it was moving to watch Grant receive a standing ovation from admiring peers and former students.

Here’s info on the Festschrift:

OsborneFsStanley E. Porter and Eckhard J. Schnabel, eds. On the Writing of New Testament Commentaries: Festschrift for Grant R. Osborne on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 8. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

It’s ridiculously expensive, but it’s definitely worth owning. (You can view it in Google Books.)


Part I: Commentaries and Exegesis

1. Eckhard J. Schnabel | On Commentary Writing

2. Stanley E. Porter | Linguistic competence of New Testament Commentaries

3. Craig L. Blomberg | Genre in Recent New Testament Commentaries

4. Douglas J. Moo |Translation in New Testament Commentaries

5. Douglas S. Huffman | Historical Competence of New Testament Commentaries

6. Craig A. Evans | The Historical Jesus and New Testament Commentaries

Part II: Commentaries and the Hermeneutical Task

7. Richard S. Hess | The Use of the Old Testament in New Testament Commentaries

8. D. A. Carson | The Hermeneutical Competence of New Testament Commentaries

9. Daniel I. Block | Who do Commentators say “the Lord” is? The Scandalous Rock of Romans 10:13

10. David W. Pao | The Ethical Relevance of New Testament Commentaries: On the Reading of Romans 13:1–7

11. Robert W. Yarbrough | The Pastoral Relevance of Commentaries

12. Walter L. Liefeld | The Preaching Relevance of Commentaries

13. Scott M. Manetsch | (Re)constructing the Pastoral Office: Wolfgang Musculus’s Commentaries on 1 & 2 Corinthians

Part III: Commentaries and theology

14. Kevin J. Vanhoozer | Theological Commentary and ‘The Voice from Heaven’: Exegesis, Ontology, and the Travail of Biblical Interpretation

15. Daniel J. Treier | Christology and Commentaries: Examining and Enhancing Theological Exegesis

16. Linda L. Belleville | Christology, the Pastoral Epistles and Commentaries

Part IV: Commentaries on the Gospels, on the Epistles, and on Revelation

17. Darrell L. Bock | Commentaries on the Synoptic Gospels: Traditional Issues of Introduction

18. Stanley E. Porter | Commentaries on Romans

19. Scot McKnight | Commentaries and James

20. Lois K. Fuller Dow | Commentaries on Revelation

Part V: Commentaries and publishers

21. Daniel G. Reid | Commentaries and Commentators from a Publisher’s Perspective

A Story about Grant’s Humility

I smiled when I heard Eckhard Schnabel read this portion of his foreword (coauthored with Stan Porter):

[Grant has been willing] to change or modify a position that he held. . . . This openness to correction and continued learning was evident in a recent Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society when a student from his own divinity school (who was younger than the number of years Grant has been teaching) challenged a particular position of his. At the end of the presentation, Grant raised his hand to comment, told the student that he convinced him, and emphasized that when you write you have to be willing to be wrong. (p. xv)

That student is me.

This happened in Atlanta on November 17, 2010 when I was thirty years old and presenting a paper I coauthored with Phil Gons (later published as “Prooftexting the Personality of the Holy Spirit: An Analysis of the Masculine Demonstrative Pronouns in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13–14,” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 16 [2011]: 65–89). Here’s the conclusion of our essay:

The consistent testimony of Scripture is that the Holy Spirit is a person, but John’s use of ἐκεῖνος in John 14:26, 15:26, and 16:13–14 has absolutely no bearing on the subject. A careful analysis of the texts in their contexts with sound principles of grammatical gender firmly in place demonstrates unequivocally that the antecedent of ἐκεῖνος is the masculine παράκλητος. The gender of the nouns and pronouns in these chapters neither supports nor challenges the doctrine of the Spirit’s personality. It is time to put this erroneous argument to rest once and for all.

When I finished presenting the paper and transitioned to the Q&A time, I braced myself when Grant raised his hand while sitting with his wife near the back of the room. I was not expecting him to say what he did, but knowing him, I wasn’t surprised.

(Jim Hamilton tells the story in more detail here.)

I love Grant. He was one of my favorite professors at TEDS. He is warm and thoughtful, including when you disagree. When I was looking for an Arminian contributor to a debate-book I’m currently co-editing on the extent of the atonement, my first choice was Grant because I knew he’d do a first-class job. And I’m grateful that he accepted our invitation and has already drafted his thoughtful essay. (More on that in 2014.)


  1. says

    I had Dr. Osborne for Apocalyptic Literature back about 1991. I’ll always remember and have referred to a comment he made about different evangelical interpretations. Different opinions among evangelicals should move us, while holding the Scriptures firmly, to hold our interpretations on non essentials with humility.

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