Montague’s First and Second Timothy, Titus

Thanks again to Baker Academic who provided a copy of George T. Montague, SM’s $amz(0801035813 First and Second Timothy, Titus); which is part of Baker’s new Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture series.

I’ve had a chance to poke around the book and must say I’m impressed. This commentary is designed to be used, and that’s refreshing. Here is a list, in no particular order, of some of the features of the print book.

  • The translation used is the New American Bible (NAB), which is what one would expect for a Catholic commentary.
  • Cross References. Each translation section is followed by cross references—to the Old Testament, the New Testament, and also to the Catholic Catechism (by topic and page, as shown below). References to the Lectionary (and also the "Lectionary (Byzantine)") are also made, where applicable.

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  • Sidebars. There are Biblical Background sidebars and Living Tradition sidebars that frequently occur throughout the text. These bring to light different sorts of background information (literary, cultural, historical, theological) and highlight portions of later non-canonical writings (Apostolic Fathers, other Greek & Latin fathers.
  • Pictures and Maps. There are pictures. This is great for a commentary; one example is a picture of the theatre in Ephesus. Another is a picture of Schøyen MS 2649 (portions of a scroll of Leviticus that is actually relatively legible) in the context of 2Ti 4.13, "… bring me the scrolls and parchments". These sorts of things bring the setting into view of the reader and make the whole exercise a little more real.
  • Reflection and Application. At the end of each commentary section is another section titled "Reflection and Application". Here all sorts of things may be discussed, the primary task seems to be to discuss the text in the context of the present. For instance, the portion on 1Ti 2.5-7, "For there is one mediator between God and men …" discusses the Catholic practice of invoking saints in prayer, particularly Mary.
  • Glossary. There is a short glossary at the back; words in the text that occur in the glossary have a dagger† next to them. The entries are short and generally helpful (though the definition for "aorist" is not good at all, equating it with the simple past tense).
  • Indexes. There are two indices, one "Index of Pastoral Topics" and another "Index of Sidebars". A reference index would be nice, if only to catch the section cross-references in one easy-to-consult place. It would’ve also been nice to have an index with the mounds of references to writings of the Fathers and the catechism and lectionary references.
  • Greek Words. Greek words, where directly discussed, are in transliteration throughout. It would’ve been nice to have an index to the Greek words as well.

In short, I love the features of the book and the way it is put together.

If you’re Catholic and you’re studying the Pastoral Epistles, this is a no-brainer: $amz(0801035813 buy the book now), particularly if you’re not looking for some deep academic tome. If you are Catholic and looking for a deep academic tome, $amz(0801035813 you still want to buy it) (and probably $amz(0814658148 Fiore), too).

If you’re not Catholic but you’re studying the Pastoral Epistles, I’d use another commentary as a primary (pick one: $amz(0802825133 Towner), $amz(0830829318 Witherington), $amz(0849902452 Mounce), $amz(0802823955 Knight)), but I’d consider getting $amz(0801035813 Montague’s CCSS volume) simply because it is a good alternate view at understanding and applying the text.