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4 Stars Out Of 5
August 19, 2010
There is no doubt that this is a scholarly work with much to offer -- and a product of its times which means that it reflects much of post-medieval antisemitism. The print, as is often the case in these reprints, is somewhat smaller than one would like to see but is still readable. Not all the passages in Greek or Latin are translated -- I would assume that holds true for the Hebrew as well - but most are.Persons using this work should remember that Lightfoot is working with Medieval texts that were written long after the Jews were expelled from Israel. They are not contemporaries of Jesus, and so while informative, one should be careful about saying that these sayings of the rabbis reflect Jewish ideas of Jesus' day
This set is interesting, but dripping with anti-Semitic rhetoric, which I find quite unsettling as a Messianic Jew; it serves as a testimony to why so many Jews don't believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Jewish Messiah. Case in point: in the section of this set that discusses the book of Romans, Mr. Lightfoot does not have a single comment on Romans 9-11, a section of the New Testament which clearly shows that 1) God has not cast aside the Jewish people and 2) Gentile believers are "grafted in" to the cultivated olive tree (Israel, the Jewish people) and should treat the Jewish people with love and respect. In all fairness, though, the commentary is quite interesting, and some of the comments he puts into his work are paralleled in the Jewish New Testament Commentary, which I would strongly recommend to anyone reading this work. One more noteworthy thing: the text of this commentary has quotes in Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew in it as well as English, and some of these quotes are not translated at all or partially translated. A valuable work overall, I would rate it much higher if this author wasn't so vehemently against the Jewish people.
Reading this work requires a strong stomach if you have any love for the Jewish people or rabbinic literature. On almost every page Lightfoot seemingly willfully misunderstands Talmudic thought to shine the worst light possible on the Jewish sages. I have to keep reminding myself that is just the way people wrote in those days. What is worse is that I have not learned much through 1 1/2 volumes.
What a wonderful and enlightening work by Dr. Lightfoot, one of the framers of the Westminster Confession. I have been truly blessed since stumbling onto this collection, one of the most influential collections in my personal library. Dr. Lightfoot provides a unique view of the New Testament against the backdrop of first century Judaism. The historical context into which he places his commentary of Matthew through First Corinthians is at times interesting, and at others downright radical. I especially enjoyed his understanding of the much misunderstood practices of tongues and interpretation. When one looks at these phenomena against the practices of the first century synagogue, as Lightfoot does, we suddenly come to an entirely new understanding than that espoused by modern charismatics. A wonderful work...I highly recommend for anyone desiring a precise and thorough understanding of the first century church!