The Blackwell Bible Commentaries is a new commentary that was first published in 2003 with a commentary on Judges and one on Revelation; a commentary on John was published in 2004. This makes the commentary on Judges the first volume of the Old Testament part of the series and what this review is based on. This commentary can be considered an unusual one in that it is a study of many commentaries, sermons, illustrations, and other sources connected with the Bible or influenced by the Bible. This commentary provides the student of the Bible with a variety of materials or sources connected with the Bible collected in one place. It is not exhaustive as the authors have stated, although they have tried to cover as much material from the English-speaking world as possible.
The authors present material or summaries of commentaries and other materials ranging from the days before the early Church to the present day. Most of the works after the period after the Middle Ages are from Protestant sources. The authors give a paragraph summary of what a person wrote or expressed about a chapter or two or on a particular biblical character or event. At the end of each paragraph is the citation, where the whole work can be found.
This commentary can help students or others looking at a particular chapter or character in the Bible who want a source to find what has been written on that topic, and this commentary provides that. It is the beginning point for students to begin research into their topic, making it a great research tool. The commentary has an extensive bibliography of commentaries and other materials connected with each particular book of the Bible. Most of the bibliographical references of material are in English, but other languages are included. There is a short glossary followed by a long collection of biographies with very short entries. The books conclude with a name and subject index.
The illustrations are a particular part of the commentary; their part is to show the influence of the Bible on art. The authors of the commentaries present illustrations from various ages to show what people thought things looked like and what people were wearing. Some of the artists set the scenes and characters based on their world views with the characters wearing clothes that the artist saw people wearing in their day instead of what they actually wore. The authors also show the influence the Bible had on music, art, literature and other aspects of life. Again this is an unusual commentary that has much potential to it - it could have been more inter-denominational, though.