Evans, Craig A. Matthew (New Cambridge Bible Commentary). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
I received Craig A. Evans Matthew from the New Cambridge Bible Commentary as a gift for my indexing work on the project. I knew from the digital version I viewed that it was going to be a useful volume. Now that I have spent some time with it in print I can say that it is worth adding to your library.
The New Cambridge Bible Commentary uniquely combined in-depth scholarship with readability and a user friendly structure. There are some commentaries that are so meticulous that they are difficult to read. There are others that are easy to read, but the content is too brief. This series seems to do a fine job at providing a middle ground. I have Bill T. Arnold’s Genesis from the same series.
The series is edited by Ben Witherington III and it appears to span the broad spectrum of New Testament scholarship including people like Arnold, Evans, Witherington, and others like Walter Brueggemann, Craig S. Keener, Amy-Jill Levine, and Duane F. Watson.
The introduction is simple and straightforward. The commentary flows nicely addressing manageable portions of text. There are occasional supplementary sections called “A Closer Look” that appear in gray boxes throughout the commentary providing an aside on subjected like “The Holy Spirit,” “Josephus on John the Baptist,” ”Demons in the Desert,” and “The Disciples in the Talmud.”
Evans does interact with other commentaries, but he is intentional about limiting the attention given to secondary literature. He prefaces that his primary conversation partners are the commentaries of John Nolland, R.T. France, Robert Gundry, and Craig S. Keener (p. xv). This doesn’t mean that there is a lack of sources cited (I know, I did the indexing), but that the commentary does a solid job of being selective when mentioning and interacting with secondary literature so that the text itself is primary.
This is the work of a confessional scholar. Evans affirms the historicity of Jesus, the virgin birth, and so forth, but he does serious historical-critical work as well. I don’t think I have to defend his reputation as a serious scholar of Christian origins and literature and Second Temple Judaism.
The commentary is 487 pages of content. If you have any questions about the book feel free to ask in the comments. Here are some pictures to provide a visual (click to enlarge):