Philosophy and organization of this commentary

This commentary is based on three major principles:

To achieve the first I have tried to avoid contentious and sectarian interpretation. Where possible I have presented the information and tried to allow readers to form their own judgment about the significance of this information for understanding the text today. (Where I have indicated a Christian reading I have tried to preface it with some remark like "a Christian reader may understand this as...")

The second goal, of accessibility, is assisted greatly by the hypertext format. This allows explanation to be provided for some users, while more detailed discussion of the evidence can be offered for others. In the commentary series that we plan to follow Amos, these two sorts of link will be distinguished either by color or by mouseover tooltips.

The scholarship is ultimately something each reader must judge, however the commentary has already had approval from several biblical scholars and university libraries, and it has been subject to peer review (like printed academic publications), and will be reviewed in biblical studies journals.

This commentary aims to present the text and, through presentation of its historical background in monarchic Israel (see note) and discussion of its linguistic and literary features, to allow the reader to understand it better.

This material though accessed in four ways is of three main sorts:

Bible dictionary (accessed from alphabetical menu lists)

Information about
history of the ancient world,
the discipline of biblical studies
can be accessed directly from an alphabetical system of menus to the left of the biblical text screen. (They are also accessed from links embeded in the text of commentary, discussion of Hebrew words, or of other dictionary articles.) This material appears in the commentary window at the bottom right of the screen.

Commentary (accessed from links in the biblical text e.g. "comments 1:1")

The commentary proper is arranged under headings chosen according to the needs of the passage under consideration. These are the main headings used:

Text and translation: is concerned with issues of textual criticism or where translators face particularly difficult problems

Form: discusses the shape or structure of the material and seeks to identify its particular genre

Sitz im Leben: considers the setting in ancient Israel in which such a discourse might have been "at home"

Setting suggests a possible setting in Amos' story which the text seems to envisage

Function concerns the ways in which this section of text might have functioned

Language (or language and imagery) addresses the choice of words and pictures

Rhetoric adds consideration of unusual patterns of wording or of imagery which may suggest the text was intended to provoke particular responses in the reader

The commentary's focus on the text's expression means that the headings "form" and "language and imagery" are always used.

Discussion of Hebrew words and phrases

This material seeks to present information on the semantic range and usage of most of the words of the Hebrew text of Amos. The focus of this presentation is not to give a complete picture of the word, but on its use(s) in Amos. Where it seems appropriate attention is drawn to interesting phrases or constructions.

The comments are brief, and are intended to provide quick answers. Where a word is complex or a key to a particular passage further reading and research will always be useful.


This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.