About a month ago, a reader alerted me to a brand new single-volume commentary from Paulist Press, which was recently released in the fall of 2018. I emailed the publisher to request a review copy, but that attempt yielded no fruit. The price has been running between $105 and $115 on Amazon, so I’ve hesitated to purchase a copy. Judging by the online descriptions and previews, though, it looks very interesting and useful.

The primary editors are José Enrique Aguilar Chiu, Richard J. Clifford, SJ, Carol J. Dempsey, OP, Eileen M. Schuller, OSU, Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, and Ronald D. Witherup, PSS.

The product description emphasizes in multiple places that this commentary is not only an academic, historical-critical text, but it was designed especially for pastors and anyone engaged in ministry: “While based on classical approaches to Scripture, the commentaries and articles are not limited to historical literary issues, but draw upon relevant theological and pastoral ideas found in the text.”

The promotional material contains a quote from Cardinal Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. of Newark: “This rich resource is the work of women and men who have dedicated themselves to the study of the Scriptures, and they present their expert scholarship in a way that focuses our attention on the pastoral sense of the text.”

The Paulist website offers an interactive preview of a few of the articles here. Overall, the layout reminds me of the Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, which offers information on unbroken passages of each book, rather than fragmenting the commentary verse-by-verse like the New Jerome Biblical Commentary.

This looks like a very interesting resource — definitely more approachable than the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. It features a sewn binding, comes in a slip case, and contains 4 ribbon markers.

6 thoughts on “New Single-Volume Biblical Commentary from Paulist Press”

  1. I didn’t recognize the names of any of the editors at first, but Richard Clifford was one of the NABRE Old Testament revisers, Thomas Stegman did the 2 Corinthians volume of the Catholic Study of Sacred Scripture series and Ronald Witherup was an editor of the Little Rock Study BIble. Plenty of publications from the rest of them too.

    The cover seems intentionally modeled on the one for the original Jerome Bible Commentary. It is a very classic look.

  2. Weren’t they talking about a third edition of the Jerome commentary a couple of years ago? Are we completely sure that isn’t exactly what this is, the third edition of the Jerome Commentary? A kind of spiritual descendant? Perhaps the cover is not a coincidence.

    1. I haven’t been able to find any information on whether this commentary bears an imprimatur. The book preview on the Paulist website includes some of the introductory pages, but the copyright page, where the imprimatur would normally be printed, is not shown.

  3. Found this:


    “The genius of this work is that it mines the Bible for insights into contemporary church issues. For example, on prophets, Jersey City native Sister Carol Dempsey writes: “A feminist and liberationist perspective addresses issues of patriarchy, hierarchy and gender.”

    Oh boy.

    “Since same sex relations in the Bible are culturally conditioned, I asked him [Luke Timothy Johnson] if a same sex theology could be justified by Scripture.

    ‘Yes,’ said the Candler School of Theology professor emeritus. ‘The Bible is always authoritative; it’s just not normative.'”

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