Bloomsbury Publishing will be releasing a new, fully-revised edition of the Jerome Biblical Commentary on November 18th. This will be the third revision of the commentary, which was originally published in 1968. I expect this to be a major revision under the direction of a brand-new group of general editors.

The first two editions (published in 1968 and 1990 respectively) were edited by Fr. Raymond Brown S.S., Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer S.J., and Fr. Roland Murphy O.Carm. All of these editors were among the most well-known Catholic biblical scholars of the late 20th century. The upcoming third edition features a brand new list of editors: John J. Collins, Gina Hens-Piazza, Sr. Barbara Reid O.P., and Fr. Donald Senior C.P.

The marketing material for the new third edition indicates that much of the commentary has been extensively revised:

…the entire content of the commentary has been revised to bring it up-to-date with the very latest scholarship, featuring the leading international Catholic scholars of our day

Bloomsbury Publishing, The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century

Pope Francis has also written a foreword for the new edition, and a short quote from him is featured on the product website:

The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people. That is the importance and mission of biblical scholarship at the service of the community of faith, the type of scholarship exhibited in this volume of biblical commentaries.

Pope Francis

The current list price for pre-orders is $90 for a hardcover edition and $72 for an e-book. Many thanks to a reader for alerting me that this project is in the works!

20 thoughts on “Coming in November: The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century”

  1. Wow! That’s great! I can’t wait for this. I will purchase it when it’s available. This is great to add another biblical commentary to my library shelf. I have got biblical commentaries – the Paulist Biblical Commentary, the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, the New Collegevity Biblical Commentary, the Oxford Biblical Commentary and Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. They re all good biblical commentaries. Thanks for letting us all know about this new biblical commentary.

  2. If the original writers and editors are dead, and I’m pretty sure they all are, then how is this a ‘Jerome’ Bible? Why use the name ‘Jerome Bible’? Why not just publish it as a brand new commentary with a new name? Is this just a cynical attempt to cash in on a prestigious name?

    1. As there has not been a previous JBC published in the 21st century, how can this be the third fully revised edition? Fr Joseph Fitzmyer said that the worst decision (in regard to publication) made in relation to the JBC was to not hold on to pricing rights. The edition was to be affordable to everyone. It appears this new edition will continue in the wrong direction, at least in pricing.

    2. “a cynical attempt to cash in”. Um, just a FYI: cynical means assuming the motive of others’ is self-interest. In fact, it is you, the writer of the post, who is being cynical in your comment–distrusting the integrity of the publishers.

  3. Two of the editors specialize in “feminist studies of scripture”. So I will take a pass. Especially for the price.

    1. It seems to me that, after centuries of male-dominated studies of scripture, “feminist studies of scripture” are sorely needed and way overdue.

      1. I agree that we desperately need feminine perspectives on Scripture, but “feminist” studies of Scripture typically implies much more than that.

    2. Yeah. I am kind of glad it will be overpriced. Seems like the last gasp of a dying breed of liberal-“moderate” biblical scholars stuck in the 90s. Boring.

    3. Feminism can be interpreted many ways. Alice von Hildrebrand had a EWTN series promoting feminism–the true version. I am guessing you, Devin, thoroughly renounce gender ideology because you grasp that males are different from females. To help distinguish this, feminism is properly defined. Important not to be reactionary–hear “feminism” and run for hills.

  4. It’s impressive that this book has a forward by Pope Francis, regardless of one’s opinion on the Holy Father or the scholars who put this book together.

  5. This is probably a very basic question since I’m new to Bible study, but how does a commentary differ from a study bible? Does this commentary contain actual scripture (and if so, what translation is used?) or does it simply have commentary and references to chapter/verse for you to read in a separate Bible?

    1. The previous versions of the Jerome Biblical Commentary do not include the scripture text. They are commentaries that provide information by chapter and verse. It’s like a book full of footnotes which you can refer to alongside reading the Bible.

    2. Truthfully, there is no difference. It’s just marketing.

      They call it a ‘Study Bible’ when they are trying to appeal to a mass market, and a ‘commentary: when they are trying to appeal to a ln academic market.

      There is probably a difference in the specific notes, something called a ‘commentary’ is probably going to focus on issues that aren’t addressed in something called a ‘Study Bible’, but that is because, again, they are trying to appeal to a difference market.

      Also, a “Study Bible’ us likely to contain”study aids’ like maps, charts and diagrams, so that you can see, for example, where ‘Galilee’ is in relation to ‘Samaria’. These kinds of things likely won’t be in something called a ‘commentary” because it is assumed that the academic audience it is intended for don’t need this kind of basic information explained to them.

    3. If you would like an excellent start into Bible commentaries, I would recommend the Catena Aurea, which is a commentary on all four Gospels. The commentary is from a range of the Church Fathers, selected and edited by St Thomas Aquinas, and translated into English by St John Henry Newman.

      If you have a Kindle, you should be able to purchase it for about $1.99, paperback copies are also available, and so are leatherbound versions from Baronius Press.

  6. A clarification: the NJBC includes 4 maps and 1430 pages of commentary and notes not including an index. There’s far, far more here than any study Bible in the market. As for price, I ordered mine (with Amazon discount) for $56.00 twenty years ago, so given inflation and the passage of time, as well as the likelihood that many online vendors charge well below list price, the $90.00 price tag seems reasonable.

    1. It depends on what you count as the number of pages, the Bible itself is around 1400 pages long, so any Study Bible that contains the full Biblical text, as most do, is going to be at least that long. And as far as it goes, there are very, very few commentaries that are as big as the Jerome Bible either, most ‘commentaries’ offer only 200-300 pages of notes, so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at, to be honest, except to point out that the Jerome Bible is one of the more massive one-volume commentaries. Which is true. I mean, there is the Anchor Bible Commentary series, which is projected to be 120 volumes when completed (assuming it ever is) and that would be the longest commentary ever made in world history, in fact, I’m pretty sure it already is.

  7. The New Collegeville Bible Commentary has over 1500 pages with no biblical texts only commentary by chapter and/verse. This is a good beginners or intermediate commentary published by Liturgical Press. The latest edition was released in 2017— if memory serves me right.

  8. In my experience, a Study Bible is a Bible with robust notes and essays.

    A commentary is a reference book of notes keyed to specific chapters and verses. I’ve never had a commentary that also includes the full Biblical text.

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