by Phillip Cary


192pp.  $29.99c

Publication Date: October 2008

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Phillip Cary (PhD, Yale University) is professor of philosophy at Eastern University in Pennsylvania as well as scholar-in-residence at the Templeton Honors College. He is the author of Good News for Anxious Christiansand of three critically acclaimed books on the life and thought of Augustine.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Phil Cary has given us a sparkling commentary on Jonah, one that in its combination of literary and theological acumen is true not only to the aims of the Brazos Theological Commentary series, but also to the spirit of Jonah itself.”—R. Kendall Soulen, Wesley Theological Seminary

“One’s response to this book will largely depend on what one thinks of theological interpretation of Scripture (TIS). Those who heed the TIS’s call to read each text as part of the Bible, to make connections with other texts, and to follow pre-critical biblical exegesis will appreciate Cary’s work. . . . [T]his book is a good place to begin for those wondering what TIS looks like in practice. And even for those who dislike TIS, the book is fun to read compared to the frequently dreary prose of most commentaries.”—Charlie Trimm, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

“The chief benefit of Cary’s work is methodological. It will fuel the ongoing and necessary conversation regarding the intersection of theological hermeneutics and interpretations that value historical-critical principles. More specifically, how does an interpretation that values historical-critical principles interact with the hermeneutical possibilities brought on by assuming a canonical framework? This question cannot be dismissed out of hand or taken lightly, particularly by those who confess the authority of both OT and NT.”—David B. Schreiner, Bulletin for Biblical Research

“Cary’s concern to combat anti-Semitism in Christian readings of Jonah, and his discussions of important theological concepts related to the book, make this work beneficial for Christian pastors and laity.”—Brad E. Kelle, Religious Studies Review

“Phillip Cary’s commentary on the book of Jonah combines profound exegesis with original insights that could serve both the biblical scholar and the layperson. . . . The commentary provides a detailed analysis of each verse, which is indicated both in the text itself and at the top of each page for easier reference. . . . At the end of the commentary is an epilogue with some observations which could be useful for a dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. . . . In addition to information that one may find in other commentaries, Cary has some fresh observations. . . . Cary does end on a hopeful note in helping us rediscover that Christians and Jews can rejoice in the graces that they have both received from God. It is a hermeneutical conclusion that brings to an end this thought-provoking commentary. . . . A fine contribution to the field of exegesis on the book of Jonah. Phillip Cary does not simply repeat what others have written. He opens the way to some new possibilities in the interpretation of the book of Jonah for Christians today.”—Jacek Stefanski, Review of Biblical Literature

“Seeks to focus on the overall meaning of the text rather than minute details. . . . It is readable and often suggestive, thus will be useful alongside a more detailed commentary.”—Ray Van Neste, Preaching

“Cary writes with an energy and clarity rarely found in biblical commentaries of any type. . . . Cary works his way through the text phrase by phrase, with an eye for allusions and intertextual echoes; these often fund his theological reflections. He, appropriately in my opinion, blurs the distinction between interpretation and theology. . . . If . . . you want a sustained theological theme played out over the course of interpreting a text, then this volume will both edify and repay repeated reading.”—Stephen Fowl, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

“Cary highlights two features in his commentary which are unusual. First, Cary persuasively argues that the variation in the use of the names for God in Jonah is very important if one is to understand what the book is saying about God. The second unusual feature is Cary’s interpretation of the importance and significance of the gourd in Jonah 4. Cary thinks that the gourd represents the royal Davidic line. Whether or not one agrees with Cary, this is an interesting and provocative move, and bathes the book of Jonah in a different light. . . . This book may be read, understood, and enjoyed by seminary students and professors, by pastors, by thoughtful lay people, and even by people who are not believers. Yet its insights are profound enough to make the volume worthy of shelf space. If the purpose of theology is to provoke us to seek God, I can heartily recommend this commentary. After reading it, I felt refreshed, chastened about my own heart’s ‘Jonah places,’ and more determined to seek the God who is the Ultimate Protagonist in the story of Jonah, and indeed, of the whole Bible.”—Daryl Docterman, Stone-Campbell Journal