Eerdmans today announced that Joel Green, professor at Fuller and editor par excellence, will be the successor to Gordon Fee as editor of the leading commentary series, the New International Commentary on the New Testament. Eerdmans has made, in my mind, a perfect decision in Joel Green. More on this below. First … a little context, and I have to say that when I saw this announcement today it led me into a reverie of how important this series has been to me.
When I was a college student in Grand Rapids (at Cornerstone University) I visited The Bookstore at Eerdmans — get this — 3-4x a week on my way to school. And I can’t tell you how many conversations I had with the good folks at Eerdmans, but for a poor student on a miniscule book budget, Eerdmans was the place for me. Why? They sold damaged books at 90% discount and I literally prayed for damaged goods when it came to three kinds of books: Kittel’s TDNT, major new theological books (I paid $2.50 for Ladd the day it arrived), and my favorite — the NICNT.
At the time the NICNT was edited by FF Bruce, and I remember when Gordon Fee’s 1 Corinthians came out with a spine that had the author of the previous 1 Corinthians (Geldenhuys), and all I could think of was “damaged goods.” Sure enough, I got Fee at a big discount. My original copy had a black marker through the name.
Over my career the NICNT has played a significant role and is my favorite series. In fact, it was a highlight of my career when I got a letter from FF Bruce inviting me to write the Matthew commentary, and it was a downer when I finally wrote the editor (then Gordon Fee) and confessed that I would never finish the thing … and then they gave it to Dick France and it was finally completed. So I was incredibly relieved when Gordon asked me to do James, and I managed to get the thing done. After finishing James Gordon asked me to do Colossians and Philemon, to which I agreed. So, I’m slated now to work for the third editor: Joel Green.
In my estimation, the editor of this series forms a statement of significance among scholars, and this means now a singular scholar of my generation. I think of so many professors of my age, evangelical, and I think of folks like Craig Blomberg, Marianne Meye Thompson, Craig Evans, Ben Witherington, Darrell Bock, Craig Keener … I could go on … but none of us stands even up to the shoulders of Joel when it comes to editorial competence and connectivity. Joel knows everyone; has edited all kinds of stuff; and is a master of this stuff.
Editors, as you know, make an influence on the basis of their decisions. I’m confident Joel will select the right people for the volumes that need to be written, and this series will sustain itself over the years as the leading New Testament commentary series — a combination of academic excellence and pastoral usefulness.
Well done, Jon Pott, and congratulations to Joel Green.