ICC 1 Corinthians Commentary online

The following public domain book is now available for free download in PDF:

Archibald Robertson [1853-1931] & Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1914. Hbk. pp.424.

International Critical Commentary on 1 Corinthians

§ I. Corinth

What we know from other sources respecting Corinth in St Paul’s day harmonizes well with the impression which we receive from 1 Corinthians. The extinction of the totius Graeciae lumen, as Cicero (Pro lege Manil. 5) calls the old Greek city of Corinth, by the Roman consul L. Mummius Achaicus, 146 B.C., was only temporary. Exactly a century later Julius Caesar founded anew city on the old site as Colonia Julia Corinthus. The re-building was a measure of military precaution, and little was done to show that there was any wish to revive the glories of Greece (Finlay, Greece under the Romans, p. 67). The inhabitants of the new city were not Greeks but Italians, Caesar’s veterans and freedmen. The descendants of the inhabitants who had survived the destruction of the old city did not return to the home of their parents, and Greeks generally were for a time somewhat shy of taking up their abode in the new city. Plutarch, who was still a boy when St Paul was in Greece, seems hardly to have regarded the new Corinth as a Greek town. Festus says that the colonists were called Corinthienses, to distinguish them from the old Corinthii. But such distinctions do not seem to have been maintained. By the time that St Paul visited the city there were plenty of Greeks among the inhabitants, the current language was in the main Greek, and the descendants of the first Italian colonists had become to a large extent Hellenized.

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Plummer’s 2 Corinthians Commentary

The following public domain commentary on 2 Corinthians is now available in pdf:

Alfred Plummer [1841–1926], A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. Edinburgh: T &T Clark, 1915. Hbk. pp.404.

Don Carson notes in his New Testament Commentary Survey (6th edn.), that this commentary:

“…tends to be pedestrian, but is worth picking up second hand; I cannot imagine paying those prices [$50.00] for a new copy.”

 2 Corinthians

Introduction

1. Authenticity

The evidence, both external and internal, for the genuineness of 2 Corinthians is so strong that a commentator might be excused for assuming it without discussion. In the present state of criticism there is no need to spend time in examining the captious and speculative objections which have been, during the last sixty years, urged against this and others of the four great Epistles of St Paul by a very small group of eccentric critics, and various recent commentators not only abstain from doing so, but do not even think it worthwhile to give so much as a summary of the evidence in favour of the genuineness.The external evidence does not begin quite so early as that for 1 Corinthians; for we may regard it as certain that the Second Epistle was unknown to Clement of Rome, who was so well acquainted with the First. Much of the Second would have served his purpose much better than the First Epistle; yet, frequently as he quotes the First, he nowhere exhibits any knowledge of the Second, for none of the five or six passages, in which some writers have thought that there may be an echo of something in 2 Corinthians, can be relied upon as showing this. Those who care to verify this statement may compare 2 Cor. i. 5, viii. 9, x. 3, 4, x. 13, 15, 16, x. 17, x. 18 respectively with Clem. ii. l, xvi. 2, xxxvii. 1, i. 3, xiii. l, xxx. 6.Clement is writing on behalf of the Church of Rome to rebuke the Corinthians for rebelling against authority, and he tells them to “take up the Epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle” and see how he rebukes them for party spirit. It would have been far more to the point to have referred to the Second Epistle in which St Paul rebukes them far more severely for rebellion. “Yet in the sixty-five chapters of Clement’s epistle there is not a single sentence which indicates that he had ever heard that the Corinthians has before his own time rebelled against those set over them, or that they had ever repented of their rebellion, though he tells the Corinthians that he has handled every argument”(Kennedy, The Second and Third Epistles to the Corinthians, p. 147). The absence of any clear quotation may be regarded as conclusive. “In the whole field of literature it would hardly be possible to adduce a stronger case of proof” (Rendall, The Epistles of St Paul to the Corinthians, p. 91). The inference is that 2 Corinthians in A.D. 96 was not known in the Church of Rome; it had not yet been circulated through the Churches.

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