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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Alfred Plummer’s Thessalonian Commentaries

The Rev. Alfred Plummer wrote a number of commentaries on the books of the New Testament. As he died more than 70 years ago these are now in the public domain, so I have digitised his two-volume set on Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians:

Alfred Plummer [1841–1926], A Commentary on St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians. London: Robert Scott, 1918. Hbk. pp.116. Click here to download in PDF.

Alfred Plummer [1841–1926], A Commentary on St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. London: Robert Scott, 1918. Hbk. pp.118. Click here to download in PDF.

Alfred Plummer [1841–1926],

A Commentary on St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians.

Introduction

The Epistles to the Thessalonians do not tell us a great deal about the city in which these most interesting converts of the Apostle of the Gentiles lived; but what they tell us harmonizes very well with what we learn from other sources. The passage of the Gospel from Asia to Europe is a momentous event in the history of the Apostolic Age; and it took place when St. Paul, in obedience to what he believed to be a Divine command, ‘set sail from Troas’ and came ‘to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the first of the district, a Roman colony’ (Acts xvi. 8-14). To us this means the spread of Christianity from one continent to another. But that is not the way in which it is regarded in the N.T., in which the word’ Europe’ does not occur, and in which ‘Asia’ never means the continent of Asia. The Apostle of the Gentiles and his historian, St. Luke, seem rather to have regarded the event as a passage from Eastern to Western civilization, an advance from a world in which the best elements had centred in Judaism to a world in which the best elements were found in the art and thought of Greece, and in the political and military organization of Rome.

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“The Greek Papyri” by George Milligan

George Milligan [1860-1934]
George Milligan [1860-1934]
The following public domain article is now available in PDF:

George Milligan [1860-1934], “The Greek Papyri – with special reference to their value for New Testament study,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 44 (1912): 62-78.

George Milligan was an noted biblical scholar in his day as this extract from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography makes clear:

It was a notable pioneering achievement for Milligan to issue, while still at Caputh, a standard commentary on St Paul’s epistles to the Thessalonians (1908), in which among other things he applied the new papyrological evidence to a re-examination of the Pauline grammar and vocabulary. He began his great work, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (1914–29), in collaboration with J. H. Moulton, and after the issue of part two in 1915 completed it single-handedly. Its comprehensiveness and accuracy provided a foundation for successors to build upon, while remaining readable and full of human interest.

I suspect that this lecture is little-known, but I hope that, like his other works, it will still prove of Interest today.

The Greek Papyri by George Milligan

The most significant fact in the modern study of the New Testament is the recognition that it has a history, and consequently that its several books can only be fully understood in connexion with their surroundings or the special circumstances that called them forth. Everything, therefore, that throws light on the outward conditions of the New Testament writers is of value. And it is just here that we are in a peculiarly favourable position to-day. In the past, archaeological discovery has been mainly concerned with the Old Testament, but now the light it sheds has been extended to the New Testament, and is largely derivable from the immense number of texts on stone, on earthen ware, and on papyrus which recent discoveries have brought within our reach.

It is only with the papyrus texts that we are at present concerned, and for their preservation we have to thank them marvellously dry climate of Egypt. The first finds were made at Gizeh as far back as 1778, but it was not until 1877, when several thousands of papyri were unearthed at Crocodilopolis, or Arsinöe, the ancient capital of the Fayûm district, that public interest was fully aroused. The work of exploration was afterwards extended to Tebtunis, Oxyrhynchus, and other likely sites, with the result that we have now thousands of these texts in our hands. Some were discovered in the ruins of old temples, others in the cartonnage of mummies; but the greater number were found in what were literally the dust or refuse heaps on the outskirts of the towns or villages. The old Egyptians, instead of burning their waste-papers, as is the custom amongst ourselves, were in the habit of tearing them up and throwing them out on these heaps, where, thanks to a covering of desert sand, they have lain in safety all these years.

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