Commentary Survey for Public Domain Commentaries

New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. CarsonDon Carson’s excellent New Testament Commentary Survey fulfils a very specific and valuable purpose: it evaluates modern commentaries and allows readers who have access to books to choose the best ones for them.

For Bible teachers in the Majority World, such surveys may be of less value. The commentaries recommended, even if they were available in their country, would cost far more than the average person could afford. Older commentaries, that are now in the public domain, are poorly covered (though understandably so, given the book’s purpose), often being dismissed with phrases like “The key insights have been incorporated into more recent works…”.

Given that the primary purpose of Theology on the Web is to provide good biblically-based resources for the Majority World and those without access to physical books, I want to find a way around this problem – with your help.

How You Can Help

I want to upload (on BiblicalStudies.org.uk) a survey of public domain biblical commentaries. This survey would identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. It would then rank them as suitable for (a) the general reader; (b) for ministers, or (c) for scholars.  Once the survey is completed I would ensure that the best commentaries are all available via BiblicalStudies.org.uk.

I am therefore seeking a number of contributors who would agree to evaluate commentaries on a biblical book, or group of books e.g. the Pastoral Epistles or the Minor Prophets.

Please let me know if you are interested in contributing to this Project by e-mailing me at [email protected] Please feel free to make comments and suggestions below. If you are not sure which commentaries might be in the Public Domain, I can help you to narrow down your list.


This Project was initially proposed on the Theology on the Web Facebook Group. I am grateful for the Group’s feedback, which has enabled me to refine its parameters.

Whitley Lectures 1996-2010 now online

Whitley Lectures

What are the Whitley Lectures?

The Whitley Lecture was first established in 1949 in honour of W.T. Whitley (1861–1947), the Baptist minister and historian. Following a pastorate in Bridlington, during which he also taught at Rawdon College in Yorkshire, Whitley became the first Principal of the Baptist College of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, in 1891. This institution was later renamed Whitley College in his honour.

Whitley was a key figure in the formation of the Baptist Historical Society in 1908. He edited its journal, which soon gained an international reputation for the quality of its contents – a reputation it still enjoys nearly a century later as the Baptist Quarterly. His A History of British Baptists (London: Charles Griffin, 1923) remains an important source of information and comment for contemporary historians. Altogether he made an important contribution to Baptist life and self-understanding in Britain and Australia, providing a model of how a pastor-scholar might enrich the life and faith of others.

The establishment of the annual lecture in his name is designed as an encouragement to research and writing by Baptist scholars, and to enable the results of this work to be published. The giving of grants, advice and other forms of support by the Lectureship Committee serves the same purpose. The committee consists of representatives of the British Baptist Colleges, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, BMS World Mission, the Baptist Ministers’ Fellowship and the Baptist Historical Society. These organizations also provide financial support for its work.

Why are Some of These Lectures On-line?

The Committee of the Whitley Trust have approached Theology on the Web and asked that the lectures given between 1996 and 2010 be made available for free access.

What Subjects Have the Lectures Covered?

The Whitley lectures have covered a broad range of subjects including Baptist ministry, mission, pluralism, women’s ministry, worship, eschatology and the environment.

What About the Earlier Lectures?

There is no complete list of the lectures that took place between 1949 and 1995 that I know of. However, some of them are available as books, some of which are still in print:

1951-52. Harold Henry Rowley [1890-1969], The Unity of the Unity. Whitley lectures; 1951-52. London: Carey Kingsgate, 1953.

1952. Laurence Henry Marshall, Rivals of the Christian Faith.  W. T. Whitley Lectures For 1952. London: Carey Newgate Press, 1952. pp.142.

1959-1960. George Raymond Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, 2nd edn. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1979.

1960. Douglas Galloway Stewart, The Ark of God. Studies in five modern novelists, James Joyce, Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Joyce Cary. W. T. Whitley Lectures for 1960. London: Carey Kingsgate Press 1961. pp.158.

1961. Arthur Bamford Cardtree, The Restored Relationship. A study in justification and reconciliation. W. T. Whitley Lectures for 1961. London : Carey Kingsgate Press 1963. Pp.208.

1962. Joseph Bright Skemp, The Greeks and the Gospel. (Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1. 22-24). W.T. Whitley lectures for 1962. London: Carey Kingsgate Press, 1963.

1963. S.F. Winward, The Reformation of Our Worship. W.T. Whitley Lectures for 1963. London: Carey Kingsgate Press 1964 pp.126.

1970-71. William Donald Hudson, A philosophical Approach to Religion. Whitley lectures; 1970-1971. London: Macmillan, 1974. ISBN: 0333155599. pp.200.

Where can I download the lectures?

The Second Series of Whitley Lectures can be accessed here.

Do You Have Other Denominational Material Available?

Theology on the Web hosts a growing archive of United Kingdom denominational publications, much of it unavailable elsewhere. See the links below for details:

I am always happy to discuss the possibility of adding more journals to the archive. Contact me if you are interested.

Abraham: His Life and Times by William J. Deane

Caravaggio's Sacrifice of Isaac - public domain - Source: Wikipedia
Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac – public domain – Source: Wikipedia

William J. Deane [1853-1943] provides a detailed study of the life of Abraham and assumes that the biblical account is reliable and accurate. This title is in the public domain.

William J. Deane [1853-1943], Abraham: His Life and Times. London: James Nisbet & Co., n.d. Hbk. pp.179. [Click to visit the download page for this title]

Contents

  • Preface
    1. Abram’s Birthplace
    2. First Call
    3. Second Call
    4. The Promised Land
    5. Egypt
    6. Separation
    7. Chedorlaomer
    8. The Covenant
    9. Hagar – Circumcision
    10. Sodom
    11. Gerar and Beersheba
    12. Temptation
    13. Machpaleh
    14. Isaac’s Marriage
    15. Closing years – Death

Preface

The materials for the facts of the life of Abraham are found in Holy Scripture, in the Book of Genesis, and in some of the later writings. I have taken it for granted that these statements are authentic, and have not thought it necessary to follow Ewald and his school in distinguishing the various authors of them, assigning this to” the Book of origins,” and that to the First narrator, and that to the Second, and so on. Nor have 1 esteemed the details thus given as accretions that have grown up round a great central figure in the lapse of centuries, the outcome of hero-worship, the result of a natural desire to accumulate on a great forefather anything that would tend to elevate his personal character ·or exalt the favour with which he was regarded by God…