I like books. I own lots of them. Far too many of them in fact. Most of my books are on law, philosophy, or history. I also dabble just a bit in biblical criticism. By and large, I can’t stand Mormon commentaries. They tend to be a vacuous collection of GA quotes largely unrelated to the text they are purportedly commenting on. So I have turned elsewhere.
Looking at my bookshelf last night, I was struck by an interesting fact. All of the non-Mormon books that I own on the Bible are written by either Catholics or Jews. Thus, I have Raymond Brown’s Introduction to the New Testament as well as The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Both of these books have the “Nihil Obstat,” which means that an official from a Catholic archdiocese has read the books and certifies that they are “free of doctrinal or moral error,” although the giver of the imprimatur goes on to clarify that “No implication is contained thereine that those who have granted the nihil obstat and the imprimatur agree with the content, opinions, or statements expressed.” In a post-Vatican II world, I doubt that the nihil obstat requires much deviation from mainline biblical scholarship, but I do find it interesting.
On the Jewish side I have The Poetics of Biblical Narrative and I used to have Rashi’s commentary on the Pentatuach. These, of course, are very different books. Poetics is a modern attempt at literary analysis of the Old Testament, and Rashi was a medieval rabbi. Both of them, however, have a wonderful focus on textual detail.
I don’t know that there is any broader significance to this, but I do find it interesting that consciously or unconsciously I have banished Protestants from my (admittedly small) biblical library.