A place to start (all periods through 1700)
Start with lists like these, which hone in on commentary available in English (translation):
- Thompson, John L. "Finding guide to English translations of commentary literature written before 1600." Click on LINKS TO ENGLISH-LANGUAGE COMMENTARY LITERATURE.
- Thompson, John L. "Finding guide to English translations of commentary literature written 1600-1700." Click on LINKS TO ENGLISH-LANGUAGE COMMENTARY LITERATURE.
More than one period
Some (though very far from all) modern commentaries list the major pre-modern commentaries, often by period.
Here is but one example, taken from the 1969 commentary on Luke in the series Herders theologisches Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, by Schürmann. Use more comprehensive lists like these to update lists like those above, in the manner demonstrated in class (which is to say, by Finding Commentary in Books and Articles):
To find such lists (lists of pre-modern commentary buried in modern commentaries), you will have to personally examine commentaries identified as follows:
Here are some additional suggestions:
- Thompson, Augustine, O.P. Patristic-Medieval Exegesis syllabus. Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Autumn 2014. Scroll down to pp. 20 ff.
Some Bible or theological dictionaries and encyclopedias list such commentary in bibliographies to entries for the biblical book or unit in question. See for example,
- Dictionnaire de la Bible. Supplement =Supplément au Dictionnaire de la Bible. 13 vols. in 15. 1928-<2008>. Seattle University Lemieux Library BS440 .D52 1928. When I checked in the Autumn of 2015, Harvard's copy was up to vol. 14, fasc. 77/78 (-Tell Hariri), published in 2008. The original 5 vols. in 10 (1926-1928) are also available in the Lemieux Library, at BS440 .D5 1926.
- Dictionnaire théologie catholique. 18 vols. REF BX841 .D56 1903.
- Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart. 3rd ed. 6 vols. REF BL31 .R42.
This Catholic introduction to the books of the Bible-with-Apocrypha is loaded with sections entitled "De praecipuis commentariis in . . . ." ("Principal commentaries on . . ."), and these list the major patristic, medieval, Reformation, and early modern commentaries. Here I supply a shot from the section on the wisdom books in general and then (first) Job in vol. 2, but see me for the rest. Again, the point is that even someone without Latin should be able to use a biblical-book-list like this one (on the wisdom books in general and then (first) Job) to extract an ancient author (for example Jerome, or Hilary, below), and then run a Thompson-updating search in the book catalog and article databases (Patristic-Medieval and Reformation/Early Modern):
- Höpfl, Miller, Gut, & Metzinger. Introductionis in sacros utriusque testamenti libros compendium:
- Vol. 2, Introductio specialis in Vetus Testamentum. 6th ed. Rome, 1963.
- Vol. 3, Introductio specialis in Novum Testamentum. 6th ed. Naples, 1962.
- Jeffrey, David Lyle. "Checklist of biblical commentaries available to English authors." Dictionary of biblical tradition in English literature, pp. 901-911. REF PR149 .B5D53 1992.
The following contain entries on major interpreters. The first edition orders them by period first (Early church, Middle ages, 16th & 17th centuries, 18th & 19th centuries, 20th-century Europe, 20th-century North America), then alphabetically. The second orders them alphabetically, but opens with a series of period-specific essays divvied up as in the first edition (see, e.g., the sub-section "Exegetes and thier commentaries" on pp. 28 ff. of the essay "Biblical interpretation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."). Both could be enlisted in a search for biblical commentary on a given book by author (e.g. Melanchthon in the Author field, and Bible and/or Commentaries in the Subject field, limited to English), though neither can of course be counted on to supply anything close to an exhaustive list:
- Dictionary of major biblical interpreters. REF BS501 .A1H57 2007.
- Historical handbook of major biblical interpreters. BS501 .A1H57.
Some (but very far from all) of the entries in this dictionary list a limited amount of pre-modern commentary:
- Dictionary of biblical interpretation. REF BS500 .D5 1999.
You may wish to check also the entries in the
- Encyclopedia of the Bible and its reception. Online and at BS440 .E539 2009.
Look for translations of (excerpts from) major period commentaries on the whole Bible (which contain often the work of many centuries) like:
- Glos(s)a ordinaria (complete by the 12th cent). The important reprint of this is the one by Gibson & Froehlich. But at least sections of it have been translated. See, for example, the volumes in the TEAMS Commentary series:
- Dove, Mary, trans. The Glossa ordinaria on the Song of Songs. 2004. BS1485.53 .G5813 2004.
- Woodward, Michael Scott, trans. The Glossa ordinaria on Romans. 2011. BS2665.53 .G6613 2011.
- Hugh of St. Cher, Opera omnia in universum Vetus et Novum Testamentum (13th cent).
- Nicholas of Lyra:
- Postilla litteralis in Vetus et Novum Testamentum.
- Postilla moralis in Vetus et Novum Testamentum (14th cent).
- Denis the Carthusian, Enarrationis (15th cent).
- Cornelius a Lapide, Commentaria in sacram scripturam (or some other title, 17th cent.). Relies heavily (though not exclusively) on commentary of the patristic and medieval periods.
Books or articles on the history of the interpretation of individual books or passages or the interpretative work of one or more commentators may offer fairly comprehensive lists. Two examples would be
- Tresley. "Annotated bibliography of commentaries on the book of Revelation to 1700." Pp. 125-272 in The book of Revelation and its interpreters: short studies and an annotated bibliography. Ed. Boxall & Tresley. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. BS2825.52 .B646 2016. A very thorough list of "commentaries on the book up to 1700, including most of the early illuminated Apocalypses.”
- Wengert. "The scope of Melanchthon's interpretative work. The biblical commentaries of Philip Melanchthon." In Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) and the commentary. Ed. Wengert & Graham. Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.
- Balás, David L., & D. Jeffrey Bingham. "Patristic exegesis of the books of the Bible." Handbook of patristic exegesis, ed. Kannengieser, vol. 1, pp. 271-373. REF BS500 .K34 2004 v. 1.
More comprehensive (and scholarly) still: the Corpus Christianorum Clavis series, and especially:
- Clavis patrum Graecorum. Summit. See the "Index Biblicus et Liturgicus" in vol. 5. Note on the two pages reproduced below (pp. 120-121) not just the list of commentaries on 1 Kings-Job as a whole, but those on subsections of a given book or topic as well (In Annam et Samuelem, De Saule et Dauide, De Engastrimytho, In Dauidem, In Heliam prophetam, and Elisaeus propheta):
- Clavis patrum Latinorum. 3rd ed. 1995. Summit. See, for example, pp. 776-777, under "Exegetica", a section organized by biblical book:
- Bardy, G. "Commentaries patristiques de la Bible," Dictionnaire de la Bible Supplément II, cols. 75-103; "Exégèse patristique," DBS IV, cols. 569-591.
The following is a major passage ("Textus")-index to the sermons of the Church Fathers. Note that it references the translations ("Versiones") available at time of publication:
- Sieben, Josef Sieben. Kirchenväterhomilien zum Neuen Testament: ein Repertorium der Textausgaben und Übersetzungen, mit einem Anhang der Kirchenväterkommentare. 1991. Summit (see also Steve Perisho).
A major new series of scholarly commentaries on the patristic use of the New Testament by book is Novum Testamentum Patristicum (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007- ):
- Meisner. Galater. 2007.
- Merkt. 1. Petrus. 2010.
- Christian apocrypha: reception of the New Testament in ancient Christian apocrypha. Ed. Roesslit & Nicklas. 2014.
On pp. 64-115 of The international Bible commentary (REF BS 511.2 .I57 1998) is an extended essay on "Patristic exegesis of the books of the Bible" (with book-specific bibliographies), by David L. Balás and D. Jeffrey Bingham.
- Hall, Jonathan. "Medieval Christian biblical exegesis in English translation." March 2011. For some reason, some of these pages work better than others, for example:
Inform your searches of the catalogs and databases with the (e.g. Author) results of a search of the much more exhaustive lists that can be produced with the help of the important database
- Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi. "The online version allows full-text as well as various field searches; commentaries on specific biblical books can be located by searching the abbreviated title. To search for references to a specific biblical verse use 'Volltext,' enter the abbreviated title, and choose 'exacter Wortlaut'; if your verse is only one digit, you will get all hits that begin with that digit, so 'Gen. 1:1' will return references to Gen. 1.10, 1.11, etc.; try adding a parens after the digit since references are usually in parens: 'Gen. 1.1)'" (Dr. Charles D. Wright, underscoring mine). Here I demonstrate a search for commentaries on the book of James. (For help with this, see Biblia Sacra Vulgata.)
See also the Eerdmans series
- The Bible in medieval tradition. Ed. Bond, Krey, & Ryan. Volumes containing commentary on
Here are some additional important lists:
- Period 650-1000: McNally, Robert E. The Bible in the Middle Ages. 1959. Pp. 89-117. On order.
- Period -1216 (Latin): PL 219, cols. 101-114 (by biblical book), 113-122 (by chapter of biblical book). Look for the comparable vol. & pp. in PG.
- Period 8th-14th: Spicq. P. C. "Table des commentaires bibliques." Esquisse d’une histoire de l’exégese latine, pp. 395-401. 1944. Summit.
See also the indices to (vols. 10-11) of
- Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit
- von 1150 bis 1310. Ed. Schneyer. 11 vols. 1969-1990. UW Suzzallo and Allen Libraries Baker Auxiliary Stacks 189.05 BE. 2nd verb. u. erg. Augl., 1979- . Indexing is by Latin incipit or phrase. So look your biblical text up in the Vulgate, and then the Latin (Ps 142:8: Ad te levavi animam; Mt 5:3: Beati pauperes; John 14:1: Non turbetur cor) in vols. 10-11. For more information, see the "Wegweiser" on pp. VII-X of vol. 10.
- von 1350 bis 1500. Ed. Hödl & Knoch. CD-ROM. 2001. Unavailable via Summit borrowing, unfortunately.
Two more titles in the extremely important Corpus Christianorum Clavis series:
- Clavis des auteurs latins du moyen âge (territoire française, 735-987). Summit.
- Clavis Patristica Pseudepigraphorum Medii Aevi. BR60 .C49.
See also narrowly focused indices like this following (which really belongs under the tab Find "Commentary" in Literature and the Arts):
- Morey. Book and verse: a guide to Middle English biblical literature. 2000. PR275 .B5 M67 2000. "Entries provide detailed information on how much of what parts of the Bible appear in Middle English and where this biblical material can be found. Comprehensive indexing by name, keyword, and biblical verse."
Reformation / Early Modern period
See, for starters,
- Muller. "Biblical interpretation in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." One of several essays introductory to the otherwise alphabetically organized Dictionary of major biblical interpreters. 2nd ed. Ed. McKim. InterVarsity Press, 2007. REF BS501.A1 H57 2007. The essay on the 18th and 19th centuries doesn't function quite so well as a list. So for that period, see the 1st edition (Historical handbook of major biblical interpreters), which is organized by period, at BS501.A1 H57 1998, or attend to the birth and death dates of the interpreters given entries in the first. Neither is, of course, anything close to exhaustive.