Portfolio Edition


* Portfolio: $4,290

* Ratio of scholarly to non-scholarly works: 6
* Ratio of research works to non-research works: 5
* Subject range: 6 (only because it’s mainly focussed on textual criticism and original language tools)
* Contains resources not freely or more cheaply available elsewhere:5
* Value for money: 6

This is the premiere product. If you are interested in Bible study at a scholarly level and you can afford this package, buy it. Look at just some of the titles included, along with their stand alone retail prices:

* Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (8 Vols.): $224.95, a very good commentary collection
* Baker New Testament Commentary (12 Vols.): $159.95, contains some extremely useful exposition
* Believer’s Church Bible Commentary (19 Vols.): $349.95, only an average commentary, but still useful
* Classic Commentaries on the Greek New Testament (14 Vols.): $199.95, contains Lightfood and Wescott, among others
* College Press NIV Commentary Series (35 Vols.): $398.8, an excellent set
* Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls (12 Vols.): $219.95
* The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition Vol. I: 1Q1–4Q273 – Vol. II: 4Q274–11Q31: $89.95
* The Encyclopaedia of Judaism: Vols. 1–5: $349.95
* Critical Review of Books in Religion: $129.95
* International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE 1979–1995): $129.95
* Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible: $79.95
* The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, rev. ed.: $150.00

I bought this as an upgrade over Gold. There is well over US$1,000 of extra value here. Works highlighted are those I had wanted to buy individually but hadn’t been able to afford. They total $1,144 alone, which is already a quarter of the cost of this package. This is incredible value for money.

Here’s a list of significant items in Portfolio. I have highlighted those I already owned before I upgraded.

* Messianism Among Jews and Christians: $44.95: a 400 odd page study of the historical view of Messiah among early Jews and Christians, with an explanation of how this contributes to our understanding of the New Testament; important background material for the world of Christ

* A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (5 Vols.): $179.95: a 19th century work which remains an oft referred to classic, still useful to understanding the historical background of Christ and the New Testament

* Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls (12 Vols.): $219.95: a huge scholarly collection which is invaluable to an proper knowledge of these oft cited but little understood texts; contains works explaining the various collections of texts, a work providing English translations of the texts, and another work describing the recent history of scholarship on the texts (dated to 2003, so equivalent to ‘current research’ for this field)

* Bible and the Arts Collection (4 Vols.): $89.95: discusses the many ways in which art, music, and yes even interpretive dance play a legitimate role in mediating the Scriptures and communicating their message to others

* Hermeneutics Collection (12 Vols.): $649.95: a huge scholarly collection of works explaining the principles of interpretation and their importance to studying the Scriptures; very important to anyone who wants to at least try to understand how modern scholarly commentators work

* A Handbook to the Exegesis of the New Testament: $49.95: a small but useful volume providing a detailed overview of various exegetical methods used by modern scholars, as well as critiques of some methods used and an explanation of how relevant background material (literary, historical, etc), informs our understanding of the New Testament; essential for anyone wanting to understand how modern New Testament scholars actually approach the text and why, instead of relying on guesswork on hearsay about what ‘theologians’ do

* Gnostic and Apocryphal Studies Collection (10 Vols.): $649.95: a massive and extremely valuable collection of scholarly works on the gnostic and apocryphal works, very useful for studies in this field especially when faced with the difficulty of discerning truth from conflicting claims regarding the Gnostics and apocryphals, particularly popular claims made by people who have never studied the subject (and who are commonly hijacking it for their own agenda)

* History of Interpretation, by Frederick William Farrar: $32.95: extremely useful and very detailed historical treatment of the history of interpretive methodology from the Jewish era to the late Christian era, a 19th century work still regarded well today for its scope and depth; be aware that Farrar was a Preterist however, and this does influence his treatment of the Scriptural text

* Luke: Historian and Theologian: $18.95: a little volume by I Howard Marshall, who isn’t a conservative but who provides (among other things), a presentation of Luke’s record as historically credible

* New Testament Interpretation: $34.95: another work by I Howard Marshall, this time examining the methods by which people interpret the New Testament, discussing problems such as presuppositions and the application of the text to ourselves today

* New Testament Studies Collection (7 Vols.): $99.95: probably too far off the wall for most people, this is a useful collection for understanding criticism of postmodernism, as well as investigating some modern reassessments of salvation and the Spirit

* Perspectives on Paul Collection (8 Vols.): $199.95: a range of scholarly works investigating the new interpretations of Paul which have emerged in recent years, some of which represent a significant advance in scholarship (depending on your point of view)

* To What End Exegesis?: $19.95: Gordon Fee, liberal and egalitarian textual critic, read carefully and compare with other commentaries

* Anthropology in Theological Perspective: $84.00: a very important and detailed study (552 pages!), on the religious implications of ‘human biology, psychology, cultural anthropology, sociology and history’

* Ariel Ministries Messianic Collection (11 Vols.): $319.95: Fruchtenbaum makes some very basic blunders, repeating many long outdated and debunked exegetical and historical claims, but this collection is still useful to see what modern Messianic exegesis looks like

* Baptism Collection (3 Vols.): $54.95: a significant collection of historical and exegetical treatments of the subject

* Brave New World?: Theology, Ethics and the Human Genome: $72.00: a detailed scholarly work containing contributions from scientists and theologians on a hotly debated topic

* Oxford Movement Historical Theology Collection (10 Vols.): $124.95: a good selection from one of the most influential 19th century theological movements (the works by Pusey were especially important to the movement), contains some very useful historical treatment of early Christianity

* Postliberal Theological Method: $28.9: essential reading for those attempting to understand new church movements

* Reordering Nature: Theology, Society and the New Genetics: $72.00: the Bible, ethics, and biotechnology

* The Fundamentals (4 Vols.): $24:95: this is the influential collection of works belonging to the 19th century theological movement which took the ‘fun’ out of ‘fundamentalist’, and gave us the term which has become a byword and a hissing for some, a banner of truth and standard of orthodoxy for others; this collection is very useful for anyone wishing to identify how 19th century Christadelphian understanding differed significantly from the original ‘Fundamentalists’, as well as providing a clear demonstration of how today’s Fundamentalists differ significantly from their 19th century ancestors

* The Dictionary of Historical Theology: $44.95: a very useful reference work, covering a range of theological terms and individuals, from Amyraldianism to Wobbermin, Alacoque to Zwingli

* A History of the First Christians: $150.00: an extensive history of the development of Christianity from its origin within Judaism to its later relationship with the Roman empire

* In Praise of Christian Origins: Stephen and the Hellenists in Lukan Apologetic Historiography: $75.00: a dense work of 440 pages focusing on Acts 6:1-8:3, examining issues in the early ecclesia and assessing Luke’s narrative from the point of view of an apologetic or preaching tool, rather than a strict historiography

* Neither Jew Nor Greek: Constructing Early Christianity: $90.00: a scholarly study of early Christian community, covering issues such as its departure from Judaism and the role of women; very useful, and very balanced despite the fact that the author is highly liberal

* Primitive Christianity: A Survey of Recent Studies and Some New Proposals: $60.00: essential reading on the earliest Christian communities, this slender but densely packed volume covers 25 years of scholarship up to 2003, presenting the latest academic views and provding some very balanced commentary, especially on the role of women

* The Elders: Seniority within Earliest Christianity: $90: published in 2004, this is one of the standard studies on the subject, and contains specific treatment of the role of women in early church leadership

* The First Advance: $17.95: a brief introduction to the first 500 years of Christianity, useful for a non-technical overview

* The Lord’s Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window Into Early Christianity: using the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ as an exegetical text, this 2004 work shows how Christians in different parts of the empire interpreted Biblical text differently

* The Making of the Modern Church: $19.95: history of the 20th century church from its influential 19th century origins, including useful historical details of the changing role of women

* The Origins of Christendom in the West: $90.00: covers the first four centuries of Christianity, and its interaction with the empire and its culture

* Creation through Wisdom: Theology and the New Biology: $72.00: an examination of the relationship of science and the Bible, though from a ‘wisdom Christology’ perspective and with a feminist slant; probably best read with a critical eye

* God’s Book of Works: The Nature and Theology of Nature: $72.00: another work focusing on the relationship between Christianity and science; the author’s position is ‘Where science and faith meet, they must be congruent; if they are not, both the science and the religion ought to be examined. Religion cannot drive the content of science, nor can science properly determine the nature of religion’

* Kregel Apologetics Collection (7 Vols.): $49.95: nothing to do with the exercises (this is ‘Kregel’, not ‘Kegel’), there are seven volumes of apologetic material here, and the fact that the usual price is $49.95 shows you that it isn’t of cutting edge quality, but it covers a range of topical issues, and is probably a good starting point for most people

* The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding: $72.00: apparently ‘an exploration of human understanding, from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, biology and theology’, written by six contributors who are ‘among the most internationally eminent in their fields’; an epistemological work, and although the blurb says ‘Though scholarly, the writing is non-technical’, it’s clearly not for everyone

* Ugaritic Library (12 Vols.): $499.95: a huge collection scholarly works on Ugarit, including tools for studying Ugarit along with transcriptions, transliterations, translations, and scholarly commentary on their significance to our understanding of Hebrew and the Bible

* Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew: $24.95: incredibly important to anyone who wants to actually understand the language, instead of guessing wildly; I’m not actually remotely interested in learning Hebrew, but this work is very useful for testing and debunking inaccurate claims by those who fondly imagine they have done so

* Liddell and Scott Greek–English Lexicon: $135.00: solid gold, the classic Greek lexicon, the 9th edition with the 1996 supplement
* Understanding BHS: $11.95: a very cheap and small guide to understanding the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), the critical Hebrew text on which virtually all standard modern Old Testament translations are based; only really useful for those who regularly use a Hebrew interlinear, or the BHS text itself, it’s not Metzger for BHS 

* Women in the Bible: $18.95: standard egalitarian commentary, though a little softer than most, not a scholarly work, not intellectually robust (there are much better egalitarian commentaries on the subject), but cited frequently nonetheless; first published in 1984 this is an unrevised 2006 reprint 

* Ethical Dilemmas in Church Leadership: $11.99: slim volume intended to help church leaders support congregational members with issues such as AIDS, teen pregnancies, various forms of abuse, sexual identity confusion, and so on

* Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood: $15.99: I’ll simply quote from the blurb, ‘Wayne Grudem assembled a team of distinguished writers to show how egalitarian views destroy God’s ideal for your relationships, marriage, and life purposes’; read at your own risk (Grudem is very good when it comes to lexical, historical, and textual analysis, but his personal agenda is very conservative and he has an odd political bent as well, so take that into account)

* Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood: $15.99: Great Grudem! Say no more, you know what you’ll find here

* Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology and Counseling, 2nd ed.: $59.99: psychology and counselling from a Christian perspective, could be useful to someone; published in 1999 but probably still current for the field, the contributors are professional psychologists so it shouldn’t have anything weird in it

Other notables, which are exactly what they say on the lid:

* Josephus in Greek
* Apostolic Fathers Reverse Interlinear
* Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century BC
* Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology
* Apocryphal New Testament
* Brenton Septuagint
* New Testament Apocrypha
* Septuagint Variants with Logos Morphology Reverse Interlinear
* Swete Septuagint
* Idioms of the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed. 

Yes, Portfolio is more than double the price of Scholar’s Library Gold. However, it has so much additional scholarly content that it works out to be far more economical. When you purchase Portfolio, you are purchasing additional works to a value which far exceeds the price difference between the two packages.

There’s the 12 volume Hermeneutics Collection, $649 if purchased separately,and the 10 volume Gnostic and Apocryphal Studies Collection, another $649 if purchased separately. There’s the 10 volume Church Origins collection, another $179, the entire UBS Handbook series worth $800, TDNT worth $200, HALOT worth $159, LSJ worth $135, JPS Tanakh Commentary Collection worth $379, and the New International Greek Testament Commentary worth $533. That’s $3,683 worth of scholarly material alone. An upgrade from Gold is a ridiculously small sum of money to pay for what you get.