The Vocation of Letter Writing: Christopher Seitz’s Commentary on Colossians

colossiansIn his commentary on Colossians, Christopher Seitz, an Old Testament scholar by trade, makes use of a wide array of ancient and modern Christian interpreters to give an irenic, theologically rich, and textually sensitive reading of Paul’s letter. Seitz’s book is part of the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series, which takes as its premise the idea that “the Nicene tradition, in all its diversity and controversy, provides the proper basis for the interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture” and that “dogma clarifies rather than obscures” (p.11).

One of the more unique facets of Seitz’s commentary is his canonical approach. He seeks to interpret Colossians in light of both the larger Pauline corpus of which it is a part, as well as the rest of the Old and New Testaments. He acknowledges from the outset that “canonical readings” have come under fire in the past for being “either a genre mistake or a piety masking illegitimate (‘unhistorical’ in our present parlance) interpretation” (p.50). Consequently, Seitz takes time to respond to these criticisms by giving a more in-depth description of what he thinks the term entails: Continue reading