Aside from the occasional women’s Torah commentary, Jews mostly just have commentaries with no special emphasis or purpose other than to commentate.
But I was in a bookstore today and was struck by the incredible proliferation of weird Christian bible commentaries, or study bibles, as most were labeled. I wrote down some of my favorites:
- The Urban Devotional Bible
- James Earl Jones Reads the Bible (audio book, appropriately reading from the King James Version)
- The Bible in Varsity Colors (I’m in Austin, TX, so I assume the bright orange of the cover was intended to be burnt orange, though it clearly was not )
- God’s Game Plan: The Athlete’s Bible
- AXIS: A Study Bible for Teens
- The Teen Study Bible (is AXIS the evil version of this one?)
- The Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament Dramatic Audio Bible (this one was read by an “all-star cast” including the likes of Sean Astin, the black kid from High School Musical and an old American Idol winner)
- The Rhyming Bible
- The Adventure Bible
- The Maxwell Leadership Bible (is this like the hagadah?)
- God’s Word for Students with Stylish Prism Cover
On the one hand, I found most of these rather laughable. On the other hand, I found myself wondering seriously if we Jews are missing out on something here. Is the fact that we don’t have all of these specialized biblical commentaries just a function of our relative market share?