The second in a pair of lengthy works of biblical commentary, this volume may be less even than its counterpart, but it’s no less elaborate.
The second part of Clemmer’s series picks up where the first left off: Jesus is preaching on the banks of the river Jordan and he and his disciples are nearly ready for a triumphant march into Jerusalem that will also mark the beginning of the end of Jesus’ life. Mixing research and personal reflection in a heavily footnoted narrative, Clemmer writes of Jesus’ inexorable journey to the cross that brings the reader from Jordan to Golgotha and beyond. Following an account of the resurrection—and a thorough interpretation of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances—the author launches into the final movement of his magnum opus, a kind of commentary on the commentary that includes mail transcripts, diary entries and nearly 80 pages of endnotes. After having pushed through the second volume, the reader will come to appreciate just how gargantuan a project the volumes are. In total, the combined work runs over 1,300 pages and will likely scare away the faint of heart. But for the devoted student of scripture, both volumes are a wonderland of material; one chapter—on Good Friday and the crucifixion—features 576 footnotes. The omnivorous scholar will find no end of text to explore and cross-references to track down. Of course, this strength is likely a weakness, too, as the sheer weight—and bibliographical complexity—of the work may not appeal to casual Bible readers. And the project begins to buckle under its own heaviness as it winds to a close; the final chapters lack the organizational clarity of the first, and we begin to lose the thread of Clemmer’s interpretation as he leaves the Bible behind. But these minor problems do not significantly mar the overall quality of this tremendously ambitious work.
A huge, heady companion to the story of Jesus’ life.