-from "Preface and Acknowledgments" in Raymond E. Brown's two volume The Death of the Messiah, from the Anchor Bible Reference Library (Doubleday 1994). (The link is to the website for an online bookstore known as PrintAsia, specifically to PrintAsia's page on this work. That page has the first three paragraphs of the "Preface and Acknowledgments" and the table of contents. In that short excerpt, Brown's marvelous prose is on display.)
Amazon sells this work in paperback for $26.25 per volume, $52.50. There is a hardback, boxed set edition of the two volumes, selling new for much more. I was able to get the boxed set, in very good condition for $29.88, plus shipping, through Half.com. The internet makes such bargains in books available! The main temptation to "retirement" is simply to quit and spend the rest of my days reading. With such accessibility to good books and a few more authors like Brown and Stott, the practice may be history.
Brown's, The Death of the Messiah, is published as part of the "Anchor Bible Reference Library." The General Editor of this attractive series, in 1994 David Noel Freedman, describes the library as follows:
THE ANCHOR BIBLE REFERENCE LIBRARY Is designed to be a third major component of the Anchor Bible group, which includes the Anchor Bible commentaries on the books of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Apocrypha, and the Anchor Bible Dictionary. While the Anchor Bible commentaries and the Ánchor Bible Dictionary are structurally defined by their subject matter, the Anchor Bible Reference Library will serve as a supplement on the cutting edge of the most recent scholarship . The series is open-ended; its scope and reach are nothing less than the biblical world in its totality, and its methods and techniques the most up-to-date available or devisable. Separate volumes will deal with one or more of the following topics relating to the Bible: anthropology, archaeology, ecology, economy, geography, history, languages and literatures, philosophy, religion(s), theology.
As with the Anchor Bible commentaries and the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the philosophy underlying the Anchor Bible Reference Library finds expression in the following: the approach is scholarly, the perspective is balanced and fair-minded, the methods are scientific, and the goal is to inform and enlighten. Contributors are chosen on the basis of their scholarly skills and achievements, and they come from a variety of religious backgrounds and communities . The books in the Anchor Bible Reference Library are intended for the broadest possible readership, ranging from world-class scholars, whose qualifications match those of the authors, to general readers, who may not have special training or skill in studying the Bible but are as enthusiastic as any dedicated professional in expanding their knowledge of the Bible and its world.