When I (John Dyer) was in seminary, one of the most common questions I heard was
What's the best commentary on Mark (or Genesis or 1 John...)?
Some professors give student their own lists and others recommended the published lists like those created by D. A. Carson, Tremper Longman, III, and others. These are all incredibly valuable, but as a web developer, I thougth it would be interesting to create an aggregate score of all the ratings in one place.
BestCommentaries.com collects these reviews and ratings along with those of site users with the goal of enabling Bible students at all levels to make good, informed decisions about which commentaries they should purchase. It also provides a constantly updated biblography of commentaries on each book of the Bible and other subjects.
A numerical rating can never fully capture the value of a work. It is only included here as a guide to help students of the Scriptures know where to start.
The scoring algorithm is always undergoing development and adjustment, but here are the current criteria:
- Average rating - ratings from users and journals are the starting point.
- Total number of reviews - the more reviews a book receives and the more reviews submitted by a reviewer, the weight of those reviews will increase.
- Internal modifier - for some reviewers, a behind-the-scenes modifier may be added that will give their reviews more or less weight. The reason for this is to be able to give more weight to credible academic sources that may not have many reviews.
- Libraries - libraries are curated lists of books and being included in a library increases a book's overall rating
Right now the algorithm looks something like this:
score = (average rating) + (# of times in a library / 10) + (# of overall reviews / 10).
The highest rated commentary in the entire database is currently . This allows a book with a slightly lower star rating (4.8 with 10 reviews and 5 libraries) to rank above one with a higher star rating (4.9 with 2 reviews and 1 library). The Gospel According to John. PNTC. Eerdmans, 1990.