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The Old Testament: A Historical, Theological, and Critical Introduction

ISBN: 9781493409761



A trusted scholar of the Old Testament and the ancient Near East offers a substantial introduction to the Old Testament that is accessibly written and informed by the latest biblical scholarship. Richard Hess summarizes the contents of the Old Testament, introduces the academic study of the discipline, and helps readers understand the complex world of critical and interpretive issues, addressing major concerns in the critical interpretation of each Old Testament book and key texts.

This volume provides a fulsome treatment for students preparing for ministry and assumes no prior knowledge of the Old Testament. Readers will learn how each book of the Old Testament was understood by its first readers, how it advances the larger message of the whole Bible, and what its message contributes to Christian belief and the Christian community.

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Key Features

  • Provides an extensive look at comparative, critical, and confessional issues in the Old Testament
  • Examines each book in context of broader biblical and historical context
  • Includes maps, photos, and recommendations for further study


  • Pentateuch
  • Historical Books
  • Poetic Books
  • Prophetic Books

Praise for the Print Edition

A groundbreaking historical, theological, and critical introduction to the Old Testament that goes far beyond other introductions in terms of breadth, depth, and scope. Hess’s engagement with the history of interpretation, his sensitivity to the theological and literary aspects of texts, and his willingness to engage gender, globalization, and postmodern ideologies, make this a must-have for scholars and students. I look forward to using this outstanding book in the classroom.

—Marion Taylor, professor of Old Testament, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

In this book Hess offers readers a current, critical, and hermeneutically instructive introduction to the Old Testament. Targeted at the graduate student, this book maps out the content of each book of the Old Testament via its canonical shape, theological import, and the critical scholarship brought to bear throughout the centuries. Particularly noteworthy are Hess’s masterful introduction of the discipline of text criticism, his inclusion of premodern criticism, and his investment in issues of gender, globalization, and postmodern epistemology. This weighty volume provides student and professor alike a treasure trove of data regarding what the Old Testament is, what it contains, and why its study is essential to the Christian community.

—Sandra Richter, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

As any seminary instructor will tell you, finding a good introductory textbook on the Old Testament is no easy task. Some are too critical while others are too general. Some are too conservative while others are too progressive. Some are too comparative while others are too insular. Some are too historical while others are too theologically oriented, often with little or no regard for the literary-historical context of the text itself. Rick Hess, however, has truly found a ‘golden mean’ with this new introduction. Students, teachers, pastors, and anyone else interested in the Word of God will love it.

—Michael S. Moore, faculty associate in Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

An accessible yet informed introduction to the Old Testament. Hess orients readers to a breadth of approaches from ancient to modern without losing sight of the content of Scripture and its theological message for today.

—Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College; professor, Faculty of Theology, McMaster University

  • Title: The Old Testament: A Historical, Theological, and Critical Introduction
  • Author: Richard S. Hess
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2016
  • Logos Release Date: 2018
  • Pages: 815
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. O.T. › Introductions; Bible. O.T. › Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • ISBNs: 9781493409761, 9780801037146
  • Resource Type: text.monograph.biblical-theology
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-01-18T21:25:04Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Dr. Richard Hess is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Denver Seminary. He is the editor of the Denver Journal, Denver Seminary’s online theological review, and the Bulletin for Biblical Research. He is also the founder and editor of the Bulletin’s Supplement Series and is a member of a dozen scholarly societies. Dr. Hess has done postdoctoral research at universities in Chicago, Jerusalem, Cambridge, Sheffield, and Münster, and has held National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, and Tyndale House (Cambridge) postdoctoral fellowships and grants. Dr. Hess has worked on the New International Version, the New American Bible, the Holman Standard Christian Bible, the English Standard Version, and OurNewBible translations of the Old Testament. Dr. Hess has authored eight books and edited 13 others. In addition to several hundred book reviews and dictionary articles, Dr. Hess has published more than 100 scholarly articles in journals such as Biblica, Biblical Archaeologist, Bulletin for Biblical Research, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, and Themelios.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Felmar Roel R. Singco
    Goodly book on the Hebrew Bible, but I have one mis giving: the author omits one important genre in the Holy Bible, and mentions only four (4) genres: the Pentateuch (or the Torah), the Historical Books, the Poetic Books, and the Prophetic Books. He omits one important genre: the Wisdom (or Didactic or Sapiential) Books, which genre is a great tradition in the Hebrew Bible.