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Focusing Biblical Studies: The Crucial Nature of the Persian and Hellenistic Periods: Essays in Honor of Douglas A. Knight
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Focusing Biblical Studies: The Crucial Nature of the Persian and Hellenistic Periods: Essays in Honor of Douglas A. Knight

by ,

T&T Clark 2012

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


This volume makes a positive intervention into maximalist/minimalist debates about Israelite historiography by pointing to the events that happened during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. During this historical epoch, traditions about Israel and Judah’s founding became fixed as markers of ethnic identity, and much of the canonical Hebrew Bible came into its present form. Concentrating on these events, a clearer historical picture emerges.

The entire volume is set within the context of Doug Knight’s contributions, which have encouraged a rigorous social-scientific and tradition-historical approach to the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel in general. Many scholars have pursued how the social scientific method—first used to analyze early monarchic Israel—can shape the understanding of these later historical periods. Knight’s methods, teachings, writings, and scholarly interventions have pointed the contributors of this volume to fresh considerations of the Persian and Hellenistic periods. The concluding essay will examine the future directions in which such sociological and historical investigation can go forward.

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Key Features

  • Clear and balanced window into the worlds inhabited by biblical characters
  • Leading scholarship from a diverse field of disciplines
  • Thorough examinations of key themes in Near Eastern history


  • Part I: History and Contexts
    • “Another Look at the Tenth Commandment” by Jack M. Sasson
    • “The Origins of Judah” by Philip R. Davies
    • “Shechem Revisited: the Formation of Biblical Collective Memory” by Niels Peter Lemche
    • “Persian Period Jerusalem and Yehud Rejoinders” by Israel Finkelstein
    • “Jackals and Ostriches Honoring God: The Zoological Gaze in the Isaiah Scroll” by Ken Stone
  • Part II: Texts and History
    • “Betraying the Text: Creation Narratives in Their and our Context” by Annalisa Azzoni
    • “Judges as a Parody of Leadership in the Persian Period” by Kristin A. Swanson
    • “The Persian Period and the Shaping of Prophetic Literature” by Robert R. Wilson
    • “‘Digging in the Claws’: Daniel 4 and the Predatory Nature of Empire” by Deborah Appler
    • “Ruth and Esther as Models for the Formation of God’S People: Engaging Liberationist Critiques” by Cheryl B. Anderson
    • “Reading Persian Dominion in Nehemiah: Multivalent Language, Co-Option, Resistance, and Cultural Survival” by Herbert R. Marbury
    • “The Journey from Voluntary to Obligatory Silence (Reflections on Psalm 39 and Qoheleth)” by James L. Crenshaw
    • “How Do Extrabiblical Sociopolitical Data Illuminate Obscure Biblical Texts? The Case of Ecclesiastes 5:8–9 (Heb. 5:7–8)” by Norman Gottwald
    • “The Chronicler Buries Saul” by Jennifer L. Koosed
    • “The Conservatism of Pseudo-Solomon” by David Penchansky
    • “Was the Judaism of the Dead Sea Scrolls a Mystery Religion?” by Peter J. Haas
    • “Conclusion: The Future Focus of Biblical Studies” by Jon L. Berquist

Product Details

About the Editors

Jon L. Berquist is senior academic editor at Westminster Jon Knox Press.

Alice Hunt is president of Chicago Theological Seminary.