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The Old Testament Story: An Introduction
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The Old Testament Story: An Introduction


Fortress Press 2004

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The Old Testament Story offers an introductory view of the Old Testament, perfect for beginning scholarship or for gaining a comprehensive view of themes and ideas within the Old Testament without consulting an extensive commentary resource.

The Old Testament Story: An Introduction is a solid and exciting guide for lower division courses in religious or public universities, and for adult learners anywhere. It is not an exhaustive commentary, but samples the unforgettable and timeless traditions of the Bible. It translates biblical scholarship for anyone who wants to know what the Bible meant then, and what it means now. What kings were ruling? What wars were raging? What did prophets and midwives do in ancient Israel? Why did Hebrews tell creation stories like Adam and Eve and parables like Jonah? What dramatic roles do heroes like Samson, widows like Ruth, prophets like Elijah, and teachers like the Wise Woman in Proverbs play in tradition? Where is the voice of the women in the male world of the Bible?

The Old Testament Story: An Introduction engages the Bible, not as a textbook in the theology of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam—or even in the American way of life—but as an exquisite expression of the questions with which, eventually, every human being must struggle.

Key Features

  • Features maps, illustrations, and figures
  • Includes works cited

Praise for the Print Edition

In this wonderfully crafted book, Don Benjamin addresses important questions, illuminates the role that faith and culture played in the shaping of the biblical text and tradition, and presents familiar material in a fresh and engaging way. Creatively drawing out the richness of many literary strands embedded in the Old Testament as story, Benjamin teases out the artistry of an ancient document while imaginatively capturing, with accuracy, its historical and social dimensions. The Old Testament Story: An Introduction is a gem among many texts of its kind.

—Carol J. Dempsey, University of Portland

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the oral traditions of the Ancient Near East, master storyteller Don Benjamin provides an entrancing and fresh perspective on the world of the Bible. Benjamin's forte lies in his ability to weave together examples from ancient cultures, world literature, modern politics, and even the commonplace in daily life into a tapestry that illuminates the biblical texts for modern readers. A bold new study from a scholar whose credentials in social-scientific criticism are impeccable, this book is a very valuable addition to the library of any student of the Bible.

—Tricia Hoyt, Kino Institute, Phoenix, Arizona

Congratulations to Don Benjamin on this comprehensive new introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures, grounded in the author's many years of research into the Bible's ancient social world and Near Eastern background! He courageously fills his textbook with provocative readings of the texts, which are sure to enthrall readers and send them rushing back to the Bible full of brand new questions. The Old Testament Story is a sure cure for complacency about traditional understandings of what the Hebrew Bible says.

—Stephen L. Cook, Virginia Theological Seminary

Teachers struggling to teach the strange world of the Bible to postmodern students will welcome this textbook for three reasons. First, it's easy to read. Unlike other textbooks, undergraduates will find it difficult to get lost or even sidetracked here. Second, it's wonderfully written—creative, but not idiosyncratic; eloquent, but not fanciful; comprehensive, but never tedious. Third, this book is a cut above other Old Testament introductions because Benjamin genuinely understands and respects the faith traditions of all his students: Muslims, Christians, Jews, and those who profess none of the above. To a world in need of sane interreligious dialogue, The Old Testament Story is an answer to prayer.

—Michael S. Moore, Fuller Theological Seminary Southwest

Benjamin's willingness to employ several critical techniques in one unified approach brings new insights with every chapter. His insights into the Old Testament breathe new life into the ancient text, and free it up to breathe new life into those of us who study and love it.

—Clifton A. Mann, Rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Amarillo, Texas

Product Details

  • Title: The Old Testament Story: An Introduction
  • Author: Don C. Benjamin
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 496

About Don C. Benjamin

Don C. Benjamin is Professor of Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. He holds a PhD in Religion from the Claremont Graduate University, an MA in Semitic Languages from the Catholic University of America, and a BA from St. Bonaventure University. He is the author or co-author of Deuteronomy and City Life, Old Testament Parallels, Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, and Social World of Ancient Israel 1250-587 B.C.E. He is also an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and the American Academy of Religion.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition