The conventions of contemporary history writing are quite different from those of ancient Israelite writers, making biblical history often difficult to grasp. Patricia Dutcher-Walls offers basic orientation to the genre and conventions of the Old Testament historical books, helping students become careful and attentive readers. With many ancient and contemporary examples, this book introduces students to some of the phenomena they will encounter in the historical books, and it provides strategies for understanding their significance. The goal is to make further reading and study of Scripture more informed and sensitive. Sidebars, discussion questions, and further reading suggestions are also included.
Somebody once famously wrote, 'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.' For those coming to serious study of the Bible for the first time, there cannot be any more important lesson than to understand how to read the Bible's ancient historical records faithfully on their own terms. They are not always the same as ours. You will not find a better or more sympathetic introductory book than this one to point you in the right direction.
—H. G. M. Williamson, University of Oxford
This student's guide is a model of clarity, economy, and explanatory skill. Writing in a straightforward and interesting style and spicing up her discussion with specific ancient and modern examples, Patricia Dutcher-Walls lays out a sensible reading plan for any who wish to take the Bible seriously in all its aspects: literary, historical, and theological. Her numerous examples from ancient Near Eastern sources locate the Bible in its world, and her frequent modern illustrations help readers connect. Useful sidebars and stimulating study questions enhance the pedagogical attractiveness of the volume. Both author and publisher are to be congratulated on a fine book that should gain a wide readership.
—V. Philips Long, professor of Old Testament, Regent College, Vancouver
"Reading the Historical Books provides an excellent supplementary text on methodology for anyone teaching the Former Prophets. Dutcher-Walls builds on the reading experience of students to explore such critical topics as social context, narrative technique, and theology that are part of the fabric of ancient history writing. Summary questions for reflection guide students through the reading process. Only after students have become familiar with the texts through firsthand reading does the volume conclude with a broad discussion of ancient historiography and how it has shaped the writing of Israel's history in the Former Prophets."
—Tom Dozeman, professor of Old Testament, United Theological Seminary
Finally, an accessible work that reunites the literary and historical aspects of the Old Testament historical books and trains contemporary readers to hear the text in responsible ways that can shape the course of life today.
—Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College and professor, Faculty of Theology, McMaster University
In the Logos edition, these volumes are 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.
Patricia Dutcher-Walls (ThD, Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California) was assistant then associate professor of Hebrew Scripture/Old Testament at Knox College from 1995 to 2004, and has taught courses at both the masters and doctoral level. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church in Canada and is the author of several journal articles as well as Jezebel: Portraits of a Queen, The Commandments: For a Blessed Life, and Narrative Art, Political Rhetoric: The Case of Athaliah and Joash.