Products>The Forgotten Books of the Bible: Recovering the Five Scrolls for Today

The Forgotten Books of the Bible: Recovering the Five Scrolls for Today

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You’re probably missing out on some of the most interesting books of the Bible.

In the Jewish tradition, the five books known as the Five Scrolls perform a central liturgical function as the texts associated with each of the major holidays. The Song of Songs is read during Passover, Ruth during Shavuot, Lamentations on Tisha B’av, Ecclesiastes during Sukkot, and Esther during the celebration of Purim. Together with the five books of the Torah, these texts orient Jewish life and provide the language of the faith.

In the Christian tradition, by contrast, these books have largely been forgotten. Many churchgoers can’t even find them in their pew Bibles. They are rarely preached, come up only occasionally in the lectionary, and are not the subject of Bible studies. Thus, their influence on the lives and theology of many Christians is entirely negligible. But they deserve much more attention. With scholarly wisdom and a quick wit, Williamson insists that these books speak urgently to the pressing issues of the contemporary world. Addressing themes of human sexuality, grief, immigration, suffering and protest, ethnic nationalism, and existential dread, he skillfully guides readers as they rediscover the relevance of the Five Scrolls for today.

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.

Key Features

  • Focuses on the often overlooked books of the Five Scrolls
  • Examines the theme of marginalized voices in Scripture and culture
  • Applies specific messages from each book to current culture


  • Introduction
  • The Song of Songs
  • Ruth
  • Lamentations
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Esther
  • A Closing Word

Praise for the Print Edition

Reading the five scrolls in the company of human suffering, doubt, and protest, Williamson shows why the ancient writings continue to console, to question, and to cry; their words, and his, deserve to be heard.

—Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt University

This book is at the same time a summons, an invitation, and an aid to remembering what we have forgotten about the biblical text. Williamson's work teems with compelling contemporaneity!

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

In Forgotten Books of the Bible, Robert Williamson Jr. calls out to those who have been displaced into the shadowy margins of our narratives and makes their voices come alive. While our commentaries often ignore, wash out, or flatten texts and characters, Williamson listens to their perspectives, recognizes their color, and introduces their three-dimensional personalities.

—Carol Howard Merritt, author of Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church

Product Details

  • Title: The Forgotten Books of the Bible: Recovering the Five Scrolls for Today
  • Author: Robert Williamson Jr.
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Pages: 179
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Biblical Studies

About Robert Williamson Jr.

Robert Williamson Jr. is associate professor of religious studies at Hendrix College and founding pastor of Mercy Community Church of Little Rock. His work appears in The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Dead Sea Discoveries, and Teaching Theology and Religion and online at ON Scripture, HuffPost, Sojourners, and Political Theology Today. He edited Imagination, Ideology, and Inspiration: Echoes of Brueggemann in a New Generation.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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Fully funded - in production