Logos Bible Software
Products>Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts

Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts



This authoritative volume brings together a team of world-class scholars to cover the full range of Old Testament backgrounds studies in a concise, up-to-date, and comprehensive manner. With expertise in various subdisciplines of Old Testament backgrounds, the authors illuminate the cultural, social, and historical contexts of the world behind the Old Testament. They introduce readers to a wide range of background materials, covering history, geography, archaeology, and ancient Near Eastern textual and iconographic studies.

Meant to be used alongside traditional literature-based canonical surveys, this one-stop introduction to Old Testament backgrounds fills a gap in typical introduction to the Bible courses. It contains over 100 illustrations, including photographs, line drawings, maps, charts, and tables, which will facilitate its use in the classroom.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Provides insight into the historical, cultural, and social contexts of the Old Testament world
  • Introduces readers to background and comparative studies
  • Designed primarily for classroom use, alongside traditional surveys


Part One: Elements of the Drama

  • I. The Stage: Historical Geography
  • II. The Sets and Props: Archaeology
  • III. The Scripts: Ancient Near Eastern Literature
  • IV. The Frames: Ancient Near Eastern Iconography

Part Two: Acts and Scenes of the Drama

  • V. Acts: Integrated Approaches to Broad Historical Contexts
  • VI. Scenes: Integrated Approaches to Event-Based Historical Contexts

Part Three: Themes of the Drama

  • VII. God: Integrated Approaches to Themes in Israelite Religion
  • VIII. Family: Integrated Approaches to Themes in Family Networks
  • IX. Sustenance: Integrated Approaches to Themes in Economic Contexts
  • X. Governance: Integrated Approaches to Themes in Social Organization


  • Peter Altmann
  • Elizabeth Arnold
  • Richard E. Averbeck
  • David W. Baker
  • William D. Barker
  • Daniel Bodi
  • Oded Borowski
  • Annie F. Caubet
  • Mark W. Chavalas
  • Margaret E. Cohen
  • Izak Cornelius
  • Andrew R. Davis
  • David C. Deuel
  • David A. Falk
  • Avraham Faust
  • Nili S. Fox
  • Janling Fu
  • Daniel Fuks
  • Deirdre N. Fulton
  • Constance E. Gane
  • Roy E. Gane
  • Seymour Gitin
  • Judith M. Hadley
  • Christopher B. Hays
  • Richard S. Hess
  • Sara L. Hoffman
  • Mark D. Janzen
  • Kyle H. Keimer
  • Gerald A. Klingbeil
  • Jens Bruun Kofoed
  • Yigal Levin
  • Thomas E. Levy
  • Brady Liss
  • Gloria London
  • Matthew J. Lynch
  • Aren M. Maeir
  • Nimrod Marom
  • Victor H. Matthews
  • Amihai Mazar
  • Carol Meyers
  • Adam E. Miglio
  • Alice Mouton
  • Gregory D. Mumford
  • Steven M. Ortiz
  • Paul Overland
  • Thomas D. Petter
  • Pekka Pitkänen
  • Carl G. Rasmussen
  • Kenneth A. Ristau
  • Ryan N. Roberts
  • Jordan Ryan
  • D. Brent Sandy
  • Mark Schwartz
  • Cynthia Shafer-Elliott
  • Nili Shupak
  • Ryan E. Stokes
  • Brent A. Strawn
  • Juan Manuel Tebes
  • Joe Uziel
  • Joshua T. Walton
  • Eric L. Welch
  • Joel Willitts
  • Laura Wright
  • Paul H. Wright
  • K. Lawson Younger Jr.

Praise for the Print Edition

As the editors of Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament remind us, the Old Testament, while written for us, was not written to us. We must understand the world in which the Old Testament was written to interpret it for our world today. For this reason, I highly recommend this book as a reference or textbook for all serious readers of the Old Testament. Each chapter provides background to and comparative analysis of the biblical text and is written by foremost experts in the field.

—Tremper Longman III, Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

No sound interpretation of the Old Testament can afford to ignore the world from which the text came. Physical, historical, archaeological, cultural, social, and religious features all need to be taken into account. Available information, however, is usually scattered through many publications and difficult for students to access. In this volume the editors have done sterling work in gathering a galaxy of leading specialists to collect and present all such relevant information in modest-length chapters that present the data in an authoritative but eminently readable manner. Coursework and personal study stand to be hugely enriched by this valuable compendium.

—H. G. M. Williamson, Regius Professor Emeritus of Hebrew, University of Oxford

The publishers and editors are to be commended for making this compendium of up-to-date essays available to students of the Old Testament. The sixty-six essays cover the spectrum of background topics, including geography, archaeology, literature, history, and culture. It is an ideal text for courses in Old Testament backgrounds and an excellent supplement for survey courses. Specialists needing a summary of the latest thinking regarding background issues will also find it a handy tool.

—Robert B. Chisholm Jr., chair and senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

A unique opportunity to learn from leading scholars of the world in which the Old Testament events took place and the Old Testament texts were written. Accessible, accurate, and engaging, Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament will serve as a key resource for interpreting biblical texts.

—Mark J. Boda, professor of Old Testament, McMaster Divinity College

Product Details

  • Title: Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts
  • Editors: Jonathan S. Greer, John W. Hilber, and John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Pages: 640
  • Resource Type: Reference
  • Topic: Bible Backgrounds

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.

About the Editors

Jonathan S. Greer (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) is associate professor of Old Testament and director of the Hesse Memorial Archaeological Laboratory at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has published widely in the areas of biblical backgrounds and Old Testament archaeology.

John W. Hilber (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of two books on backgrounds to the Psalms as well as numerous articles in comparative studies.

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He speaks extensively on reading the Old Testament in its ancient context and is the author or editor of numerous books, including The Lost World of Genesis One, The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, Old Testament Theology for Christians, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


2 ratings

Sign in with your Faithlife account

  1. Cody Henley

    Cody Henley


  2. MattGZat



    Sixty-six articles in about 525 pages and about 100 pages of indexes and illustrations. I prefer less articles with in-depth coverage.

  3. Giovanni Otero
    I am surprised to not see Michael Heiser's name on the list of contributors.