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Baker Academic Old Testament Studies (10 vols.)
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Overview

The Baker Academic Old Testament Studies Collection contains 10 volumes of recent, in-depth Old Testament commentary and research. This collection explores Christianity’s roots, examining the character of God, the cultural and historical contexts in which Old Testament books were written, and the formation of the canon. Authors such as Andrew Sloane and Victor H. Matthews take on the Old Testament’s essential topics—ethics, for example, and the idea of narrative—rounding out the collection’s study of these essential and foundational texts.

The Logos Bible Software edition of the Baker Academic Old Testament Studies collection is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Jesus Christ. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Old Testament.

Please note that this collection is available as part of the Baker Academic Old Testament Bundle (29 vols.) and the Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle (86 vols.).

Key Features

  • Analysis of the Old Testament canon
  • Interpretation and exegesis of the Old Testament texts
  • Insight and application of Mosaic law

Individual Titles

Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis

  • Author: Craig C. Broyles
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 272

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Serious students of the Old Testament quickly realize that interpreting ancient Scripture is inherently difficult. Understanding the literature of the Old Testament poses unique challenges and requires methods very different from those used to interpret the New Testament. Interpreting the Old Testament is designed to provide students a useful methodology for interpreting Old Testament texts. The authors, all leading evangelical scholars, were chosen because of their particular expertise in the various aspects of the interpretive process; they offer insight and wisdom, helping you unlock the Word. Not simply a book of theory, this work provides practical help to students as they seek to understand and apply the Old Testament.

A fine book for those who are beginning their journey into the serious study of the Old Testament. . . . This book will no doubt serve as a standard reference tool and textbook for years to come.

—Richard E. Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This book is a splendid introduction to the exegesis of the Old Testament. It presents and critiques the range of scholarly tools that have been developed to bring out the sense of Scripture and also gives hand-on examples of how they may be used in specific passages. Both the explanations given by the contributors and their citation of further reading in each area open doors for the serious student of the Old Testament to the meaning of the sacred text.

Leslie Allen, Fuller Theological Seminary

Craig Broyles and his colleagues have written a fine book for those who are beginning their journey into the serious study of the Old Testament. The chapters are easy to read yet truly informative—even formative—for the reader. The basic questions are asked and receive clear, concise, and penetrating answers. This book will no doubt serve as a standard reference tool and textbook for years to come.

—Richard Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This volume presents a useful overview of several pertinent issues for today’s readers of the Old Testament. We should all be grateful to the editor and authors for bringing us up to date regarding recent trends in interpretive theory and the latest tools necessary for interpreting the text for our changing world.

Bill T. Arnold, Asbury Theological Seminary

This is a solid, dependable collection of essays on the various topics related to the contemporary practice of exegesis.

Canadian Evangelical Review

The book as a whole gives a strong impression that exegesis is an art of listening, being attentive to the voice of God that speaks through the Bible.

Calvin Theological Journal

This book has many strong points. . . . [It] will be useful and fruitful for the reader who is entering the world of OT interpretation for the first time.

Concordia Journal

Firmly grounded in theoretical issues but the orientation is thoroughly practical, setting out systematic approaches and providing worked examples and guides to further resources. . . . The book challenges those who read the Bible at face value to penetrate beneath the surface and mine its riches, and seeks to provide the tools and skills to do so.

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

Craig C. Broyles is a professor of religious studies at Trinity Western University, Canada. He is author of The Conflict of Faith and Experience: A Form-Critical and Theological Study of Selected Lament Psalms and co-editor of Writing and Reading the Scroll of Isaiah: Studies of an Interpretive Tradition.

The Old Testament: Text and Context

  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews and James C. Moyer
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 368

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This new edition of a classroom standard provides students with an accessible introduction to the literature, history, and social context of the Old Testament. Written by two seasoned Old Testament professors, the book pays attention to methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre and includes illustrations, sidebars, maps, and study questions.

The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently.

Review of Biblical Literature

With its focus on student learning, Matthews’s and Moyer’s revised and updated text is even more brilliant than their first edition. Artistic in its design and solid in its content and presentation, this work provides students with the necessary background to understand the Bible and its diverse cultures and rich heritage. With its engaging style and sharp attention to biblical methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre, as well as its clear explanations of important biblical terms and thoughtful study questions, this text is a gem for both students and teachers alike. I have used the first edition of this book for several years, and my students have enjoyed it tremendously. I look forward enthusiastically to sharing this second edition with them. It is a superb work, and I am grateful to Victor Matthews and James Moyer for providing teachers of the Bible with a text that answers the needs of today’s students.

—Carol J. Dempsey, associate professor of theology (biblical studies), University of Portland, Oregon

Here’s a useful book for those just beginning to approach the Old Testament for the first time at any depth. It is clearly based on classroom teaching and is attractively laid out with ‘boxes’ and ‘insets’ for special details, diagrams, and some pictures. Study questions at the end of each section would help a student on his/her own to grasp what has just been studied. . . . A helpful book that brings the text to us, and its context and questions of interpretation.

Anvil

Matthews is well-known for his work in biblical backgrounds. . . . Such expertise in backgrounds moves this book beyond a simple introduction of the content and themes of each OT/HB [Old Testament/Hebrew Bible] book to illuminating the worlds both within and behind the OT/HB books. . . . The authors have given significant revision to certain portions of the text, restructured the chapters, and reworked the study questions to facilitate class discussion and critical thinking. . . . The book is well organized and well written. It is easily accessible to the college-level student and written with such students in mind. . . . The authors make generous use of maps, charts, photographs, and sidebars to illuminate the information in the main discussions, and each section and chapter ends with study questions. . . . The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the OT/HB. It not only summarizes what is in the OT/HB but also provides insight into the world of the biblical characters and biblical writers by integrating relevant archaeological data, social-historical issues, and insights from critical scholarship. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently. . . . A very good introduction to and survey of the OT/HB.

Review of Biblical Literature

In the second edition the authors have done a significant revision. . . . However, the basic structure remains the same. . . . Important concepts are printed in bold and explained fully in a glossary at the end of the book. This is a fine undergraduate textbook that examines not only the literary and historical aspects of the biblical texts but also the social context of the people.

The Bible Today

This book is more a total reworking than a simple revision of the original text. . . . The authors believe they have achieved greater clarity, expansion, and greater attention to certain sections, especially on the prophets. My reading confirms that the authors have met if not surpassed their goals. Restructured chapters provide better uniformity in length, an aid to teaching. Reworking study questions permit better class discussion and critical thinking exercises. New sidebars help in translation and explanation of ancient texts. There are updated archaeological insights and an expanded glossary. . . . This book would be a helpful resource for all congregational and seminary libraries and an excellent text for students and teachers.

Church and Synagogue Libraries

Originally published in 1997 and now presented as a thoroughly revised second edition, the book by V. Matthews and James C. Moyer is a textbook for undergraduates on the OT. [It] combines the history of Israel (ably surveyed) with the introduction to the individual books that are dealt with in the canonical sequence. . . . The book includes helpful study questions.

International Review of Biblical Studies

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, Studying the Ancient Israelites, and the bestselling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

James C. Moyer is a professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, and the author of numerous articles.

Old Testament Turning Points: The Narratives That Shaped a Nation

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Adam and Eve, God’s covenant with Abraham, the deportation of Judah and their eventual return to Jerusalem—these are a few of the key Old Testament stories that serve as signposts for guiding readers through the Old Testament. According to Old Testament professor Victor Matthews, these stories are essential to the identity of Israel as God’s people.

Matthews identifies eight landmark stories that not only shaped Israelite identity but also continued to echo throughout the Old Testament as Israel grew into its role as the people of God. He examines the stories in detail, showing how they provide a foundation for later Old Testament stories and events. Helpful sidebars, a glossary, indexes, and a selected bibliography provide readers with tools for further exploration.

The author offers great insights in each chapter and does an exceptional job weaving together literary, sociological, and canonical perspectives as he explains each narrative. [The book] offers something for the seasoned scholar as well as the beginning student of OT studies. . . . Well worth the read.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Old Testament Turning Points draws the reader into selected pivotal moments in the life of ancient Israel. Matthews engagingly retells well-known narratives in a manner that allows the reader not only to hear these stories afresh but to recognize the echoes of these stories across the Old Testament canon. Rather than describe motifs, Matthews ably demonstrates themes through telling an appropriate story. Similarly, rather than inform the reader of the technical niceties of reading strategies and methods, Matthews demonstrates those strategies through his exposition.

Rick R. Marrs, Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University

The Hebrew Bible is a story of transformation and change. Its heroes are forced to follow God into an uncharted future in times of uncertainty and crisis. Thus the central stories in the Hebrew Bible are often about turning points in life: some are cautionary tales of failure, while others point a way forward into a future with God. Matthews guides the reader through a handful of the most powerful stories of transition found in the narratives of Genesis through 2 Kings. For the reader who joins the journey, it becomes clear that in their retelling, old stories have the power to provide new insights for contemporary travelers.

Thomas Dozeman, professor of Old Testament, United Theological Seminary

Matthews skillfully blends sociological, literary, and canonical perspectives into rich explorations of key biblical texts. Old Testament Turning Points focuses squarely on the biblical texts themselves and thereby offers an innovative and stimulating alternative to surveys of the Old Testament. Beginning and seasoned readers alike will find much to ponder in its pages.

—L. Daniel Hawk, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Ashland Theological Seminary

Readers of the Old Testament often find it difficult to keep the big picture in mind because of the myriad of details covered in the text. Victor Matthews has helpfully reminded us all of the big picture in his treatment of the major turning points in ancient Israel’s story. His attention to both literary structure and historical context in ancient Israel and in the broader ancient Near East is most enlightening. Those who make the effort to read this volume will be richly rewarded with a storehouse of information to help in understanding the Old Testament.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., W. Marshall and Lulie Craig Professor of Bible, Baylor University

Concerned to help contemporary readers hear the message of the Bible as it was originally heard, Victor Matthews has presented us with a splendid offering that goes a long way toward filling in many gaps that separate us from the biblical audience. His careful articulation of eight ‘turning points’ in the overall plot of the Old Testament, summarized and, more importantly, contextualized within the biblical canon as well as the ancient Near East, results in a very useful guide. Those seeking to gain an informed overview of the Old Testament story as originally heard should find this book quite helpful.

Mark A. Throntveit, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Matthews has written extensively on Old Testament history and on Israel’s setting in the ancient Near East. Consequently, the reader expects a thorough presentation of the historical events behind the biblical narrative and is not disappointed. More, the author provides occasional side-bar references to extra-biblical literature to show the historical and intellectual context of the people of the Old Testament. This presentation of history and culture may be this small volume’s greatest strength. . . . This volume offers something to the reader regardless of theological stance. Matthews is a careful historian who knows the ancient Near Eastern world and the modern scholarly world. There is much to be learned here. . . . The author’s twelve pages of ‘Works Cited’ is a good reading list for Old Testament history. Moreover, the author provides a brief, but helpful, glossary of terms. . . . A biblical index and subject index make the book more user-friendly, too.

Midwestern Journal of Theology

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, Studying the Ancient Israelites, and the bestselling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

Making Sense of the Old Testament: Three Crucial Questions

  • Author: Tremper Longman, III
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 160

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Though essential to the Christian faith, the Old Testament remains an enigma to many. Some view it as disjointed and difficult to understand, or as nothing more than a collection of archaic documents, irrelevant for Christians today. In clear and concise language, Tremper Longman addresses three questions to help resolve this problem:

  • What are the keys to understanding the Old Testament?
  • Is the God of the Old Testament also the God of the New Testament?
  • How is the Christian to apply the Old Testament to life?

Christians face a number of obstacles to their understanding of the Old Testament; differences in culture, worldviews, traditions, language, and geography impede understanding of the ancient texts. And throughout the history of the church, there has been much debate concerning the differences between how God related to humans in the Old Testament and in the New. Longman points out false stereotypes Christians may encounter, demonstrating that the presentation of God is consistent across both Testaments. His work provides practical principles for achieving a fuller understanding of what the Old Testament says, and looks at each section—law, history, poetry, wisdom, and prophecy—explaining the issues involved in application to today’s Christian life.

Longman has put us in his debt for addressing the most difficult topics involved in making sense of the Old Testament.

Asbury Theological Journal

Longman’s prose is readily accessible.

Publishers Weekly

Thought-provoking.

The Expository Times

Provides practical direction for those seeking to gain a more thorough understanding of the Old Testament. . . . This book can be used with success in a church setting. It conveys in a simple fashion important concepts for the study and use of the Old Testament. . . . Longman conveys the concepts in an accessible manner

Minister’s Packet

Longman has written a nice primer with an evangelical approach to the topic at hand . . . The book would be a great resource for pastors who want to teach these topics to their congregations in a systematic and effective fashion. Longman’s material provides good apologetics that may be used to counter those who errantly claim that Jesus is starkly different from God in the Old Testament.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., W. Marshall and Lulie Craig Professor of Bible, Baylor University

If the Old Testament (OT) seems more confusing than comforting to you, then perhaps you should pick up this readable book. . . . This book is excellent for anyone who wants to know why the OT is important for faith and life, or how Reformed Christians approach the OT. It is also a valuable refresher in sound principles of biblical interpretation, explaining why Paul said that all Old Testament Scripture is profitable!

New Horizons

Longman’s discussion deals with numerous issues which have prevented many people from seeing the relevance of the OT for Christian living today. He does this in a clear and easily understood way, even when treating highly complex and hotly debated issues of hermeneutical, theological, and philosophical import. This book will be an enormous help to anyone who wants to read the OT with greater discernment and competence.

Biblical Booklist

Tremper Longman III is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Before coming to Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for 18 years. He has authored or coauthored numerous books, including An Introduction to the Old Testament, How to Read Proverbs, and commentaries on Daniel, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and Song of Songs.

The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets: The Achievement of Association in Canon Formation

  • Author: Christopher R. Seitz
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 144

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Just below the surface of any Christian view of the Bible is the knotty issue of the biblical canon. How and when was it decided which books would make up the Bible? What makes a book canonical?

Respected Old Testament scholar Christopher Seitz has long been at the forefront of canon research. His particular interest has been the prophets—the interrelationships among the prophetic writings provide important evidence that any understanding of canon must incorporate. In this volume, Seitz delves more deeply into the prophetic corpus, showing how the Old Testament fits into the canon’s development. Drawing on the latest research on the biblical prophets, Seitz challenges current understandings of the formation of the Christian canon and reveals canonical connections woven into the fabric of the prophetic books. He argues that the Law and the prophets cohere and give shape to the subsequent Christian canon.

A meaningful contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding the development and arrangement of the Old Testament. Future explorations of these issues would do well to consult and engage Seitz’s provocative claims.

Expository Times

Seitz offers an alternative vision of the Old Testament: its structural logic, its internal relationships, its history of formation. The result is incisive, exhilarating, and quite constructively provocative. It will be read and discussed with much profit by theologians, biblical scholars, pastors, and seminarians.

—Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School

Seitz has made a major contribution to canonical studies. He argues that the common distinction between Scripture and canon is illusory because it fails to understand the fundamental theological force at work in the prophetic documents that relates them to each other and to the Torah. Seitz shows that the Law and the Prophets of Israel were indispensable to the New Testament not only for the purposes of background, context, and theology but also for the shaping of the New Testament canon itself.

—Stephen G. Dempster, Stuart E. Murray Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Atlantic Baptist University

The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets takes the discussion concerning Old Testament canon formation to another level. Seitz mounts an impressive array of arguments against standard conceptualities of Old Testament ‘canon development’ as he demonstrates that the early church never operated without a canon. With great scholarly care, insight, and breadth, Seitz argues that the material form of the Old Testament canon is a significant hermeneutical matter that demands special attention. This is a work that should shape the discussion within the discipline.

—Mark S. Gignilliat, assistant professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

[Seitz] is a prolific author particularly interested in OT studies with special attention to Hebrew prophecy, theological interpretation of Scripture, and canonical reading of the Book of the Twelve. . . . This book offers a good analysis of the canonical formation of the tripartite Hebrew Scriptures and their place in shaping the Christian canon of the Bible. . . . The current volume is a solid contribution to the growing field of canon studies. . . . Seitz’s research will provide an enduring resource for scholars engaged in research of the biblical canon.

—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

This short book advances a large thesis in the massive debate about canon formation . . . Though likely not the final word on the subject, this book still represents a meaningful contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding the development and arrangement of the Old Testament. Future explorations of these issues would do well to consult and engage Seitz’s provocative claims.

Expository Times

There are many positive aspects to Seitz’s book, including the following: (1) He focuses on the final form of the text, which is certainly an advantage over older literary critical views. (2) He uses the canonical approach to its best advantage, and, while I do not agree with all that this view contends, it asks some important questions concerning the development of the text. And (3) he (and others) have shown fairly convincingly that the prophets seem to have been aware of each other’s work. I also believe that Seitz is correct in his critique of what has become the traditional view of the development of the OT canon. . . . For the careful reader there is much profitable information that can be mined from [this book].

Bulletin for Biblical Research

Christopher R. Seitz is a professor of biblical interpretation at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews and Yale University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Figured Out, Prophecy and Hermeneutics, and commentaries on Isaiah 1–39 and 40–66.

Creation Untamed: The Bible, God, and Natural Disasters

  • Author: Terence E. Fretheim
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 176

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and hurricanes have plagued the earth throughout history. What is God’s role in natural disasters and the human suffering they cause? This is a vexing perennial question. When destruction occurs due to “forces of nature,” is the hand of God visiting judgment on a particularly sinful people, or has God simply left humanity to fend for itself?

The Bible often speaks of natural disasters, but its insights have been insufficiently explored. In Creation Untamed, leading Old Testament theologian Terence Fretheim offers fresh readings of familiar Old Testament passages—creation, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, the suffering of Job, and the biblical laments—to provide biblical resources for working through this topic. He presents an understanding of creation as good, but not perfect; examines the human experience of suffering; and explores the role of humans in the creative process. Fretheim shows the God of the Bible to be a compassionate, suffering, relational God, one we can turn to in prayer in times of disaster.

Rich in biblical insight, theological nuance, and pastoral wisdom, this accessibly written volume will benefit anyone thinking about the God of the Bible in relation to human suffering. It will appeal to students in courses on the Bible, theology, or pastoral care as well as to pastors and thoughtful lay readers.

Fretheim dives headfirst into the swirling storm of practical biblical and theological questions that we all ask about God, tragedy, and suffering. Highly recommended!

Dennis Olson, Princeton Theological Seminary

There is no issue in contemporary faith more vexing than how we are to understand God’s will and action in the event of natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes, wildfires and floods. Fortunately for readers, there is no more reliable guide for thinking biblically about these issues than Terence Fretheim. In this thoughtful and compact volume, Fretheim helps us not only to see clearly our own created vulnerability but also to encounter biblical testimony to a God who becomes vulnerable with us.

Bruce C. Birch, professor of Old Testament emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary

Who better than Fretheim to take up the hard contemporary question concerning the destructive forces on exhibit in creation! The author has spent his life thinking about these issues and reading these old texts forward toward our time and place. He begins with the conviction of the goodness of God’s creation, and from there he launches into the dangers of reality and takes us with him.

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Terence Fretheim explores the biblical materials to grapple with the devastation of natural disasters. He encourages readers to reconsider their traditional understanding of the relationship between God and suffering. I enthusiastically recommend Creation Untamed to all who want to be honest with the Bible and with life.

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

This is vintage Fretheim: provocative theological reflection combined with a careful reading of the biblical text. What does human suffering say about God? At a time when hard questions lead some to turn away from the Old Testament, Fretheim finds rich resources for probing the depths of the person of God and for rethinking the relationship of the divine to the world.

M. Daniel Carroll R., distinguished professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary

With characteristic erudition, theological depth, and lively engagement, Terence Fretheim illuminates one of the most perplexing issues of faith: why natural disasters? Fretheim brings together a wide range of biblical texts and ably mines them for their wisdom about God’s ways in the world. Such wisdom is critically needed when so much misunderstanding characterizes religious discourse today.

William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Throughout history and yet today people have tended to view natural disasters as vengeful ‘acts of God.’ Fretheim has done us a great service by masterfully exposing how thoroughly this traditional perspective conflicts with a careful reading of the Bible’s creation texts. Not all readers will agree with all of Fretheim’s proposals, but all will benefit from the fresh perspective he brings to the biblical texts, the unsettling questions he invites us to consider, and the magnificent portrait of a loving, power-sharing, relational God who brings into being a dynamic creation full of beauty and risk.

Greg Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, MN

Terence E. Fretheim is Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has taught for more than 50 years. He is the author of more than 20 books, including commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, First and Second Kings, and Jeremiah and God and World in the Old Testament, The Suffering of God, and The Pentateuch.

At Home in a Strange Land: Using the Old Testament in Christian Ethics

  • Author: Andrew Sloane
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 272

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The Old Testament is a problem for many Christians. Some find it puzzling, or even offensive; others seem to glibly misuse it for their own ends. There are few resources aimed at enabling ordinary Christians to understand the OT and use it in their lives as followers of Jesus.

In At Home in a Strange Land: Using the Old Testament in Christian Ethics, Andrew Sloane seeks to address this need. He outlines some of the problems that ordinary Christians face in reading the Old Testament as part of Christian Scripture and provides a framework for interpreting the Old Testament and using it in Christian ethics. He identifies some of the key biblical texts of both the Old Testament and the New Testament that inform Christian ethics and challenge us to live as God’s people. Using the paradigm of learning to travel in unfamiliar places, Sloane seeks to equip the reader with tools for understanding many of the puzzling and difficult passages found in the Old Testament. In sum, the book aims to “rehabilitate” the Old Testament for ordinary, even skeptical, twenty-first century Christians.

Unlike many other books that address these topics, Sloane’s work brings together questions of interpretation and “ethical application” in one book aimed at lay people.

An excellent introduction to help Christians apply the OT to their moral lives. . . . Sloane regularly refers to contemporary songs and films that address related topics, thus providing helpful connections for younger readers. This is a welcome text.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Utilizing the metaphor of travel, Andrew Sloane invites his readers on a journey through the ‘strange land’ of the Old Testament, focusing on how the Old Testament may be used in Christian ethics. Sloane proves to be a superb guide! Avoiding footnotes and technical jargon where possible (and carefully defining terms where necessary), he succinctly and clearly describes ‘the equipment for the journey’—the nature and authority of the Old Testament, appropriate hermeneutical methodology, and a general framework for understanding Old Testament ethics. He then presents a practical approach for ‘getting going’ on the journey, richly illustrating the basic steps of exegesis from a sample ethical passage in each of the major Old Testament genres. The heart of the work, ‘avoiding pitfalls, hacking through the jungle,’ grapples with difficult ethical ‘terrain’ (issues) in the Old Testament—slavery, ritual impurity, and holy war— and provides penetrating insights for coming to grips with these issues. In his further exploration of Old Testament ethical ‘territory,’ Sloane draws profound ethical implications from Gen 1–3 (for environmental concerns and gender relations) and from the Decalogue in Deut 5 (for the overarching moral vision of the Old Testament). Finally, he effectively shows how to ‘bring the Old Testament home’ by examining a modem ethical issue (cloning) in light of Old Testament principles, and by applying Isaiah 46 (the critique of idolatry) to modern forms of idolatry. A concise annotated bibliography recommends resources for further exploration. Sloane has admirably succeeded in his stated goal of assisting readers, not only to visit, but to find themselves ‘at home in the strange land of the Old Testament.’

—Richard M. Davidson, J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament, Andrews University Theological Seminary

How can a Christian read the Old Testament and find in it moral value for the present day? How can this be done without falling into the pitfall of naïve legalism . . . or unthinking rejection . . . ? [Sloane] deftly handles some of the most challenging issues raised by Old Testament texts (e.g., slavery and holy war) and draws out their contemporary moral value. . . . Not everyone . . . will agree with every detail or conclusion in the book. But to differ a good argument is needed. I am the better equipped to engage my world having read this book, and I commend it with enthusiasm.

—Graham A. Cole, professor of biblical and systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Sloane has given us an exemplary ‘manual’ to bring a ‘strange and neglected’ literature (the Old Testament) ‘home’ to our ethical thinking and Christian living. . . . I am encouraged by Sloane’s treatment of a needed topic in an engaging style. . . . I am delighted to commend it to the church in general and college students in particular.

—J. Lanier Burns, research professor of theological studies and senior professor of systematic theology, Dallas Theological Seminary

The ‘strange land’ of which Sloane speaks is the Old Testament. This image was chosen because he has found a lack of understanding of and appreciation for the Old Testament in many Christians. The book is organized around the idea of a Journey into this strange land. Methods of interpretation make up the equipment needed for the journey. Sloane treats troublesome biblical issues such as slavery and holy war as pitfalls to be avoided, and demonstrates his approach in his analysis of the Genesis creation stories as well as Isaiah 46. The writing is very conversational. The author begins each chapter with a long description of events from his own life, thus establishing a comfortable setting for treating biblical issues that might be unfamiliar to his readers. In this way he shows the commonality between these issues as found in the Old Testament and as experienced in today’s world. The beginning reader will derive much profit from this book.

Bible Today

At Home in a Strange Land provides a needed corrective for Christian ethics by facilitating the use of the rich resources of the OT. . . . A careful reading of the book reveals that [Sloane’s] work is deserving of critical scholarly attention. He offers the reader fresh insight into the OT, its milieu, and its meanings. One of the primary contributions of At Home in a Strange Land is that it addresses some of the thorny issues of biblical authority and interpretation. . . . A helpful introduction to the OT as a resource for Christian moral decision-making and ethical living.

Andrews University Seminary Studies

Andrew Sloane joined the faculty of Morling College (the Baptist Theological College of NSW) in 2002 as lecturer in Old Testament and Christian thought. He initially trained as a medical doctor before turning to theology. He completed his theological education at Morling College and has worked in Baptist churches in Sydney and Newcastle and lectured at Ridley College in Melbourne. He has written on Old Testament, interpretation, ethics and philosophy.

Getting the Old Testament: What it Meant to Them, What it Means for Us

  • Author: Steven L. Bridge
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 248

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As readers of texts written in antiquity we frequently find ourselves in the position of one who overhears a conversation without the benefit of context. The likelihood of humorous (or tragic) misunderstanding is palpable. In Getting the Old Testament: What It Meant to Them, What It Means for Us, Steven Bridge examines a number of important texts and genres found in the Old Testament. By bringing what is known of their original historical and literary context to light, he clearly demonstrates how important it is to know the cultural background of those to whom a text was originally addressed. Bridge helps us as modern readers to grasp the intended significance of these ancient texts.

Using modern illustrations from Bart Simpson to fortune cookies, and discussing texts from Genesis to Jonah to Ecclesiastes, Bridge succeeds in making difficult texts come alive for the reader and shows how they practically apply to modern life. Each chapter begins with a story, event, or illustration that draws the reader into Bridge’s point with regard to the clearest understanding of a particular text or given group of texts. The most poignant of these illustrations is found at the beginning of his chapter on the book of Job, in which he begins with the story of Lou Gehrig and the disease that took his life, ALS (known more commonly as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and ends with his own father’s death from ALS.

An annotated list of suggested readings as well as subject and scripture indexes make this a practical book for college classes.

Steve Bridge’s Getting the Old Testament is a fun and easy way to get a good overview of how modern biblical studies have opened up our understanding of the Old Testament. He combines contemporary examples, light but scholarly descriptions, and many charts to craft a very readable understanding of the development and purpose of the Hebrew Scriptures.

—Lawrence Boadt, CSP, emeritus professor of Scripture studies, Washington Theological Union

A genuinely fresh approach to teaching Scripture, this book eloquently speaks to both the academy and the religious community.

Jacob Neusner, Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

Professor Bridge combines a deep and accurate appreciation for traditional literary and historical scholarship with an intense desire to identify and communicate a message to Gen Next students. Appropriately in the contemporary mode, he confronts our twenty-first-century readerly responses to the Hebrew Bible and uses those connections to build appropriate meanings. This is a marvelous volume for drawing us into the text, probing it, and probing ourselves.

—Barry Bandstra, Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor, Hope College

In the quest for the ultimate undergraduate textbook, Bridge’s Getting the Old Testament has got a significant place. . . . There is much to recommend this book. The scope is ambitious and the format compelling: to give an introduction to the Hebrew Bible is no mean task.

Expository Times

Steven Bridge finds God in the countless contradictions of the Old Testament—the places that make most Christians squirm. . . . Many fundamentalists gloss over these contradictions or try to explain them away. For Bridge, it is the contradictions themselves that hold the greatest depth and teachings about God. . . . Every now and then it is healthy for Christians to read such books as Getting the Old Testament, because they drag us away from the temptation to become influenced by the forcefully argued and emotionally-charged renderings of the Bible by Christian fundamentalists. Bridge shows that it is these fundamentalists who are missing out on the Bible’s true riches, by refusing to enter into the dangerous crevices and strange, seemingly senseless juxtapositions and irrationalities of the Old Testament.

Catholic Herald

Overall, there is much to commend in this book. Bridge effectively grips his audience with numerous poignant and engaging illustrations from personal experience and from popular culture (e.g. The Simpsons, The Bible Code, Alan Jackson’s ‘Where Were You,’ and more). His clear writing style is full of humor and is accessible to the introductory student, and his charts, tables, and appendices superbly parallel his prose.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Overall, Bridge’s concern for traditional and literary critical scholarship has been effectively combined with his desire to communicate those approaches [to] a contemporary audience. This book would be a useful supplement to any Old Testament Introduction class or to any professor looking for ways to communicate with GenNext students.

Review of Biblical Literature

Steven L. Bridge is a professor of theology and the chair of the department at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He has taught biblical studies at parishes, high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States for over a decade.

The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis–Malachi

  • Author: David A. Dorsey
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 330

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In modern writing, a variety of written markers—italics, bold type, punctuation, parentheses, and so forth—are used to indicate emphasis and clarify meaning. The authors of the Old Testament could not rely on such devices since their writings were originally composed for oral presentation. They instead used literary structure to highlight certain ideas and to convey meaning and emphasis accurately. Unfortunately, as we read the Old Testament we frequently overlook this inherent literary structure. What we need is a guide to help us see the literary structure that permeates the Old Testament and clarifies the meaning of each Old Testament book. David Dorsey has provided such a guide.

The author opens the book with a brief historical survey of the various approaches to understanding the structure of the Old Testament. He examines what is meant by the term literary structure and gives examples of how the structure of a given text illuminates the author’s writing, meaning, and purpose.

Dorsey then proceeds book by book through the entire Old Testament identifying the structure and offering commentary on how that structure clarifies the meaning of the text. He illuminates the big picture of each book, providing a framework for further study. No pastor, teacher, or student should embark upon the study of an Old Testament text without consulting this indispensable guide.

Herman Gunkel and the form critics have taught us that the meaning of texts cannot be divorced from the literary genres and forms in which they are composed. More recently the symbiotic connections between meaning and literature on a more macro-structural level have come to be appreciated. David Dorsey has now carried this important insight logically forward in his brilliant analyses and syntheses of not only Old Testament passages but of whole books and collections of books. With intuitively artistic sensitivity to texts in their wholeness, Dorsey has provided for the scholar and layman alike a fresh way of reading the sacred literature. He avoids the twin pitfalls of not seeing the forest for the trees or failing to discover the trees because of a focus on the forest alone. The trees are here all clearly exposed but not in isolation—they exist in such patterns and relationships as to produce a forest of wondrous beauty. Bible study will never be the same again for anyone who takes advantage of the creative insights afforded in this remarkable volume.

Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor of OT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Understanding structure is pivotal to understanding the meaning of Scripture. David Dorsey ably guides us toward a better sense of the structure and style of the books of the Old Testament. This book will become a standard reference tool for all serious students of the Bible.

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Religious Studies, Westmont College

This is an unusual and fascinating book. It is the first comprehensive treatment of the native structure of the Old Testament books and its significance for their meaning and message. Expositors will find it of inestimable value for looking at the books in a way that is natural to the literary nature of the Old Testament itself and, at the same time, the theological significance of that structure.

—Richard Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The statement on the back of this helpful volume notes: ‘In modern writing, various markers—italics, bold type, punctuation, parentheses, and so forth—are used to indicate emphasis and clarify meaning.’ The authors of the Old Testament did not have or use such devices, writing out of an oral culture as they did. So what is the proper emphasis in certain texts? How do we understand the structure and style of certain Old Testament material? Dorsey . . . guides the reader into this subject with great care and sensitivity.

ACT 3 Review

Serious Bible students will discover many insights in this valuable volume.

Biblical Viewpoint

This is an important book because it provides in a large format volume an introduction to the study of structure of the books of the Old Testament. . . . This is one of the earliest works in this newly developing field. I expect much good from it in the future.

Presbyterian Banner

Dorsey writes with a clear, uncomplicated prose that enhances the value of the book. The Hebrew forms, all transliterated and translated, are kept to a minimum. I would certainly recommend this for all Old Testament translators and anyone looking for a good introduction to issues of literary structures in the Bible.

Bible Translator

David A. Dorsey is professor of Old Testament at the Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel.

The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith

  • Authors: Paul J. Achtemeier and Elizabeth Achtemeier
  • Edition: Revised
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: 160

The heart of the Christian faith rests upon the confession that “Jesus is Lord,” yet faithful Christians sometimes overlook the fact that the Jesus’ lordship is firmly rooted in the Old Testament’s promises and prophecies. Moreover, knowing Jesus more fully entails knowing the story of God’s salvation planned before the foundation of the world. Modern readers tend to forget that the declaration that “before Abraham was I am” underscores the continuity between the promise to Abraham and its fulfillment in Christ. Acquiring a basic understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments with respect to salvation’s drama will enrich every reader’s faith and appreciation for the Scriptures.

Elizabeth Achtemeier was an adjunct professor of Bible and homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. She has authored a number of books, including Nature, God, and Pulpit and Preaching from the Old Testament.

Paul J. Achtemeier is the former Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia. He has served as the president of both the Society of Biblical Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association. He has authored a number of books, including 1 Peter (Hermeneia)  and is the general editor for Harper's Bible Dictionary.

Product Details

  • Title: Baker Academic Old Testament Studies
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Volumes: 10
  • Pages: 2,338