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Baker Academic Old Testament Bundle (29 vols.)
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Overview

The Baker Academic Old Testament Bundle contains 29 volumes of recent, in-depth Old Testament commentary and research. The bundle is comprised of three collections:

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. It also takes on the Pentateuch, laying a foundation for studying the rest of Scripture and includes extensive background studies on Old Testament times, covering topics from archaeology to sociology and weaving together a tapestry that fully describes the ancient world. 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 Bundle is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. 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 Biblical Studies Bundle (86 vols.).

Key Features

  • Extensive background studies on Old Testament times and culture
  • Interpretation and exegesis of the Old Testament texts
  • Examination of the Pentateuch as a foundation for Scripture

Individual Titles

From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch

  • Author: T. Desmond Alexander
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 384

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

This text has been a popular introduction to the Pentateuch for more than 15 years, offering a unique alternative to the too-common critical approaches that focus on the books’ composition over content. Instead of providing commentary for individual passages, T. Desmond Alexander takes a holistic view of the books, revealing the “big picture” and identifying prominent themes and connections between the Pentateuch and the New Testament. With this new edition, T. Desmond Alexander keeps the book fresh and relevant for contemporary students by updating the references and adding material that reflects recent pentateuchal research as well as his maturing judgments. The result is a revision that will prove valuable for many years to come.

There is no doubt that theology undergraduates and anybody who takes an interest in the riches of the Pentateuch are indebted to Alexander for providing us with a highly readable, informative, and at times even innovative book.

—Michael Widmer, Themelios

In this up-to-date and scholarly work, Alexander shows how the first five books of the Bible make sense and hang together. More than that, they lay the foundations of Christian theology so that no one can properly understand the rest of the Bible who has not come to terms with them. Alexander will be found to be a lucid and reliable guide to this vital part of Scripture.

Gordon J. Wenham, Trinity College, Bristol

Two virtues about From Paradise to the Promised Land have especially struck me. One is the comprehensiveness of the way it seeks to help us grasp the Pentateuch. The other is the way Alexander shows us how different themes hold these books together—themes such as the sanctuary, kingship, and the land. Both these features open up possibilities in grasping the Pentateuch as a whole.

John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary

Desmond Alexander provides an introduction that considers the Pentateuch as a whole, both thematically and theologically. The Pentateuch is presented as a unity, yet the variety of topics within it receive substantial and penetrating treatment. It is the sort of study that many readers and their teachers have long wanted on this first section of the Old Testament.

—J. Gordon McConville, University of Gloucestershire

An excellent overview of major themes in the Pentateuch. . . . An excellent tool that should be used by anyone planning to preach or teach through these books.

Biblical Booklist

[A] wealth of useful and accessible information on the Pentateuch. . . . This book is especially welcome as a solid introduction accessible to undergraduate students.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

A good literary introduction to the Pentateuch.

The Bible Today

Eminently useful. . . . Studying the Pentateuch by means of commentaries can be compared to looking at the separate pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. While we may find something of interest in each piece, it is only when all the pieces are put together that we get the complete picture. Alexander puts the puzzle together in ways that bring the larger picture of the Pentateuch into a sharp, Christ-centered focus.

Concordia Journal

T. Desmond Alexander is a senior lecturer in biblical studies and the director of postgraduate studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, Ireland. He is the co-editor of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Alexander received his PhD from The Queen’s University in Belfast.

A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch: Interpreting the Torah as Christian Scripture

  • Editors: Richard S. Briggs and Joel N. Lohr
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 224

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

In this concise volume, a team of fresh Old Testament voices explores the theological dimensions of the Pentateuch and provides specific examples of critically engaged theological interpretation. This Pentateuch text is unique in that it emphasizes theological reading, serving as an affordable supplement to traditional introductory Pentateuch texts. Each chapter introduces theological themes and interpretative issues in interpretation then offers exegesis of one or two representative passages to model theological interpretation in practice. This useful text will be valued by students of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch as well as pastors. It honors Walter Moberly, whose approach is played out in the book.

Briggs and Lohr, along with their cowriters, have exploited the inheritance of their teacher Walter Moberly to engage with the best of historical-critical and literary approaches to each book of the Pentateuch. Both for the general landscape of theological perspectives on each book and for the exemplary exploration of a specific text (or two) in each book, this volume provides an essential introduction to the field of theological interpretation at the beginning of the Bible.

Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

It is extraordinary how theological interpretation has become a growth industry and has almost become a respectable enterprise—and certainly now a confident one. This is an urbane introduction to its nature, a suggestive theological introduction to each of the books of the Pentateuch. It matches the urbane elegance of Walter Moberly, who inspired it among colleagues and former students. Like Moberly’s work, A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch takes up big theological issues but anchors them in careful, detailed studies of particular passages. It thus illuminates on the macro scale and on the micro scale.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch is a well-proportioned and substantive introduction to the first five books of the Bible with hermeneutical guidance in the form of sample interpretation of key texts for each book. The book is nicely designed and executed—a valuable text for the classroom. It serves as an excellent tribute to Walter Moberly and his own exegetical work. Well done!

Christopher R. Seitz, research professor of biblical interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Few portions of Scripture seem to yield such an unending discovery of riches and resources to scholar and layperson alike as do the five books of the Pentateuch. The essays in this volume add richly and discerningly to those discoveries. Happily, each writer moves beyond the necessary historical and literary questions in order to engage the text theologically. I highly recommend this volume of collected essays to any reader who is interested in pursuing theological interpretation of the biblical text.

Victor P. Hamilton, professor emeritus of Old Testament studies, Asbury University

A penetrating primer on what it means to read the Pentateuch well as 'theologically interested interpreters'--and a lovely tribute to the probing insight and pedagogical skill of Walter Moberly by some of his former students and close associates. The authors offer full coverage of all five pentateuchal books along with sustained engagements of several key texts. The volume concludes with an appendix detailing the cumulative scope of Moberly's distinctive contributions to pentateuchal study.

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

Richard S. Briggs is the director of biblical studies and hermeneutics at Cranmer Hall, St. John’s College, Durham University. He is the author of Words in Action: Speech Act Theory and Biblical Interpretation and Reading the Bible Wisely.

Joel N. Lohr is university chaplain and director of religious life at the University of the Pacific.

Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis

  • Author: Tammi J. Schneider
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 240

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

Genesis’ women played a vital part in shaping Israel’s foundation, growth, and development, but most exegetes have not given them adequate attention—until now. Through a fresh close reading, respected Hebrew scholar Tammi Schneider examines the roles and functions of these women who, with the men, form the basis for the future of Israel.

Schneider looks at each woman’s story from various angles and within the context of her relationships Genesis’ messageas a whole. Allowing the details of the text to challenge traditional readings, Schneider also includes ancient Near Eastern background material and archaeological insights for a fresh reading of familiar stories. Sections cover the matriarchs (from Sarah to Rachel), mothers of potential heirs (including those who threaten the promise), mothers before the promise, and women who do not bear children but still play a role. Women not often discussed, such as the wives of Lamech and Esau, are included. The result is a creative and reliable discussion to supplement studies of Genesis and of the roles and importance of women in the Bible.

Schneider’s extensive study of the women in Genesis revitalizes and enhances the current understanding of these women and the book of Genesis as a whole. . . . It has the potential to be used as a textbook for a variety of courses, yet it is thorough, well-documented, and deals with the original language of the text and thus is a good resource for further scholarly research.

Review of Biblical Literature

With remarkable clarity, precise detail, lucid thought, comprehensive research, and careful attention to text and translation, Tammi Schneider offers scholars and students a marvelous and intriguing volume that brings to life the women of Genesis. This beautifully crafted text raises new questions and presents new insights, especially with regard to the male characters in Genesis. Schneider’s work makes a brilliant contribution to the field of biblical and gender studies.

—Carol J. Dempsey, associate professor of theology, University of Portland

You might be tempted to think that over the past couple of decades everything that could be said about the women in Genesis has been said. Tammi Schneider shows that this is not so, bringing a whole new set of questions and making it possible for us to see some quite new things.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Tammi Schneider has marshaled impressive amounts of raw data to re-examine two dozen female characters in the book of Genesis. Using an innovative method that focuses primary attention on the precise wording of each woman’s appearance(s) in Genesis, Schneider investigates each character with both passion and rigor. Readers who have grown too complacent in their putative understandings of these literary figures will find fresh breezes rustling every page of this study.

—R. Christopher Heard, associate professor of religion, Pepperdine University

Many interpreters of the book of Genesis, conscious of the male preference obvious within the stories, argue that the women portrayed there serve men’s goals. This position might describe the way many stories seem to unfold but it ignores the fact that Genesis, indeed the entire Bible, really highlights God’s goals. Schneider’s reading of several biblical stories shows how God works through women to accomplish these ends. . . . [Her] approach brings the women alive in new and exciting ways. The book is meant for readers who have some basic knowledge of biblical analysis. It will also make a fine contribution to the area of gender studies.

Bible Today

[Schneider] complements familiar observations on women’s roles in Genesis with several new insights. Notably she challenges the utility of the category ‘matriarchs,’ rephrasing questions of inheritance rights, attending to the nuances of the Hebrew, and adducing possible connections between biblical narrative and ancient Near Eastern legal custom. . . . Schneider’s ‘new method’ of ‘verbing the character’. . . yield[s] intriguing readings concerning women’s generally positive relationships to each other and to Israel’s Deity, as well as their surprisingly negative relationships to their husbands and fathers. This volume will be especially useful for church and synagogue adult education programs. . . . Recommended. General readers; upper-level undergraduates and above.

Choice

Schneider’s extensive study of the women in Genesis revitalizes and enhances the current understanding of these women and the book of Genesis as a whole. This work serves to demonstrate how inadequate the term ‘Patriarchal History’ is to describe these texts and revolutionizes the way this biblical book should be read. . . . [Schneider] has presented a very convincing and complete portrait of the women in Genesis. This book provides several services to the academic community. It has the potential to be used as a textbook for a variety of courses, yet it is thorough, well-documented, and deals with the original language of the text and thus is a good resource for further scholarly research.

Choice

Tammi J. Schneider is a professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. She is the author of Sarah: Mother of Nations and a commentary on Judges in the Berit Olam series.

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, 3rd ed.

  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews and James C. Moyer
  • 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

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

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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

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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, rev. ed.

  • Authors: Paul J. Achtemeier and Elizabeth Achtemeier
  • 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.

Africa and the Bible

  • Author: Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 304

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Two hundred years ago, the “curse of Ham” was used to legitimize slavery. Both Ethiopians and Arabians claim the queen of Sheba, and it is thought that Moses and Jesus may have been black.

Much has been said about the connection between Africa and the Bible. Unfortunately, despite numerous references to Africa and Africans in the Bible, most scholarly works exploring ancient Africa ignore biblical references. On the other hand, contemporary afrocentric biblical studies often ignore the wealth of archaeological discoveries and historical discussions bearing on the subject. With Africa and the Bible, well-respected scholar Edwin Yamauchi fills these voids, offering a scholarly interpretation that integrates biblical exegesis, archaeological evidence, and recent historical discussions.

Africa and the Bible explores the historical and archaeological background of biblical texts that deal with Africa and the Bible, examines the exegesis of these texts, and traces the ramifications of later interpretations and misinterpretations of these texts. Yamauchi deals with such topics as the curse of Ham'’s son Canaan, Moses’ Cushite wife, the Ethiopian eunuch, Simon the Cyrene, and afrocentric biblical interpretation. Along the way, he dispels myths, interacts with current theories, and provides sound judgments as to what the Bible does and does not say.

Students and scholars of the Bible, of African studies, and of global Christianity will appreciate the extra features Yamauchi employs. He includes photographs, maps, charts, an appendix critiquing Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and Scripture, author, and subject indexes. An extensive bibliography of more than 300 entries will guide readers to the diverse literature associated with the connections between Africa and the Bible. Lay readers interested in history and the Bible will enjoy the book’s insightful comments and accessible style.

Africa and the Bible was a 2005 Christianity Today Book Award winner.

Sensitive both to Afrocentric interests and to data from ancient Egypt and elsewhere, this work reveals, as his works always do, Professor Yamauchi’s brilliant multidisciplinary competence. He interacts respectfully with different views, and even those who disagree with some elements of his approach or would welcome an even fuller exploration of some issues will find the book a rich treasure of resources. Few readers of the Bible have had access to the information he provides about Nubia and the Nubian Pharohs of Egypt.

Craig S. Keener, Palmer Theological Seminary

Writing in a refreshing style that carefully abstains from scholarly obfuscation, Yamauchi has collated an extraordinary range of scholarly data on the historical and archaeological background of the biblical texts dealing with Africa. His efforts provide the reader with a primary source of information for everything from the Queen of Sheba to Black Athena.

—Donald White, University of Pennsylvania

Drawing on a vast range of sources—ancient and modern, literary and archaeological—Yamauchi offers a superb discussion of the major questions concerning the relationships between the Bible and Africa. His final chapter presents an especially helpful response to contemporary Afrocentric approaches to the Scriptures. This fascinating study will be welcomed by those who need an introduction to the issues and those who are looking for a foundation for further study.

Daniel I. Block, Wheaton College

At a time when Africans are forming an increasing proportion of the world’s Christians and Africa is becoming one of the major theaters of Christian life and activity, the issue of Africa’s place in the Bible takes on a new importance. How valuable it is, then, to have such a volume as this—thorough, sober, succint, learned and judicious.

—Andrew F. Walls, University of Edinburgh

Edwin Yamauchi is professor of history emeritus at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A co-edited work of his, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Persia and the Bible

  • Author: Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 584

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Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes—who were these Persian kings? Internationally noted historian Edwin Yamauchi uses the latest archaeological information from Iran, along with over 100 photos and maps, to paint an illuminating portrait of Persia’s people, kings, cities, and role in Old Testament history. An invaluable guide to traversing the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

In his historical-archaeological study, Yamauchi. . .attempts to explain Persian history and culture in the context of biblical accounts, enlarging upon this connection in brief discussions of numerous topics surrounding Persian rulers, seats of government, and religion. The brevity of the discussions and summary presentations of controversial and contradictory theories may prove frustrating for the serious student of Persian history. Still, the book contains many useful elements: a broad survey of the literature and recent archaeological findings; indexes including biblical issues; pertinent maps, diagrams, and illustrations; a large, select bibliography; and meticulous documentation. A valuable basic biblical reference tool or a point of departure for more advanced historical research.

—Paula I. Nielson, Loyola Marymount University

Persia and the Bible represents an impressive achievement.

Biblical Archaeologist

A superb survey. The author’s unique contribution is in providing constant interaction with the Bible, both in terms of how the Scripture serves as a primary source for Persian history and especially by demonstrating how a knowledge of Persian civilization will deepen the reader’s understanding of Scripture.

Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

Archaeology provides vital, if sometimes scanty, clues that enable the reader and teacher to understand the background of the relevant biblical passages with their distinctive theological viewpoint. This book will enable us all to relate the appropriate and abiding message of the Bible to our own world with its similar problems.

Donald Wiseman, emeritus professor of Assyriology, University of London

The people, places, and religion discussed in the book are important for understanding the post-exilic history of Israel. Yamauchi explores all of these areas in great depth in what is undoubtedly a standard text in the field.

Ashland Theological Journal

Edwin Yamauchi is professor of history emeritus at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A co-edited work of his, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

  • Author: John D. Currid
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 208

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The role of Egypt in the Old Testament, particularly in the Pentateuch, is a significant one. John Currid’s in-depth study of that role sheds valuable light on this important aspect of Israel's history and Scriptures.

Currid observes that more biblical scholars today are returning to the study of Egypt and its texts. “My hope,” he writes, “is that this volume will add to the growing interest in and understanding of the Egyptian connections with the Old Testament.”

After surveying the scholarly interest in Egypt and the Bible and highlighting the uniqueness of the Hebrew worldview, Currid proceeds through the Old Testament canonically, showing Egyptian influences throughout. He explores the creation story, Joseph narrative, Serpent confrontation, ten plagues, and route of the Exodus, plus Solomon’s contacts with Egypt, the relationship of Hebrew poetry to Egyptian wisdom literature, and the links between Hebrew prophecy and Egyptian magic and soothsaying. The result is an enlightening guide to Egyptian influences on Israelite history.

This valuable study offers the most up-to-date information available on archaeological discoveries and includes Currid’s original translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Photographs, indexes, and a bibliography enhance the study.

Kenneth Kitchen writes in the foreword: “In the increasingly erratic world of Old Testament studies, where there is still too often a stubborn refusal to pay proper attention to the firm factual framework of reference that the ancient Near Eastern world offers us in assessing the nature and worth of the biblical writings, Currid’s well-documented book is a breath of fresh air and represents a valuable contribution.”

Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament will serve as a text in courses on archaeology and the Old Testament, Old Testament history, and Old Testament backgrounds.

John Currid has written an excellent study of the Egyptian background of certain parts of the Old Testament. The author has read widely and commented judiciously on a number of very interesting topics, such as the itinerary of the Israelitesa as they fled Egypt, the plagues, Solomon’s marriage to an Egyptian princess, the invasion of the pharoh Shishak, and comparisons with Egyptian wisdom literature.

Edwin Yamauchi, Miami University

The evidence that Currid presents is quite persuasive. . . . He is quite skillful in detecting reflections of Egyptian culture in the biblical text.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

An interesting book on a subject that very few people have the courage to discuss.

—Francesca Jourdan

Professor Currid has provided a thorough, stimulating, and informed study of the many ways that the world of ancient Egypt can illumine the pages of the Old Testament. Those who take seriously the importance of reading the Old Testament in light of its cultural context will welcome his balanced assessment of the data. This is a valuable tool for background studies.

John H. Walton, Moody Bible Institute

John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations, and he is author of Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide.

Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide

  • Author: John D. Currid
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 128

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Many people today are familiar with archaeological undertakings in the land of the Bible and the fascinating objects that have been discovered. However, the process of archaeology is generally not well understood. How do excavators know where to dig? How do they identify what they’ve found? John Currid provides many answers in this basic guide to Palestinian archaeology.

Currid, a field archaeologist and Old Testament scholar, surveys the history of archaeological work in the Holy Land and the development of excavation methodology. He highlights pioneering individuals and their contributions, and explains the purposes of topographical survey, site identification, digging techniques, and find analysis. Utilizing the book’s practical outline of archaeological investigation, the final chapter describes the site identification, history of excavation, and finds at et-Tell (Bethsaida). Complete with color photographs, line drawings, and sidebars, this book offers a concise introduction to Palestinian archaeology useful for college classes, study groups, and excavation teams.

Currid’s volume is a useful introduction to archaeology—its history, vocabulary, and methods—for the beginner. The systematic unveiling of these themes provides a ‘stratigraphy’ for study that many students and laypersons will find fascinating. In addition, the short bibliographies add substance to the work, allowing readers to take the additional step of further study. Such aids to first-time student excavators have often taken the form of xeroxed handouts. Currid has provided them with an easy reference work that they can read on the plane to Israel and pull out during the excavation to explain what is happening around them.

Victor H. Matthews, Southwest Missouri State University

At last, a book on the basics of Palestinian archaeology! John Currid’s much-needed text fills a significant gap in the currently available literature in the field. Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible is an excellent introduction that will be of great assistance to the beginning student as well as to the interested layperson.

Bryant G. Wood, Associates for Biblical Research

Professor Currid has written an excellent manual for the history and practice of archaeological excavation in the Middle East, systematically outlined with considerable bibliographical documentation. I recommend the work as supplementary reading for courses requiring a knowledge of the history and methodology of ancient Near Eastern archaeology. I plan to use it as a supplementary text in my classes, both on the introductory and advanced levels.

John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School

In this brief study, Currid sketches the birth and development of archaeological method and answers many of the basic questions having to do with field work. The book should be a ‘must read’ for anyone intersested in volunteering to participate on a dig in Palestine. The bibliographies concluding each chapter will greatly help the reader who wishes to know more.

—Alfred J. Hoerth, author of Archaeology and the Old Testament

John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations, and he is author of Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide.

Jeroboam’s Wife: The Enduring Contributions of the Old Testament’s Least-Known Women

  • Author: Robin Gallaher Branch
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 288

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Much has been written about prominent women of biblical history like Sarah, Ruth, and Esther. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the obscure women of the Old Testament whose words are not recorded in the Bible and some of whom aren’t even named. Yet often these less prominent women played important roles in the unfolding of God’s plan. Indeed, the appearance of such obscure women sometimes signals the emergence of some great event. More than that, these lesser-known women, frequently faced with seemingly impossible circumstances, modeled unflinching integrity and moral courage.

In Jeroboam’s Wife, Robin Gallagher Branch introduces us to seven obscure yet notable biblical women. By examining their historical and cultural settings with scholarly care and penetrating insight, she brings these women out of obscurity and highlights both the unique challenges they face and their indelible contributions. By interacting with contemporary biblical, social, and psychological scholarship, she presents ancient biblical history in fresh and relevant ways.

Thoughtful questions for personal reflection or group discussion guide contemporary readers to ponder the deeper significance of these women’s contributions and to reflect on points of personal application.

Robin Gallaher Branch has taken a series of humble Scripture passages, generally overlooked and passed by, and revealed the wisdom and insight waiting for one who will simply give herself to them. Her careful scholarship, combined with a child-like joy in discovery, makes these women, many of whom Jesus would consider among “the least of these,” come alive.

—Mike Gatliff, pastor, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis TN

A welcome addition to the growing literature that explores the significance of female biblical characters, major and minor, who are vital participants in biblical salvation history.

Catholic Biblical Review

Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch joyfully draws forth portraits of women and girls who find the middle road between being timidly inarticulate and stridently verbose. in separate chapters, Dr. Branch reveals the paths the seven least-known women and girls took to meet different life-challenges. She shows how each grew emotionally and spiritually to reach hope and finally to achieve surprising courage.

—Mary V. Battle, associate professor of English, University of Memphis

Robin Gallaher Branch’s penetrating probe into the stories of some of the forgotten—and even silent—women of the Old Testament is a tour de force, combining feminist hermeneutic with careful narrative and character analysis. There is a lot more here than most readers will expect. Branch’s careful and illuminating interpretation of these texts is a necessary resource for all future attempts to understand them.

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

Robin Gallaher Branch has been writing extensively on the women of the Bible, especially those mentioned in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. This book is the fruit of many endeavors in this regard. It is well-written and brings some of the most obscure women of the Hebrew Bible to light. This major contribution should be read by everybody interested in the role of women in the Bible and society.

—Herrie van Rooy, professor of Old Testament, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Robin Gallaher Branch deftly walks the reader through a historically-informed, imaginative characterization of these relatively unknown women, thus introducing us to them. The cadre of women are silent no more! Their places within the story of God are overlooked no longer! Branch’s love of stories is readily observable in her sensitivity to detail in the biblical accounts, as well as in her care and creativity as a (re-)teller of these stories.

Troy A. Miller, associate professor of Bible and theology, Crichton College

Robin Gallaher Branch received her PhD in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a Fulbright scholar, and later, an associate professor at the University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. She is currently a professor of Bible and Theology at Crichton College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible

  • Author: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 368

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This volume provides a thoughtful introduction to the literature of the ancient Near East and a well-considered apology for its importance to exegetical work. John Walton suggests that there are three important roles comparative studies can play in biblical interpretation: critical analysis, defense of the biblical text, and exegesis. He focuses particularly on the third aspect and its importance for preventing misinterpretation through the imposition of modern worldviews.

In the main body of the text, Walton offers a thoughtful introduction to ancient Near Eastern literature and the “common cognitive environment” that it provides for understanding the world of ancient Israel. After surveying types of literature, he considers the perspectives they offer on beliefs about gods, religion, the cosmos, people, and history. Throughout his study, helpful comparative sidebars focus on Old Testament interpretation to illumine the continuities and discontinuities between the Israelites and their neighbors. This study provides an excellent introduction to the field of comparative studies and will be an important guide for students, scholars, and clergy who want to make use of extrabiblical resources to enrich their understanding of ancient Israel and its scriptures.

Comparisons between the culture of biblical Israel and the other cultures of the ancient Near East have long been a fundamental part of biblical scholarship, but more often than not, they have been presented in piecemeal, isolated fashion. In his new book, John Walton offers a much broader reach, giving us arguably the most extensive review of these cultural comparisons now available together with a serious meditation on what the enterprise of cultural comparison is all about in biblical study. One may not always agree with his views, but invariably one will come away challenged to rethink the purpose and value of such comparisons for understanding the Hebrew Bible and its world.

Peter B. Machinist, Harvard University

As no other author has done, Walton penetrates beyond the simple comparisons often made to bring back intelligence about the contexts and constitution of the ancient world, stressing the ideas Israel and its contemporaries held in common—such as ‘deity is on the inside, not the outside’ of life—and discussing accounts of creation, views of history and of the future. Yet Walton repeatedly demonstrates how Israel’s faith was distinct, its God revealing his will by writing his law on his people’s hearts, a metaphor from divination implying that they reveal his law to others. That’s one of many cases where interpretation gains from ‘comparative exploration.’ This book deserves the attention of all serious Bible teachers and students.

—Alan R. Millard, University of Liverpool

This book is a must read for serious students of the Old Testament. John Walton has employed his extensive background and experience to write this excellent survey of the interface between the ancient Near East and Israel. I especially appreciate his sidebars on ‘Comparative Exploration,’ which enable readers to ‘zero in’ on the comparative topic of their choice relatively easily. The book is thoroughly readable yet very scholarly. Thus, beginning students, seminarians, and the interested public will find gold mines of conceptual information in this excellent work.

Mark W. Chavalas, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

John Walton has produced an important and useful guide to entering into some of the major worldviews and value systems found in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel. As a unique contribution to the study of that era, his work both introduces readers to this thought world and bridges the gaps between ancient Near Eastern texts and the perspectives of the Bible. Walton’s engaging style makes this an ideal introductory text for these important areas of Bible backgrounds.

Richard S. Hess, Denver Seminary

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including A Survey of the Old Testament, Old Testament Today, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament.

Peoples of the Old Testament World

  • Authors: Alfred J. Hoerth, Gerald L. Mattingly, and Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 400

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The ancient Israelites lived among many nations. Knowing about the people and culture of these nations will enhance your understanding of the Old Testament. Peoples of the Old Testament World provides up-to-date descriptions of the people groups who interacted with and influenced ancient Israel. Detailed accounts by specialists cover each group’s origin, history, rulers, architecture, art, religion, and contacts with biblical Israel.

Detailed accounts by specialists cover each group’s origin, history, rulers, architecture, art, religion, and contacts with biblical Israel. Part 1 covers the region of Mesopotamia and includes articles on the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians. Articles covering the Hittites, Canaanites and Amorites, Phoenicians, Arameans, Philistines, and Egyptians compose the second section. Part 3 explores the people of Transjordan—the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites.

Photographs, a chart of chronology, a map of the ancient Near East, and three comprehensive indexes complete the volume.

Gives a superb introduction to major peoples of the biblical world (e.g., Babylonians, Hittites, Canaanites, Egyptians). The authors successfully assimilate and convey textual and archaeological information using the latest scholarly works as well as time-proven resources.

Biblical Archaeology

This excellent work will be recognized as the standard encyclopedic reference on the major non-Israelite people groups mentioned in the Old Testament. Not only would it be an important addition to seminary and Bible school libraries, but it is fashioned in a manner to be profitable for secular university libraries. It is expected that it will be a resource for the next generation of scholars.

Near East Archaelogical Society Bulletin

The book gives a superb introduction to major peoples of the biblical world. The authors successfully assimilate and convey textual and archaelogical information using the latest scholarly works as well as time-proven resources. This book would make a fine textbook for students in an upper level undergraduate class or in a graduate class, a good reference book for well-read lay person, or an excellent resource book for professionals in the field.

Biblical Archaeologist

A useful volume for students and others who read the Hebrew Bible with predominately historical interests.

Religious Studies Review

Alfred J. Hoerth recently retired as the director of archaeology at Wheaton College, where he taught for almost 30 years.

Gerald L. Mattingly is a professor of Bible at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Edwin M. Yamauchi is a professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A co-edited work, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Studying the Ancient Israelites: A Guide to Sources and Methods

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 240

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The Old Testament was not written in a vacuum. It was written by and to a specific people who lived within specific social, historical, political, and literary contexts—contexts not only of their own culture but also of the surrounding peoples. Clearly, an understanding of ancient Israel and the ancient Near East is essential for proper interpretation of the Bible.

Unfortunately, as students seek this kind of understanding, they are confronted with a variety of competing opinions and methods regarding the culture, history, sociology, and geography of the biblical story. Does archaeology ‘prove’ the Bible? Is the Bible history, and if so, what kind? How should the Old Testament be approached as literature? These and other questions are addressed in Studying the Ancient Israelites, which provides a guide to the tools, methods, and goals of the study of ancient Israel. The book also examines the insights that can be gained from geography, archaeology, literary study, sociology, and historiography, as well as the limitations of each of these disciplines. Here is an excellent text for Old Testament study.

Not only does Matthews write with the authority of a scholar with years of experience in the cultures of Israel and the ancient Near East, he also writes to bring the material to the educated layperson. This is an excellent background work, thus I would encourage all to read it as a prelude to any study of Israel. Studying the Ancient Israelites is full of practical, sensible help in understanding ancient Israel. The work contains specific examples concerning the various disciplines that have been used to study ancient Israel: archaeology, sociology, historical geography, historiography, and literary approaches.

Mark W. Chavalas, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Matthews is a sure-footed guide for students looking for help in sorting out the claims and counterclaims of scholars. This concise volume clearly introduces readers to the various issues surrounding the study of the ancient Israelites, offering insightful comments on the methods used in the investigation and why they are important.

J. Andrew Dearman, professor of Old Testament, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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, and the bestselling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

The Social World of Ancient Israel: 1250–587, BCE

  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 352

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Getting a fix on the social context of the Hebrew Bible is imperative for anyone reconstructing either the “story” of the text or the “history” behind the text. Resources in this area often prove overspecialized and arcane, and readerly tasks as simple as scanning their table of contents can require highly sophisticated skills in cultural anthropology or Semitic languages. Social World of Ancient Israel, 1250–587 BCE offers those interested in learning about the biblical world a more user-friendly framework for viewing the broader picture; at the same time, it relies on the latest methods of cultural anthropology and biblical analysis in its presentation. Painting a picture in broad but precise strokes, the authors portray the landscape of ancient Israel in new and exciting colors that expert and student alike will appreciate.

Social World of Ancient Israel takes a unique look at the most prominent social institutions of the world of early Israel and the period of the monarchy, and then shows how properly understanding these social institutions is essential for sound biblical interpretation. Immersing the reader in five major areas of antiquity’s daily life —politics, economics, diplomacy, law, and education—Matthews and Benjamin explore the ways in which knowing how “players” function in these institutions (configurations include “father/mother,” “prophet/wise one,”, and“host/stranger”) can shape our understanding of earliest Israel. Perhaps most significantly, the book gently exposes the inefficiency of past anthropological models for interpreting the relationships, attitudes and social conventions of earliest Israel. Its corrective insights will enable scholar and student alike to plot new approaches for studying the Hebrew Bible and the ancient people of Israel.

Social World of Ancient Israel offers the most refreshing and innovative approach to ancient Israelite society that I have ever read. The book uses different roles in village life and state institutions to open up the biblical world. Clear and engaging for beginners, full of insights for biblical scholars, this book fills a major need for a masterful synthesis of life in ancient Israel.

Mark S. Smith, New York University.

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University. He received his PhD from Brandeis University, and he has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles. He is the author of Manners and Customs in the Bible and coauthor of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East and The Social World of Ancient Israel.

Don C. Benjamin teaches at Rice University. He is coauthor of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East and author of Deuteronomy and City Life.

The Enemy in the Household: Family Violence in Deuteronomy and Beyond

  • Author: Caryn A. Reeder
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 224

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Three laws in Deuteronomy command violence against a family member—the enemy in the household—who leads others away from covenantal obligations to God. Several biblical and postbiblical narratives make use of such violence. In The Enemy in the Household: Family Violence in Deuteronomy and Beyond,readers will find a fresh approach to troubling biblical texts.

Caryn Reeder explores the “family violence” passages in Deuteronomy, tracing their ancient interpretation and assessing their contemporary significance. The Enemy in the Household examines such “constructive” violence carried out to protect the covenant community by investigating the reading practices of ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters of Scripture and their applications of these passages. It also provides modern readers with a model for the ethical interpretation of these difficult texts. The book will appeal to professors and students in Old Testament/Deuteronomy courses as well as those covering ethics and the Bible.

Ancient and modern interpreters have struggled to understand and apply the passages in Deuteronomy that legislate violence against family members as judgment for covenant unfaithfulness. Caryn Reeder sorts through the Old Testament texts as well as the pertinent literatures of Hellenistic Judaism, Roman-period Jewish writers, the Tannaitic Rabbis, and the New Testament, offering meticulous analysis that helps modern readers understand the theological and cultural issues as well as the interpretive dilemmas. It is the rare scholar who can interact with these literatures so adeptly, but Reeder shows sophisticated insight at every turn. The Bible’s call for constructive family violence is of great interest both in academia and the church, and Reeder’s balanced treatment provides much-needed perspective to the discussion.

John H. Walton, Wheaton College

Reeder offers us an in-depth study of the laws of ‘constructive family violence’ in the book of Deuteronomy. She contributes to our interpretive lens by means of an ethnographically sensitive exegesis of these laws in Deuteronomy as well as a thorough review of their conceptualization in subsequent believing communities. Here is a very helpful resource for those engaged in the study of family law, the marking of social boundaries in Israel, and even church discipline.

—Sandra L. Richter, Wesley Biblical Seminary

Caryn Reeder is unafraid. She is unafraid of a subject on which many fear to speak. She is unafraid of parts of the Bible that others either ignore or expunge. And she is unafraid of controversy, whether among the ancient rabbis or within today’s church.

Jo Bailey Wells, Duke Divinity School

This book is an excellent study on three verses in Deuteronomy, but it is about so much more. Through its focus on these three verses that suggest family violence, this volume demonstrates what careful research and well-applied theory can reveal about the text, Deuteronomy, family, and society, and the impact interpretation, both ancient and modern, has on meaning.

Tammi J. Schneider, School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

Caryn A. Reeder (PhD, University of Cambridge) is an assistant professor of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament

  • Author: Richard M. Davidson
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 850

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Flame of Yahweh offers a thorough exploration of gender relationships and sexual activity in the Old Testament. Topics include sexuality in Eden, the elevation vs. the denigration of women, exclusivity vs. adultery and premarital sex, permanence vs. divorce and remarriage, intimacy vs. incest, and sexuality in the Song of Songs.

Written from a theologically conservative perspective, Richard Davidson provides a meticulously researched work that makes extensive use of other ancient Near Eastern documents on subjects ranging from homosexuality to gender relations. At the same time, the author offers clear explanations of terms and historical context that make the work accessible and engaging.

This volume represents a most remarkable achievement. With encyclopedic breadth and extraordinary depth the author explores what the Old Testament has to say about every conceivable subject related to human sexuality. His discussions of the ancient Near Eastern cultural contexts, from which Old Testament writings emerged and to which they appear to have responded, are exceptional; and his treatment of specific biblical passages is generally balanced and thorough. Regardless of where readers find themselves in debates concerning sexual morality of gender relations, in the future, all who embark on serious study of biblical perspectives on these issues would do well to start with Davidson’s work.

Daniel L. Block, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

Richard M. Davidson is J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Andrews University. He is the author of In the Footsteps of Joshua and A Love Song for the Sabbath, as well as many encyclopedia and journal articles.

The Face of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Contemporary Approaches

  • Authors: David W. Baker and Bill T. Arnold
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 512

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The developments in Old Testament studies during the past 25 years have created a mountain of scholarly data that challenges even the best-read researcher. From textual criticism to literary approaches, from historiography to social science, each discipline possesses unique patterns of development, scholarly personalities, and methodologies. The Face of Old Testament Studies tackles the challenge of organizing this wealth of data through a collection of essays on 16 major areas of contemporary Old Testament research.

Each contributor traces recent developments in his field of expertise, delineating new directions and crucial methodologies that have emerged in the mainstream academy. One distinctive of this compilation is that it also pays attention to conservative scholars who have made contributions of significance that have been recognized beyond their own camp.

This reference work affords professors and students an overview of the salient issues and current approaches to Old Testament research. Suitable as a textbook for Old Testament introduction, Hebrew exegesis, and Old Testament theology courses, it will also be helpful for nonspecialists who desire to keep up with developments in Old Testament studies.

A splendid book that will be an important reference work in the field and useful both to beginners and to seasoned students. The editors have assembled an impressive series of authors, all of whom are competent, some of whom are leaders in their fields. The book is immensely well-documented by well-read authors! Judgments made on scholarly work are consistently judicious and fair. The reader can count on an informed, well-balanced entry into the excitement of current study.

Walter A. Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

In a world where knowledge of every subject is growing more quickly than at any other time in history, this volume of essays provides an exceptionally helpful way of keeping abreast of current Old Testament scholarship. Contemporary approaches to a wide range of issues are not only clearly explained but also carefully critiqued, offering a distinctively evangelical assessment of Old Testament studies at the end of the twentieth century. For those who wish to familiarize themselves with the current state of affairs, this collection of essays, written by recognized experts in their own fields, is indispensable

T. Desmond Alexander, Union Theological College

Probably the best attempt to describe the present state of Old Testament scholarship. The authors are all recognized scholars who have contributed significantly to Old Testament studies. They examine an amazing amount of literature and so give the reader access to most of the important essays and books in the last decades. While all of the essays are competent reviews of the issues and the debates, some of the essays are themselves helpful contributions to further thinking about the issues under discussion. It will be most useful for anyone teaching Old Testament.

Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Theological Seminary

The editors are to be commended for both the scope and thoroughness of the essays. The contributors to this volume represent the best of evangelical scholarship, interacting seriously with the most recent research on a wide range of subjects but maintaining a high view of the Old Testament as a source for understanding the history, culture, and faith of ancient Israel.

Daniel L. Block, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

This collection of essays on the state of Old Testament studies by prominent Old Testament scholars is a welcome addition to the library of both scholars and students of the Old Testament. The essays review the literature and present the challenge of thinking through a number of issues that have been raised in the last twenty years. A magnificent contribution to the state of Old Testament scholarship.

—Willem A. VanGemeren, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Bill T. Arnold (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Encountering the Book of Genesis, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and a commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel.

David W. Baker (Ph.D., University of London) is a professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Ashland Theological Seminary. He is a coeditor of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series and the author or editor of numerous other projects.

Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel

  • Author: Marty E. Stevens
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 224

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The temple in Jerusalem was both the center of ancient Israel’s religious life and an economic center for the nation. In this groundbreaking study of the economic functions of the Jerusalem temple, Marty E. Stevens, who worked for 15 years as a certified public accountant prior to getting a PhD in Old Testament, demonstrates that the temple acted as the central bank, internal revenue collector, source of loans, and even debt collector for ancient Israel. Applying a broad knowledge of temple-systems throughout the ancient Near East, Stevens sheds light on the roles played by various officials mentioned in Scripture and their tasks within the temple complex. Neither “Big Brother” nor “big business,” the temple still served government and commerce in the course of conducting its religious functions. This fascinating book opens new avenues for understanding the Jerusalem temple and its impact on Israelite society.

Professor Stevens has generously provided both the guild and the church a marvelously accessible study of the economic role of the temple in ancient Israel. She brings to her analysis the precision of an accountant, the judiciousness of a historian, and the passion of an educator. Her work will prove to be an indispensible reference work and an engaging textbook.

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

Professor Stevens has generously provided both the guild and the church a marvelously accessible study of the economic role of the temple in ancient Israel. She brings to her analysis the precision of an accountant, the judiciousness of a historian, and the passion of an educator. Her work will prove to be an indispensible reference work and an engaging textbook.

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

This study presents an entirely new way of looking at the Jerusalem temples and their personnel. Stevens brings to light the most neglected aspect of temple life in most previous scholarship, i.e., the commercial role it played in the culture of its times. She has introduced fresh ways of conceiving its function as the power behind the throne and nation.

John M. Halligan, professor of Bible, St. John Fisher College

Marty E. Stevens holds a PhD in Old Testament from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she worked for 15 years as a CPA in the US, Canada, and Europe. She teaches biblical studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.

Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World: An Introduction, 2nd ed.

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 256

Victor Matthews, a veteran teacher and expert on the world of ancient Israel, introduces students to the Hebrew prophets and their social world. Drawing on archaeology and ancient Near Eastern texts, Matthews examines the prophets chronologically, placing them and their message into historical context. He explores pertinent aspects of historical geography, economic conditions, and social forces that influenced a prophet’s life and message and explains why prophets served an integral purpose in the development of ancient Israelite religion. He also explores how prophets addressed their audience and employed rhetorical methods, images, and metaphors to communicate effectively. Logically organized, clearly written, and classroom friendly, this book meets the needs of beginning as well as advanced students. It is a substantially revised and expanded edition of the successful Social World of the Hebrew Prophets.

This is a user-friendly, insightful introduction to the prophets and their times. It brings together for readers the prophetic books, the figures they represent, and the world that produced them.

Andrew Dearman, professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Matthews’s The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World suits the needs of the college and seminary classroom in exemplary fashion. In it, Matthews sets the biblical prophets in their broader social context and in their specific historical contexts. He describes the phenomenon of prophecy, traces the outlines of its developments in ancient Israel from Moses to Malachi, and sketches the key themes in the preaching of each of the classical prophets. Supplemented by inserts that examine important background issues and a very helpful glossary and couched in readable, direct prose, this introduction sets a high standard.

Mark Biddle, Russell T. Cherry Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

The sheer genius of Victor Matthews as the author of this text, now in its second edition, is his ability to take very dense material and present it in a way that is thoroughly engaging, well researched, and brilliantly written. This study packs a lot of punch in a short amount of space and welcomes both students and scholars alike into the rich world of the ancient Near Eastern prophetic tradition and each of Israel’s prophets. This text is an excellent resource, an indispensable tool for learning, and should be used in every biblical course on the Prophets.

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

My students often have difficulty coming to terms with the Hebrew Prophets because they are so diverse and yet all part of the same phenomenon of prophecy in ancient Israel. Victor Matthews has produced a very readable volume that provides the information students and other readers of the Old Testament need to begin a fruitful journey with the Prophets. He has put the prophetic books in the full context of the Hebrew Bible and in the process helped his readers understand a number of issues in biblical interpretation. His volume demonstrates the value of approaching the prophetic books with attention to their social setting. The volume is a fine beginning point for those who would interpret with integrity the Old Testament prophetic books.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., Baylor University

This [book] is clear and well organized. Sub-headings, highlighted terms, and offset boxes make this text a wonderful pedagogical tool for teaching an introductory course in the prophets. [Matthews’s] primary focus on the prophets’ social world with attention to the various literary forms and techniques found in the prophetic texts is a welcome addition to the collection of texts already written about Israel’s prophets. Without any sacrifice of content, the work is concise, reader-friendly, and thoroughly engaging. This is an excellent resource of scholars, teachers, students, and general readers of the Bible.

Interpretation

Victor H. Matthews (PhD, Brandeis University) is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and a 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.

Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey

  • Author: Richard S. Hess
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 432

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The last several decades have witnessed important discoveries of archaeological and documentary materials from the ancient Near East that shed light on ancient Israel and its religious practices. These extrabiblical materials have had a significant impact on scholarly debates regarding the religion of Israel and the interpretation of the Bible. Until now, however, there have been few introductions that juxtapose these contemporary discoveries with the biblical narrative to help students understand ancient Israelite religions.

Richard Hess provides just that in this accessible account of the discovery of archaeological and textual materials and the debates that have arisen over their importance for biblical studies. After a general introduction to the study of religion, he surveys the field of ancient Israelite and pre-Israelite western Semitic religious traditions. He then turns to consider the biblical literature and how other documentary evidence might enlarge our understanding of ancient Israelite religious practices and beliefs. One of the central scholarly debates concerns the question of when the Israelites developed their monotheistic impulse. After examining the evidence, Hess argues for the early establishment of the monotheistic tradition in ancient Israel.

Hess brings a wealth of knowledge to this study, and scholars, students, and clergy interested in the contemporary study of the ancient Near East and the Old Testament will welcome the expert guidance provided in this illustrated volume.

Having dedicated the last 50 years, full-time, to the study of the Bible and archaeology, I found Richard Hess’s Israelite Religions a veritable tour de force. Not only is it a remarkably inclusive review of major issues in our field but it also presents a well-informed critique of these matters. This comprehensive study attests to the broad erudition of the author and his unusual ability to communicate recondite material in an intelligible manner. This book will serve as an extraordinary resource for a long time; the bibliography alone makes it invaluable. Hess’s control of both ancient and modern languages, as well as anthropology and archaeology, enhances the value of his lucid presentation.

—Philip J. King, professor emeritus of biblical studies, Boston College

This new study by Richard Hess is a scrupulously detailed analysis of the most relevant research on the history of ancient Israel. The author has given ample attention to the main views and approaches to the subject. However, this is more than a review of the current state of the art. Professor Hess gives his own interpretation of the evidence, literary and archaeological. The result is a balanced, thoughtful presentation of the religion(s) of ancient Israel as he sees it (them). Every scholar and advanced student will want to use this erudite but clearly written essay on the religion of ancient Israel.

—Anson F. Rainey, emeritus professor of ancient Near Eastern cultures and Semitic linguistics, Tel Aviv University; adjunct professor of historical geography, Bar Ilan University

Writing from a tradition with high regard for what the Bible knows about ancient Israel, Richard Hess puts Scripture in dialogue with the full range of evidence for Israel’s religious life. In a lucid, accessible text for students, Hess also pushes forward a crucial conversation among scholars about the Bible and the ancient world.

—Daniel E. Fleming, professor of Hebraic and Judaic Studies, New York University

Richard S. Hess, well known for his numerous studies in biblical and ancient Near Eastern topics, now brings his extensive knowledge to bear on ‘Israelite religions.’ The plural form of the title is decisive: everywhere the accent is on the pluriformity and complexity of Israelite religion(s) in various periods and locales. The subtitle is equally critical: Hess surveys an immense array of biblical and archaeological data both judiciously and economically. Throughout the book, Hess’s attention to what may be unique or distinctive about Israelite religion(s) vis-a-vis its cultural congeners is instructive. Moreover, his care to define key terms, his correlation of textual and artifactual material, his awareness of the relationship of Israelite religion to biblical theology, as well as his trademark skill in onomastics—not to mention the useful and extensive bibliography—are among the aspects that make the present book not only welcome but also essential reading on the subject.

—Brent A. Strawn, associate professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University

Richard Hess’s book on Israelite religions displays impressive knowledge of their archaeological and ancient Near Eastern background as well as of the modern scholarly literature (over one thousand items in the bibliography!). Even those who will question some of Hess’s more conservative conclusions will learn much from this fascinating volume.

John Day, professor of Old Testament studies, Oxford University

Echoing the works of William Foxwell Albright and Cyrus Gordon, Richard Hess’s new book on Israelite religion offers a survey of Israelite religion fundamentally based on the framework and claims of the Bible and informed by archaeological evidence and extrabiblical texts. The book provides a clear, conservative treatment of this material from the Middle and Late Bronze Age down through the demise of Judah in 586. To the scholarly discussion of these sources, Hess adds his own expertise, particularly in Bronze Age texts. The field now has a general treatment of Israelite religion produced by a scholar with a strong faith in the Bible’s veracity. Even if readers do not share Hess’s strong trust in either the Bible’s historical claims or his high dating for many biblical texts and traditions, this volume nonetheless presents a good listing of research.

Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University

Richard S. Hess (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary. He is the editor or author of a number of works, including the commentary on Joshua in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series, Family in the Bible, and Israel’s Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature

  • Author: Kenton L. Sparks
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 608

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

The Hebrew Bible represents no mere collection of books but a stunning array of literary genres. To fully illuminate the history and culture of the Old Testament, it is necessary to compare these ancient writings to similar texts written concurrently by Israel’s neighbors.

Beginning with an overview of the important literary archives of the ancient Near East, Sparks provides exhaustive references to the ancient literary counterparts to the Hebrew Bible’s major genres. Surveying the ancient writings found throughout Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Palestine, Sparks provides a brief summary of each text discussed, translating brief portions and linking them to literarily similar biblical passages. Exploring over thirty genres—wisdom, hymns, love poetry, rituals, prophecy, apocalyptic, novella, epic legend, myth, genealogy, history, law, treaty, epigraphic materials, and others—it offers an exemplary guide to the fertile literary environment from which the canonical writings sprung. Rich with bibliographic material, this invaluable catalog enables the reader to locate not only the published texts in their original ancient languages but to find suitable English translations and commentary bearing on these ancient texts. A number of helpful indexes round out this outstanding resource. Providing students with a thorough introduction to the literature of the ancient Near East--and time-pressed scholars with an admirably up-to-date research tool—it will become a syllabus standard for a myriad of courses.

For generations, specialists have begged for a book that would convey the literary richness of the ancient Near East to students of the Bible and of the classics. Kent Sparks—s handy reference guide is now here to fill that need: elegant in presentation, judicious in contents, with precise summaries of opinions, and helpful bibliographically.

Jack M. Sasson, Vanderbilt University

Students and scholars of every level will save days of catalog and preparation time for any one project just by having this ready to hand.

—Daniel Fleming, New York University

In addition to being highly conversant with ancient Near Eastern studies, the discussions show familiarity with contemporary theory in several fields outside of the biblical and ancient Near Eastern fields. The book thus constitutes a companion work to collections of translations of ancient Near Eastern texts . . . and a helpful aid for comparative study in general. . . . This is the sort of book that all scholars of Hebrew Bible should have in their libraries. In this day and age, it is difficult for those involved in comparative research to be equally conversant with all aspects of comparative study. For those who are not engaged in comparative research, this work gives ready access to current research in various biblical genres and their ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian literary counterparts. Whether one works in comparative research or not, this book will undoubtedly provide needed coverage. For teaching purposes, itI will also serve as a great aid. Thanks to this book, ancient Near Eastern texts have never been so accessible for biblical studies. Since this is such a helpful book for both students and professors, one may hope that the author will issue revised editions of this work for decades to come.

Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

Sparks’s fifteen chapters provide a genre-based discussion of ancient Near Eastern texts that in some way contributes to the study of the world, the literature, and the text of the Hebrew Bible. . . . While the primary audience for Sparks’s book is students, it will also serve as a helpful reference guide for biblical scholars.

Old Testament Abstracts

This is the fullest collection sui generis to date. . . . The book is illustrated with a number of maps and charts. The exposition is lucid and clear. The book is a good reference guide for the serious student of biblical literature. Academic libraries of institutions with programs in Bible studies, comparative religion, and comparative literature will be the primary address for this book. I recommend it for the reference shelf both for undergraduate and for graduate students.

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

Kenton L. Sparks (PhD, University of North Carolina) is professor of biblical studies and special assistant to the provost at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books, including Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel.

Product Details

  • Title: Baker Academic Old Testament Bundle (29 vols.)
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Volumes: 29
  • Pages: 9,228