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The Old Testament as Literature: Foundations for Christian Interpretation

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In the first of a three-volume project covering the foundations of Old Testament interpretation, a leading scholar explores the language and literature of the Old Testament as keys to understanding the biblical text.

Tremper Longman has studied and taught the Old Testament and its interpretation for four decades. Now, in a planned three-book project, he presents his mature thoughts on the essentials of Old Testament interpretation.

This first volume explores the importance of reading the Old Testament as literature. We need to recognize that each culture tells its stories and writes its poems in different ways. To read and understand the Old Testament texts the way the ancient authors intended, we need to be aware of the conventions of Hebrew storytelling and poetry. In part one, dealing with literary theory, Longman investigates how texts create meaning, the history of the study of the Old Testament as literature, and how genre dictates reading strategy. He explores the Hebrew conventions of both narrative and poetry in conversation with contemporary literary analysis. Part two delves into practice, using the tools gained in part one to look at and interpret a variety of Old Testament narratives and poetry.

Longman’s accessible writing and balanced judgments make this book suitable for the classroom and the church.

  • Investigates how texts create meaning
  • Examines how genre dictates reading strategy
  • Explores the importance of reading the Old Testament as literature
Tremper Longman III

Tremper Longman III serves as Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He has written over 35 books, including commentaries on Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Nahum, and Revelation. His books have been translated into 18 different languages. In addition, as a Hebrew scholar, he is one of the main translators of the popular New Living Translation, and has served as a consultant on other popular Bible translations, including The Message, the New Century Version, the Christian Standard Bible, and the Common Bible. He has also edited and contributed to a number of study Bibles and Bible dictionaries, most recently The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

He earned his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, his MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary, and both his MPhil and PhD from Yale University. Dr. Longman and his wife, Alice, have three sons and eight grandchildren.


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