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The Old Testament: Text and Context, 3rd ed.

ISBN: 9781441253279



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.

Resource Experts
  • Highlights the major themes of covenant, universalism, wisdom, and remnant
  • Features tables with key points, important people to remember, and side notes
  • Includes various detailed maps and figures throughout
  • The Premonarchic Period
  • The Early Monarchic Period
  • The Late Monarchic Period
  • The Exile and the Persian Period
  • The Hellenistic Period
  • Concluding Remarks
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

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.


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

  • Title: The Old Testament: Text and Context, 3rd ed.
  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews and James C. Moyer
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 368

The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical 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 Word of God.

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 Studying the Ancient Israelites and the best-selling 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.


2 ratings

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  1. Ross Purdy

    Ross Purdy


    Portrays Israel as borrowing and concocting material to create the Bible. Appears to be the opinions of atheists.

  2. John Vignol

    John Vignol