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

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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.

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.

Resource Experts
  • Features a wide array of Old Testament study methodologies
  • Includes essays from a variety of scholars
  • The Text of the Old Testament
  • Epigraphic Light on the Old Testament
  • Archaeological Light on the Old Testament
  • Literary Approaches to Old Testament Study
  • Pondering the Pentateuch: The Search for a New Paradigm
  • Historiography of the Old Testament
  • Early Israel in Recent Biblical Scholarship
  • The Historical Study of the Monarchy: Developments and Detours
  • Exile and After: Historical Study
  • Israelite Prophets and Prophecy
  • Wisdom Literature
  • Recent Trends in Psalms Study
  • Recent Studies in Old Testament Apocalyptic
  • Religion in Ancient Israel
  • Opening Windows onto Biblical Worlds: Applying the Social Sciences to Hebrew Scripture
  • Theology of the Old Testament

Top Highlights

“In short, are we to concern ourselves with Israel’s history writing or with writing Israel’s history?” (Page 145)

“In other words, although it is clear that the parent text of the LXX does often represent a text-type that differs from the proto-Masoretic textual tradition, the degree of difference is often much smaller than previously thought.” (Page 24)

“The principle of criticism, for instance, must be defined not in terms of systematic doubt but in terms of a thoughtful appraisal of the evidence in keeping with its source.” (Page 169)

“ seventh-century Aramaic Balaam document from Deir ʿAlla in Jordan” (Page 274)

“We should reject the view that the biblical account has no value in the historical reconstruction of the period. We should also reject the view that the biblical account is all that is sufficient for the process of historical reconstruction. The biblical account is highly selective—and therefore incomplete as a source for historical reconstruction.” (Page 205)

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 I. 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

  • Title: 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

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.


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