The Old Testament Studies Series Collection presents eight scholarly works on Old Testament/Hebrew Bible issues facing reconsideration in the contemporary theological context. The series provides an outlet for thoughtful debate in the fundamental areas of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible history, theology and literature.
The mid-twentieth century was a period of great confidence in the study of the Hebrew Bible: many historical and literary questions appeared to be settled, and a constructive theological program was well underway. Now, at the beginning of a new century, the picture is very different. Recent years have witnessed an upheaval in the study of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Tenacious pursuit of historical questions, new insights in the application of literary theory, and fresh engagement with Christian and Jewish theology have all contributed to a sense of ferment and change.
These three interrelated areas provide the focus for the series. What can we know of the historical life of ancient Israel? How have modern literary readings shaped biblical texts? How can the Hebrew Bible engage a modern theological audience? This international series, while addressed to professionals in the field, will also provide scholarly resources for upper-level university students, graduate students and other professionals in religion.
In this challenging book Cyril Rodd questions many of the assumptions that lie behind recent studies of Old Testament ethics. He views the “strangeness” of the biblical world and wonders whether there is an Old Testament ethics in the modern sense of the word - finding rather that the Old Testament writers did not regard many of today's ethical dilemmas as problems at all. Dr. Rodd examines all the Old Testament writings on five ethical issues: the poor, war, treatment of animals, ecology and the position of women. He considers their validity and relevance for today and discusses the extent to which they can be referred to for authority - or for inspiration and guidance.
Cyril Rodd is a former Reader at the University of Surrey Roehampton and former editor of The Expository Times.
This is a major study on the book of Deuteronomy by an acclaimed expert in the field. Paying particular attention to the legal passages in Deuteronomy, Professor Rofé seeks to clarify the contents and unity of each section, its literary history, the origin of the single laws and their relation to other kindred laws in other documents of the Pentateuch.
Bringing together different methods of biblical study - traditional Jewish interpretation, classical biblical criticism, form criticism, history of tradition and textual criticism - the author argues that the roots of Deuteronomy lie in monarchial Israel and Judah, that the literary climax belongs to the seventh century BCE, and that the final stages of the text are exilic and early post-exilic.
Alexander Rofé holds the Professor Yitzhak Becker Chair in Jewish Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Can we know how the ancient Israelites conceived of "the good life?" In this his final work, Norman Whybray brings his considerable learning to this question, in a social and theological study of the Hebrew Bible. He discovers that, far from giving a faint or undifferentiated picture of "the good life," the books of the Old Testament each yield a distinct impression of what this life entails, underpinned by divine guidance and protection.
Comprehensive in scope, and marked by Professor Whybray's lucid thought and style, this book is a fitting addition to the work of an illustrious scholar. It will richly reward any reader interested in the social world as depicted in the Bible, and in God's relationship with it.
R. Norman Whybray was Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at the University of Hull.
A groundbreaking study of this important yet sometimes puzzling biblical book. Professor Auld considers the varied witnesses to its ancient text; the meaning of particular words or names; the connections between Joshua and other books of the Bible, especially Judges, Kings and Chronicles; and the history of the interpretation of Joshua from earliest to most recent times.
Anyone who imagines that scholarship has finally unraveled the critical problems of the book of Joshua should be referred to these original and perceptive essays by Graeme Auld; challenging received opinion and setting a fresh agenda for the further study of this book.
—Professor Ernest Nicholson, Oriel College, University of Cambridge
A. Graeme Auld is Professor of Hebrew Bible, University of Edinburgh.
What do the grand stories of Israel and her heroes, as well as the many seemingly mundane incidents found in these narrative stories, contribute to guiding contemporary readers in their daily behavior?
Renowned scholar Gordon J. Wenham offers Story as Torah, a succinct monograph demonstrating how Old Testament narratives can indeed function as “Torah,” informing one’s ethical choices. Wenham examines how certain narrative phenomena – such as the repetition of key words or themes, the overall rhetorical purpose of a book, intertextual correspondence and key contextual indictors of mood – provide clues to the ethical message of the implied author. He uses the books of Genesis and Judges as test cases, examining texts that offer clear moral guidance as well as those in which ethical lesson is dubious. The end result is an accessible book which will help seminarians, pastors and other students and scholars of the Bible use Old Testament narratives more responsibly.
Wenham is not only a thoughtful exegete but a well-versed reader of the literature of Christian ethics.
—Bruce C. Birch, Interpretation
Gordon J. Wenham (Ph.D., Cambridge) is Professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author or editor of ten books, including major commentaries on Leviticus (New International Commentary on the Old Testament) and Genesis (2 volumes, Word Biblical Commentary). He is co-editor of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.
An important contribution to a canonical interpretation of the Hebrew Bible. God's covenant with Israel is one of the most important themes of Old Testament scholarship: “I will be your God, you shall be my people.” Yet this has only rarely been the focus of a comprehensive study.
Professor Rendtorff explores the different ways the covenant formula is used in the Bible, its structural and theological functions, the connections between covenant and election.
Rendtorff’s study of all the passages using the ‘covenant formula’ in biblical order is a helpful contribution to a synchronic reading of the Old Testament text… It will provide students with an excellent introduction to covenant theology in the Bible.
—John Barton, Oxford
This study is one of the most illuminating among those written on the covenant and the covenant formula… Rendtorff has produced a pioneering contribution on covenant theology which cannot be overlooked.
—Zeitschrift fur Katholische Theologie
Rolf Rendtorff is Emeritus Professor of Old Testament, University of Heidelberg.
This project examines two areas where there are important interpretive problems: the composition of the book of Jeremiah and, specifically, the provenance of and ideological functions served by the text of Jeremiah on the one hand; and the redactional interests in prophecy evident in the Deuteronomistic History on the other.
The book argues that two distinct political groups can be seen to vie for theological authority via their literary portrayals of traditions about Jeremiah and prophets generally in the Deutero-Jeremianic prose - a group in Babylon after the deportations of 597 B.C.E. that is attempting to claim political and cultic authority, and a group remaining behind in Judah after 597 that counters the political claims and related interpretive moves made by the Babylonian traditionists. The book then illustrates through analysis of prophetic roles in Jeremiah, Kings, and Deuteronomy 18 that there are substantial and fundamental discontinuities between the view of prophecy and the prophetic word presented in the Deuteronomic texts and the view presented in the Deutero-Jeremianic texts.
The results of the present study challenge the widely accepted scholarly thesis of monolithic redaction of the book of Jeremiah at the hands of the same “Deuteronomists” whose work is evident in the Deuteronomistic History.
Carolyn J. Sharp is Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Yale Divinity School.
The eighteen essays presented in this important volume will orient readers of the Old Testament in three ways. They describe the most significant developments in Old Testament interpretation since the mid-twentieth century. They delineate the dominant trends of the present, exploring the currents that are shaping new directions of interpretation. And, uniquely, they suggest the directions that such interpretation will take at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The volume thus moves beyond chronicling the past and illuminating the present to establishing prospects for the future, by considering the consequences of current trends in scholarship and suggesting what readers of the Old Testament may expect at the beginning of a new century of interpretation.
Written and edited by his friends and colleagues, Old Testament Interpretation: Past, Present and Future honors the life and work of Gene M. Tucker, who retired from the faculty of Candler School of Theology, and was President of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1996.
James Luther Mays is Cyrus M. McCormick Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.
David L. Petersen is Professor of Old Testament at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.
Kent Harold Richards, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Society of Biblical Literature, is also Professor of Old Testament at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.