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An Introduction to the Old Testament: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible

March 2010, ©2010, Wiley-Blackwell
An Introduction to the Old Testament: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible (EHEP002137) cover image
This comprehensive, introductory textbook is unique in exploring the emergence of the Hebrew Bible in the broader context of world history. It particularly focuses on the influence of pre-Roman empires, empowering students with a richer understanding of Old Testament historiography.
  • Provides a historical context for students learning about the development and changing interpretations of biblical texts
  • Examines how these early stories were variously shaped by interaction with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic empires
  • Incorporates recent research on the formation of the Pentateuch
  • Reveals how key biblical texts came to be interpreted by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths
  • Includes numerous student-friendly features, such as study questions, review sections, bibliographies, timelines, and illustrations and photos
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List of Figures vi

List of Maps viii

List of Boxes ix

Preface xii

Acknowledgments xiv

List of Abbreviations xvi

Overview of the Historical Period xvii

Timeline xviii

Prologue: Orientation to Multiple Bibles and Multiple Translations 1

1 Studying the Bible in Its Ancient Context(s) 15

2 The Emergence of Ancient Israel and Its First Oral Traditions 33

3 The Emergence of the Monarchy and Royal and Zion Texts 53

4 Echoes of Past Empires in Biblical Wisdom, Love Poetry, Law, and Narrative 71

5 Narrative and Prophecy amidst the Rise and Fall of the Northern Kingdom 91

6 Micah, Isaiah, and the Southern Prophetic Encounter with Assyria 115

7 Torah and History in the Wake of the Assyrian Empire 131

8 Prophecy in the Transition from Assyrian to Babylonian Domination 153

9 Laments, History, and Prophecies after the Destruction of Jerusalem 165

10 The Pentateuch and the Exile 187

11 The Torah, the Psalms, and the Persian-Sponsored Rebuilding of Judah 207

12 Other Texts Formed in the Crucible of Post-Exilic Rebuilding 229

13 Hellenistic Empires and the Formation of the Hebrew Bible 245

Glossary 264

Index 273

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David M. Carr is Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Professor Carr's book-length publications include From D to Q: A Study of Early Jewish Interpretations of Solomon's Dream at Gibeon (1991); Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary Approaches (1996); The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality and the Bible (2003); and Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of  Scripture and Literature (2005).
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  • Offers readers a balanced and informative introduction to the forces that shaped the Old Testament by exploring the emergence of the Hebrew Bible in the broader context of world history.
  • Provides a historical context for students learning about the development and changing interpretations of biblical texts, empowering them with a richer understanding of the Old Testament
  • Examines how these early stories were variously shaped by interaction with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic empires
  • Incorporates recent research on the formation of the Pentateuch – the first introductory textbook of its kind to do so – and reveals how key biblical texts came to be interpreted by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths
  • Includes numerous student-friendly features, including study questions, review sections, bibliographies, timelines, and illustrations and photos
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"Meanwhile, this is a worthwhile and encouraging introduction: inevitably technical, it is sufficiently helpful in its layout and presentation for a student to use it on her own, without reference to a course tutor." (New Directions, 1 March 2011)

"Carr's book is an excellent introduction to what mainstream (non-evangelical) scholars have come to believe about ancient Israel's literary history." (International Review of Biblical Studies, 2010)

"I recommend this book to advanced students who already have a good grasp of the text of the Bible in their own mother tongue translations; they will be able to apreciate the nuanced meanings and implications of this book better; they will be challenged to think through the details that are presented here; on the whole they will be thankful for their leaning experience." (Theological Book Review, 2010)

"An innovative approach to the Hebrew Bible. Instead of surveying the Bible book-by-book beginning with Genesis, this work introduces readers to the major works of the Bible by timeframe. With this approach, it is easier for readers to see both how biblical works are products of their times and how they respond to their times - and to some degree, to one another ... A very readable introduction and a model of judicious synthesis."
Mark S. Smith, New York University

"Carr’s volume provides a very readable and informative introduction to the study of the Hebrew Bible for beginning theological students. He combines a very useful analysis of the historical and social contexts in which the texts of the Bible were written together with an insightful account of the contexts in which they have been read in both Judaism and Christianity."
Marvin A. Sweeney, Claremont Graduate University

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Purchase Options
Paperback   
An Introduction to the Old Testament: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8467-0
296 pages
March 2010, ©2010
$43.95   BUY

Hardcover   
An Introduction to the Old Testament: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8468-7
296 pages
March 2010
$107.95   BUY

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