This book brings together some of the world’s most exciting scholars from across a variety of disciplines to provide a concise and accessible guide to the Hebrew Bible. It covers every major genre of book in the Old Testament together with in-depth discussions of major themes such as human nature, covenant, creation, ethics, ritual and purity, sacred space, and monotheism. This authoritative overview sets each book within its historical and cultural context in the ancient Near East, paying special attention to its sociological setting. It provides new insights into the reception of the books and the different ways they have been studied, from historical-critical enquiry to modern advocacy approaches such as feminism and liberation theology. It also includes a guide to biblical translations and textual criticism and helpful suggestions for further reading.
Featuring contributions from experts with backgrounds in the Jewish and Christian faith traditions as well as secular scholars in the humanities and social sciences, The Hebrew Bible is the perfect starting place for anyone seeking a user-friendly introduction to the Old Testament, and an invaluable reference book for students and teachers.
John Barton is the Oriel and Laing Professor Emeritus of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford. His many books include A History of the Bible.
"This collection provides a rich introduction to the Hebrew Bible for general readers, and is an invaluable companion for students and scholars."—Publishers Weekly
"A solid guide for students of the Hebrew Bible. Filled with insightful overviews of important literature and introducing important perspectives from which to understand the significance of the texts, this ‘critical companion,' together with other more classical introductions, will surely motivate, encourage and enable serious study in the future."—Donn Morgan, Theology Journal
"A compelling analysis of the document that embraces all phases of biblical scholarship, from every conceivable point of view."—John Mulryan, Cithara
"The book is attractive and an easy read. Written by a group of contemporary scholars, the book will be a great aid to any student of the Old Testament."—Ralph Lee Scott, ARBA
"John Barton has assembled a remarkable team, mixing senior scholars and new voices, to create a sampler of contemporary biblical scholarship. The contributors are predominantly but not exclusively European. The book can serve as an introduction not only to a wide range of major topics but also to the diversity of current scholarship. An ideal complement to more traditional introductions to the biblical books."—John J. Collins, Yale University
"If you are venturing into the Bible for the first time, you can count yourself lucky to have John Barton as your guide."—Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography
"There are contributions here that present this material in ways that provoke reflection and can set the reader thinking in new directions. The book's thematic approach puts it in a category by itself."—Joseph Blenkinsopp, author of Abraham: The Story of a Life