An Introduction to the Old TestamentSacred Texts and Imperial Contexts of the Hebrew Bible
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
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
"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)
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).
Offering readers a balanced and informative guide to the forces that shaped the Old Testament and methods for study of it, this comprehensive text explores the emergence of the Hebrew Bible in the broader context of world history. It particularly focuses on the way the Hebrew Bible was shaped by its interaction with ancient empires, empowering students with a richer understanding of the Old Testament. In charting the development and impact of the work that forms the core of Judeo-Christian belief, the author examines how these early stories were variously shaped by contact with the Mesopotamian and Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic empires. He explores the historical context of the varied readings of the Old Testament, revealing how the Bible came to be interpreted by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. This introductory text engages students by placing the development and reception of biblical texts in their historical context – enabling them to explore the formation of the Hebrew Bible and also its subsequent interpretation. Numerous reader-friendly features are incorporated throughout, including study questions, review sections, bibliographies, timelines, and illustrations and photos.
"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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