This innovative textbook at long last provides an Old Testament survey for undergraduate students that goes beyond basic content. The book attempts to balance the literary, historical, and theological issues pertaining to each individual book and to the Old Testament as a whole. The main portion of the survey treats each book of the Old Testament in the order of the English canon. This information does not simply rehash the biblical material, but assumes that the Scriptures are being read alongside the survey. The book focuses its primary attention on the purpose and message of each book and attempts to show how the literary structure of each one has been used to accomplish the author's purpose. The survey also introduces readers to the issues of hermeneutics (general and special), history (Israelite and Near Eastern), archaeology, canon, geography, Old Testament theology (biblical and systematic), and critical methodologies. All these issues are dealt with in separate chapters at a basic introductory level that never allows the reader to lose sight, as it were, of the forest while wandering through the trees. In addressing critical issues of date and authorship, the survey avoids a polemical stance. Hill and Watson seek to depend on the evidence of the text rather than on presuppositions to substantiate their views. Their commitment to the authority of the biblical text results in a book that, while notably evangelical, is not always traditional. The authors approach the survey mindful of two complicating factors in Old Testament study. First, God's revelation did not come by way of the English language or through Western culture, and therefore we today have to work carefully to receive the message clearly. Second, even when we are listening, we have a tendency to be selective about what we hear or to try to make the message conform to our ideas. The solution is to allow the Bible to speak for itself. The informed reader will find much innovation here and a keen awareness of current scholarship relating to the Old Testament. Above all, this textbook will bring a new vigor and excitement to the Old Testament as readers learn to discover its story for themselves and see how to understand it as a substantial part of God's self-revelation to humankind. This survey is well illustrated with maps, charts, and photographs. Additional features are the questions for study and the annotated reading list at the end of each chapter.
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