Much of the Old Testament seems strange to contemporary readers. However, as we begin to understand how ancient people viewed the world, the Old Testament becomes more clearly a book that stands within its ancient context as it also speaks against it. John Walton provides here a thoughtful introduction to the conceptual world of the ancient Near East.
Walton surveys the literature of the ancient Near East and introduces the reader to a variety of beliefs about God, religion, and the world. In helpful sidebars, he provides examples of how such studies can bring insight to the interpretation of specific Old Testament passages. Students and pastors who want to deepen their understanding of the Old Testament will find this a helpful and instructive study.
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including A Survey of the Old Testament,Old Testament Today, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament.
Part 1: Comparative Studies
1. History and Methods
2. Comparative Studies, Scholarship, and Theology
Part 2: Literature of the Ancient Near East
3. Summary of the Literature of the Ancient Near East
Part 3: Religion
4. The Gods
5. Temples and Rituals
6. State and Family Religion
Part 4: Cosmos
7. Cosmic Geography
8. Cosmology and Cosmogony
Part 5: People
9. Understanding the Past: Human Origins and Role
10. Understanding the Past: Historiography
11. Encountering the Present: Guidance for Life--Divination and Omens
12. Encountering the Present: Context of Life--Cities and Kingship
13. Encountering the Present: Guidelines for Life--Law and Wisdom
14. Pondering the Future on Earth and after Death Postscript