Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study

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Essential to a proper understanding of the Old Testament is a knowledge of the political, historical, and theological environment of the ancient Near East. While there is an abundance of material explaining this environment, primary source texts are often unavailable or inaccessible to the beginning Old Testament student.

This volume in the Encountering Biblical Studies series fills that void. Readings from the Ancient Near East takes the student through a wide variety of primary source texts from the ancient Near East that illuminate every book of the Old Testament. It is the companion volume to Encountering the Old Testament, coauthored by Bill Arnold and Bryan Beyer.

The editors have compiled this volume with the beginning Old Testament student in mind. The selections are intended to move a learner with little or no knowledge of the ancient Near East to a basic understanding of its significant texts and authors.

Texts spanning more than two thousand years include Sumerian creation accounts, epic literature from Mesopotamia, cultic ritual texts from Egypt, and prophetic references from Syria. Readings from the Ancient Near East will surely become a standard text for professors, students, pastors, Sunday school teachers, and serious lay readers.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Considering these works, it seems fair to say that the publisher's "Encountering Biblical Studies" series will make a useful contribution to a reader's biblical knowledge. The series, designed for undergraduate college courses in religion but useful for educated lay readers as well, is written from a very conservative or evangelical perspective and provides good examples of that approach. Aside from expository volumes like Hagner's, which address individual books of the Bible, the series consists of two surveys treating the Old and New Testaments plus two collateral volumes of readings aimed at placing the Testaments in historical context. With Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study, Arnold and Beyer (coauthors, Encountering the Old Testament) provide a selection of 91 documents from other cultures surrounding Israel and thus inform the reader of the wider cultural, religious, and social context in which the Old Testament documents were composed. Each selection is preceded by brief comments that make clear the background and content of the text. They are arranged in the same order as the books of the Old Testament and are collected under headings such as "Creation and the Flood" and "Law Codes." An excellent selection by the editors helps the reader compare and contrast biblical material with other readings from the same region. The book by Hagner (George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary) is not a verse-by-verse exposition but a chapter-by-chapter summary of the major themes of the New Testament Book of Hebrews. Hagner also includes commentary on how this applies to the Christian life. Each chapter is preceded by an outline, a list of supplemental reading from other biblical books, and suggested objectives for student learning. At the end of each chapter is a list of study questions, key terms, and a bibliography for further reading. A select bibliography, glossary, Scripture index, and subject index add to the usefulness of the volume. Both books are recommended for libraries looking to supplement their collection of evangelical books related to the study of the Bible.-David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801022920
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: Encountering Biblical Studies
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 405,572
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill T. Arnold (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Bryan E. Beyer (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Columbia International University Seminary and School of Missions.

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Table of Contents

List of Readings 6
Series Preface 8
Introduction 9
Part 1 Pentateuch
1. Creation and the Flood 13
2. Tower of Babel 71
3. Ancestral Customs 72
4. Epic Literature 75
5. Covenants and Treaties 96
6. Law Codes 104
7. Cultic Texts 118
Part 2 Historical Books
8. Royal Records from Mesopotamia 137
9. Chronicles and Other Historiographic Lists 150
10. Non-Hebrew Monumental Inscriptions 160
11. Letters 166
12. Other Hebrew Inscriptions 171
Part 3 Poetic Books
13. Wisdom Literature 175
14. Love Poems 192
15. Hymns and Prayers 194
Part 4 Prophetic Books
16. Prophecies, Visions, and Apocalyptic 207
17. Divination and Incantation Texts 218
18. Lamentations 222
Notes 227
Bibliography 232
Acknowledgments 235
Index 237
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