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The Social Roots of Biblical Yahwism (Studies in Biblical Literature) (Studies in Biblical Literature (Society of Biblical Literature)) Hardcover – January, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen L. Cook, Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (1992), Yale University, is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. He has previously authored The Apocalyptic Literature (2003) and Prophency and Apocalypticism: The Postexilic Social Setting (1995).


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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Biblical Literature (Society of Biblical Literature) (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Pub (January 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9004130551
  • ISBN-13: 978-9004130555
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,292,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Stephen L. Cook serves as the Catherine N. McBurney Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Virginia Theological Seminary, the largest of the accredited seminaries of the Episcopal Church. He and his wife Catherine, a psychotherapist, live amid the seminary community on its campus in Alexandria, Virginia with their daughter from China, Rebecca, who attends the campus Butterfly House preschool.

Prior to joining the VTS faculty in 1996, Stephen served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University in New York City for four years. He did his doctoral training in Old Testament at Yale University after having completing the M.Div. degree at Yale's Divinity School, where he also served as an instructor and fellow. His undergraduate work was at Trinity College, Connecticut, where he graduated with honors as a religion major in 1984.

Stephen is the author of several books, including The Apocalyptic Literature (Abingdon, 2003); The Social Roots of Biblical Yahwism (Society of Biblical Literature, 2004); and Prophecy and Apocalypticism (Fortress, 1995). Most recently, he has written Conversations with Scripture: 2 Isaiah (Morehouse, 2008), and "The Season of Epiphany" in New Proclamation Year B, 2008-2009, Advent through Holy Week (Fortress, 2008). His other publications include journal articles, introductions and annotations to biblical books for both the New Oxford Annotated Bible and the Harper Collins Study Bible, and several entries for The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Recently published, The New Interpreter's One Volume Bible Commentary contains his commentaries on three biblical books. He maintains a fascinating Bible Blog on the web.

Stephen has served in several capacities as an officer of the Society of Biblical Literature, most recently as a Regional Coordinator for the guild. He is also the Corporation Representative for Virginia Seminary to the American Schools of Oriental Research and a member of such other professional societies as the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars and the Catholic Biblical Association. He is in high demand around the country as a lecturer, seminar speaker, and workshop leader

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wes Howard-Brook on July 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stephen Cook's latest work brings together several pieces of the Hebrew Bible in supporting his thesis that the Bible contains throughout two basic worldviews in competition with one another. The first, which Cook favors, he calls the "Sinai tradition," found (perhaps surprisingly)in the 8th century prophetic books of Micah and Hosea, the Deuteronomistic History (Deut-2 Kings) the "E" strand of the Pentateuch, and the "Psalms of Asaph" (Ps 50, 73-81). Cook weaves these seemingly desparate texts together in making a solid case for their comprising together over two centuries of consistent proclamation of a rural, agrarian-based, decentralized, tribal, covenant way of life under the rule of YHWH. Cook argues well that the tradition is carried by the rural Levites.

In opposition to this Sinai tradition is the Zion tradition, which supports the opposite social structure, that of the urban, centralized, hierarchical life of Jerusalem and Samaria. This tradition is carried by the urban priests and royal retainers of the capital cities.

Cook shows clearly how it is the Sinai tradition that the Bible truly favors as YHWH's way for YHWH's people. That this is the case is also clear beyond Cook's book in how the New Testament writers almost unanymously call on the Sinai traditions in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah, despite the Davidic and Zion components of popular messianic expectations in the first century.

Cook writes with zest and as the teacher he is, sometimes honoring his students by quoting their papers or other comments. I commend him for recognizing the wisdom of those who have come seeking his wisdom as a scholar, the sign of a truly good teacher.

My only criticisms are relatively minor (I'd like to give the book 4 1/2 stars).
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