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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best written guides for understanding the different literary genres of the Bible. The language used is simple to follow and the explanations and examples presented in the book are clear. Sandy and Giese have managed to take a somewhat complex task and guide the reader into a better understanding of the process of biblical interpretation from a form critical perspective. They compare the process of finding "genres" in a biblical text with making distinctions between "news reports, editorial commentary, or comic strips in a newspaper." Sandy and Giese' book addresses information which is essential for serious readers who want a better understanding of the Bible. The authors discuss the importance of identifying the literary genre to help gain a better understanding of the function and meaning of the biblical text under study. A total of ten different genres are presented with brief summary descriptions and a dedicated chapter for each type. Also, a description of the content and structure of the genre is provided along with step by step instructions on how to interpret the genre within a sample text. A recommended list of readings for further study of genre interpretation is included in the back of each chapter. Other features include a glossary of form critical terms and a scripture index. Although this book addresses the genres found in the Old Testament I have also found it useful in New Testament studies as well. I would strongly recommend this book to any pastor, seminarian, or serious bible student as an exegetical tool for biblical interpretation.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was required reading for an Old Testament course I took at Liberty University. My professor (Ronald Giese) happens to be one of the authors. I appreciated reading the book, and it gave me some good insight into bible interpretation. The main premise of the book is that it is important for readers of the Bible to make 'genre distinction,' also called literary interpretation. In the first chapter Giese writes, "Ignorance of (literary) context leads to some of the worst mistakes of interpretation. On the other hand, familiarity with this context provides a window through which we can greatly increase our understanding of what the biblical authors were trying to say." I believe that this correctly shows the importance the Bible reader puts into udnerstanding the different genres of the Bible.

Chapters one through three introduce the topic and show its importance. The following ten chapters each define and describe ten different types of genres. The last chapter is a practical guide for Bible teachers. In particular, I appreciated the insights the book gave on Job. Interpreting and understanding Job is much easier if study is given literary importance- Job is not really of the narrative genre but more of the wisdom genre. Overall, I found the first three chapters the most helpful. Some of the different genres are very, very similar, thus difficult to distinguish and apply. That is my main complaint about the book. There probably only needed to be between 4 and 6 different types of genres, maybe with the others coming as sub-genres. I also don't like the title of this book, in trying to make a catchy title, I believe they created a title that scares people and misrepresents the book. There are no codes to crack- just use your brain in distinguishing the different kinds of literature that the Bible employs.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2006
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Cracking Old Testament Codes is a very helpful book to understand the different genres of writing that are used in the Old Testament. The premise of the book is that we, as modern English readers fail to understand the use of literary devices and categories in the text of the Old Testament.

The book on the whole does a good job of pointing out general principles about each genre, such as the nature of a proverb as compared to narrative. There are boatloads of false teachings that would be eradicated if their proponents would simply understand what is in this book.

I wouldn't say the book is a must-read, but it's pretty close, not because of its quality (although it is indeed good), but because of the nature of the book. It teaches us what we should already know.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best written guides for understanding the different literary genres of the Bible. The language used is simple to follow and the explanations and examples presented in the book are clear. Sandy and Giese have managed to take a somewhat complex task and guide the reader into a better understanding of the process of biblical interpretation from a form critical perspective. They compare the process of finding "genres" in a biblical text with making distinctions between "news reports, editorial commentary, or comic strips in a newspaper." Sandy and Giese' book addresses information which is essential for serious readers who want a better understanding of the Bible. The authors discuss the importance of identifying the literary genre to help gain a better understanding of the function and meaning of the biblical text under study. A total of ten different genres are presented with brief summary descriptions and a dedicated chapter for each type. Also, a description of the content and structure of the genre is provided along with step by step instructions on how to interpret the genre within a sample text. A recommended list of readings for further study of genre interpretation is included in the back of each chapter. Other features include a glossary of form critical terms and a scripture index. Although this book addresses the genres found in the Old Testament I have also found it useful in New Testament studies as well. I would strongly recommend this book to any pastor, seminarian, or serious bible student as an exegetical tool for biblical interpretation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Great book easy to read. Made reading the New Testament more relatable and able to comprehend.The book is actually more about the old, go figure!
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on November 12, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you are looking for a layman's book to understand the Old Testament, this book is not for you. I wanted to learn how to interpret O.T. literature for my own personal growth and came across a lot of terminology and lengthy explanations that I did not understand. For the average person, you may need to read some excerpts more than once to fully grasp the meanings. This book states that poetry, prose and storytelling/narratives are used a lot in the Old Testament, which is helpful. However, it gives few examples on how to interpret these genres. It sites some passages about Jonah, Jacob, and David, but that is it. How would I know how to interpret something like the great flood, or Adam and Eve? (Is this actual history, poetry, or a story to get a moral across?) You will need another book if you want to understand how to decipher particular stories.
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on May 7, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is an essential book to read for anyone who is looking to study the Bible correctly in full-time ministry. Thankfully this book is written very well and is an easy read, so I would even recommend it to anyone who studies the Bible outside of full-time ministry. "Cracking Old Testament Codes" looks into how the books of the Old Testament are written in different styles of Jewish genres of writing, and is very insightful into how these different styles should be read. A good analogy is given in the book to show that reading different genres of writing in different ways is very important because each genre has a different style and purpose: If you looked at a newspaper today, you would not read it the same way that you read a novel because they have different styles and structures and usually serve a different purpose.

For anyone who has read "How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth", this book will be a good supplement to it.
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on May 2, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Good book for those called to ministry. Shows importance of genre in preaching and how often people mistake genre as something less important.
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on September 10, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Opens up possibilities of things to look for, but doesn't propose one definite answer for each genre of Biblical literature.
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on August 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I use the Spanish translation of this book to teach with in Central America. It's a great book with great content, but I hate the English title. The English title makes it sounds like the author is trying to uncover hidden "codes" in the Bible (along the lines of 'The Bible Code'), but that's not accurate. In reality it is a worthwhile study on the different literary genres in the Bible.
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