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The BEST one-volume intro to OT studies!
on February 21, 2004
R.K. Harrison's monumental single-volume "Introduction to the Old Testament" packs in everything you need to get started with a serious study of the Hebrew Scriptures. You will be acquainted especially with the history of scholarly criticisms (e.g. the Graf-Wellhausen JEPD stuff), archaeology, Ancient Near Eastern cultures and languages, book-by-book criticisms, development of theology in the OT era, etc. etc.
Over my years of studying the OT, I have noticed the ever-widening gap between the pew and the academia. The average Church-goer is woefully uninformed regarding issues of OT interpretation. Zealous readers who desire to get more out of their Bible-reading will probably be boggled by the amount of information and views/counter-views of any Critical Commentaries. Most of the time, they have to struggle to understand what was the "big deal" in all the endless arguments of scholars in the said commentaries (I know I did!). Harrison puts all the necessary views/counter-views in one convenient package to acquaint the serious reader with the "esoterica" of the academia.
Harrison hails from the traditional-conservative position. However, he gives ample ground for the presentation and careful consideration of the views of "higher critics" and liberal scholars... all with an objectivity that is laudable in this age of strawberry-flavoured "devotionals". He speaks his mind in many instances - but more with the aim of stimulating his reader to think rather than to convince you of the "infallibility" of traditional-conservative views. All the above reasons make this the BEST single-volume introduction to a lifelong serious study of the Hebrew Scriptures.