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Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 2nd Edition Hardcover – Illustrated, September 3, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Since its publication in 1982, Old Testament Survey has served as the standard textbook on the background, content, literary quality, and message of the Old Testament. The second edition of this excellent work has been thoroughly revised and updated to take into account new research in the field of Old Testament studies. The book now also includes important new contributions from six leading biblical studies scholars: Leslie C. Allen, James R. Battenfield, John E. Hartley, Robert L. Hubbard Jr., John E. McKenna, and William B. Nelson Jr. Reflecting the best of evangelical scholarship, Old Testament Survey provides a comprehensive study of the nature and contents of each of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and also considers the historical data and theological themes relevant to the Hebrew Scriptures. Part 1 covers the five books of the Pentateuch. Part 2 studies the books of the Prophets, with special consideration given to the birth and history of Israel's monarchy, the role of prophets and prophecy, and the nature of Hebrew poetry. Part 3 examines the Writings, including a special study of wisdom literature in general. Part 4, which has been relocated from the front of the book to the back, contains studies of various background themes necessary for understanding the Old Testament: "The Authority of the Old Testament for Christians", "Revelation and Inspiration", "The Concept of Canon", "Formation of the Old Testament", "Geography", "The Chronological Puzzle", "Archaeology", and "Messianic Prophecy". All of the revisions and enhancements undertaken in this volume will make Old Testament Survey even more serviceable for college and seminary use as well as for study byscholars, pastors, and interested lay readers.

About the Author

William Sanford LaSor(1911-1991) was the professor emeritus of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.


David Allan Hubbard (1928-1996) was president emeritus and professor emeritus of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.


Frederic William Bush is Senior Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 877 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans; 2nd edition (September 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802837883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802837882
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on August 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought that this was a really interesting textbook. The authors reveal the message of each Old Testament book, while discussing some of the scholarly issues surrounding each part of the Old Testament (such as the JEDP theory). Unfortunately William Lasor passed away in 1991, so Hubbard (who is dead now too) and Bush recruited six other OT scholars to complete the revision. This may be one of the reasons why the authors ride the fence on issues such as whether or not we can take the numbers in Numbers literally, the number of Isaiah's, the historical worthiness of Joshua and Jonah, and the happenings surrounding the Exodus from Egypt. The authors also seem to lean toward the book of Jonah being a parable rather than actual history, although they don't take a really strong stand on that, either.

The reviewer who wrote that this book supports the JEDP theory was mistaken: In fact, the authors predict that this theory will eventually be out of vogue with scholarship. What the authors do affirm is that Moses was originally responsible for the Pentateuch and that through the centuries, the community revised and updated it.

And contrary to an earlier reviewer, I didn't find the book tedious at all: It was very well written and very interesting throughout. I especially appreciated the articles at the end about the Authority of the Old Testament for Christians, Messianic prophecy, and the chronological puzzle.

In short, I recommend this book, only wishing that the authors would take a stand on some of the issues discussed above.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After the founding pastor of my church returned to seminary to pursue his doctoral studies, he recommended this book to better understand the theological foundation of Christianity. He wisely suggested to first read the background in chapters 44-49, followed by chapters 1-15 to get the big picture on Torah and history. Then comes the survey of The Prophets in chapters 16-30, the glorious encounter with The Writings in chapters 31-43 and finally, archeology (chapter50) and messianic prophecy (chapter 51).

Over the course of nearly a year, I read this book alongside the Old Testament. I experienced what the first Ethiopian Christian must have felt as Philip explained the book of Isaiah to him in Acts 8. These three scholarly authors helped me see things I never knew existed, which positioned the gospel in a new way.

As the hearts of the pilgrims en route to Emmaus burned within them as Jesus opened the same Scriptures to them, I gained a deeper understanding and yearning. The New Testament Letter to the Hebrews now makes much more sense, and I am better able to see how OT prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. My subsequent visit to the Holy Land was enriched by knowing the geography, history and theology of the Old Testament that I gained from this survey.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used this as a textbook for a seminary Old Testament class. I was surprised almost immediately at the non-dogmatic nature of it, and by some of the statements in it that would put many emotional conservative Christians up in arms. The authors are objective, although it is clear at the same time that they do believe the Bible. All three of the original authors went to Fuller Theological Seminary, and each of them read and approved each of the chapters that the others wrote (which I researched because of several surprisingly controversial statements--surprising for most conservative evangelicals--regarding issues, especially the inerrancy of the Bible). The couple other reviews I read are right: it looks like the authors take some Old Testament books to be allegorical rather than historical, and they present very good evidence for doing so; although as other reviewers also said, this is not stated explicitly. I would give the book 4.5 stars if possible. It's a keeper.
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Format: Hardcover
Without blabbering on about the evangelical theological leaning of each chapter I thought I'd write an actual review of this book rather than attempt to debate the authors' theology. First off, the book is a great survey. It is a bit short at times and a bit simplistic around some of the prophets (the sections on Jonah and Haggai for example are far too basic) but it is always fair and contains some great visual aids, charts, photographs and organization. The book is set up simplistically and is a must for first year theological students. The only real problem I have ever had with this text book is that I have never been a fan of the index (which is far too short).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all, remember that this book is presented as a survey, not a theology. As such, don't expect it to come out with all guns blazing, standing up for any particular theological perspective. It is a useful introductory-level text for students starting out in OT study. It is not a devotional work. It will help inform the student of many of the live issues in OT scholarship, and point them in some useful directions for further investigation.

The kindle edition is reasonable but not great. The contents are fully indexed, including chapter sections, which is great. Diagrams, charts and tables have been scanned from a print copy and inserted clumsily and crookedly. I had trouble viewing them on my old DX so I imagine any of the standard size kindles would be even more problematic. I resorted to viewing diagrams on my PC instead. There is also the usual fashionable plethora of somewhat vaguely relevant photographs of archaeological objects scattered throughout that really just break up the text. Maps are often inserted sideways for some reason. However these problems don't make the book unreadable as in many worse kindle editions. I would recommend the book to a college level student.
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