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Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction Paperback – January 1, 1984

58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lawrence Boadt, CSP, is an ordained priest in the Paulist Fathers, and professor emeritus of Scripture Studies at the Washington Theological Union. He has written and spoken widely on Old Testament topics, and currently serves as the president and publisher of Paulist Press in Mahwah, NJ.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press (January 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809126311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809126316
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Miss Jane on February 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is probably the best Inrto to the OT I've seen. It is highly readable, the suggested scripture readings are excellent, and one really does marvel at how neatly themes are woven to the entire Old Testament, almost to the point of being tied up with a bow! Readers who take from this book that its author sees biblical texts as "not inspired by God" would do well to read it again! The whole point of the book is to show how the Israelites used their historical experiences as a lens through which to view their relationship with God, and ultimately God's relationship with all of mankind. As such, it traces the evolution of the development of the biblical texts through Israel's history. Of course Israelites were influenced by other cultures: they were continually surrounded by, at war with, and often oppressed by them! It would be a very strange thing for these influences NOT to be evidenced in the text! Granted, as witnessed in my recent "Intro to the OT Class" that used this book as a primary text, the need to separate "faith" and "history" temporarily to see how these books developed is a daunting undertaking; however, one's individual faith can only be enhanced by realization that it was Israel's faith in God that provided the impetus for the eventual writing down of oral tradition in the first place.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Robert Wormley on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Boadt's book is a masterpiece of introducing critical, theological methods to the professional or casual theologian. It is simply the best OT book I've read and several friends that I have recommended it to have agreed. Although it was intended to be graduate level, it is being used increasingly at the undergraduate level, even at some more traditionally fundamentalist schools.
Boadt is Catholic? I only know that from the reviews, and it is a testimony to his scholarship and objective approach to theology that you will not notice his Catholicism from reading this work. He is not a liberal either, I would best describe him as neo-evangelical in that he is not an inerrantist but neither is he a secular scholar. His love and respect for the Bible shows in his treatment of it. Although he is not afraid to utilize critical techniques to deal with issues of date, authorship and meaning of the Bible, he is not a text-critic by profession and so avoids that fields' tendency to dismember the Bible from over strenuous application of their pecular model.
I believe the best part of the books are his explanation of Jonah as in the genre of "Hebrew comedy" and his introduction to and application of source crit (JEPD) to the Torah. I never understood how overwhelming is the case for JEPD nor did I understand why the theory is so compelling until I read Boadt. He has converted me to an understanding of source criticism and has greatly matured and formed my theology.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By G. Byrne on June 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm writing this in response to some of the other reviews you have received. I know both Fr. Boadt and the book well. I had Fr. Boadt in graduate school and we used his text, and I now use it to teach adults in parishes about the OT. While the book could use updating (it is 15 years old and much has happened in that time), it is a fine, informative work. Anyone who thinks Boadt does not see divine inspiration at work in the Bible is reading the book with blinders on. I recommend it highly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin W. Parker on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
My reading of the Bible has had three levels of accompaniment. The first consists of the annotations of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which tend to be brief explications of bits of the text that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend within the context of the writer. The second is Asimov's Guide to the Bible, which goes into somewhat greater detail and, in particular, is quite good at providing the necessary historical and geographic background.

The third is this book, which goes into considerable depth with not only the basic factual background, but also the cultural and literary background. Though written by a devout believer (a Catholic), he is not someone who believes in the literal truth of the Bible, but follows modern scholarship in teasing out the various strands of text: the J, E, and P source texts, in particular.

The book is divided into two sections and numerous chapters. The first section provides a general overview in four chapters. The first discusses the text itself, why we should read it, and its meaning for us today, and lesser issues such as the merits of various translations. Chapter 2 provides a general geographic and historical overview, discussing the peoples of that time and where and when they lived and prospered. The third chapter discusses Biblical archeology, how it works, and what sort of background it can provide. And Chapter 4 goes into the literary aspects of the writings, from the difficulties translators encounter to how the texts were considered at the time they were written down.

The bulk of the book, however, focuses on key portions of the text in turn, explaining their context and significance, and clarifying aspects that we moderns might find perplexing.
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