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Old Testament Parallels (New Revised and Expanded Third Edition): Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East Paperback – January 1, 2007


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Old Testament Parallels (New Revised and Expanded Third Edition): Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East + The Old Testament Story: An Introduction + HarperCollins Study Bible - Student Edition: Fully Revised & Updated
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This collection of Middle Eastern texts, which are analogs to parts of the Old Testament, is comprehensive, arranged in order according to the canonical text that each in some way parallels, and supplemented by notes that point out specific points in common and identify where the Middle Eastern text was found. This volume is an important and convenient supplement to the study of Hebrew scriptures which puts those scriptures in context and enables the reader to discover what is and what is not distinctive in Hebrew scripture. Essential.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

For the undergraduate student and for those engaged in private study, this is strongly recommended as an excellent introduction. -- Theological Book Review

Important, convenient, essential. -- Library Journal

Matthews and Benjamin have done a fine job in sorting through what's accessible and explaining their relevance to Scripture. -- Religious Book Club News

The sourcebook of choice for undergraduate courses in the Old Testament. --Chris Hauer, Westminster College
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press; 3 Rev Exp edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809144352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809144358
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I will very much enjoy this work as I prepare to write my novel.
Maximilian K. Biltz
This is the type of book that is probably best used as a reference book, but worth reading through in its entirety.
Amazon Customer
It is well written and a fantastic shelf resource for the biblical student.
Suzanne Miller aka Laughing Scholar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Elaine G. Nelson on April 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent source to keep handy. It identifies the common ancestry of
much of the biblical stories, and gives their derivation. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun, and originality is a word with little meaning when
ancient tales are told and retold. While the plots remain the same, the characters are different. Proverbs and maxims translate quite readily across cultural lines. An ideal book for the serious student of ancient literature of the near east.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Bess on October 30, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*Old Testament Parallels* is indeed a useful anthology of ANE texts with perspicuous translations for the casual reader. The selections, short albeit, are actually very enjoyable, and as I read them I was reminded of just how beautiful, crude, wise, and diverse the world of ANE literature can be; from the raw vagaries of the Baal cycle, through the mundane social interactions of the Nuzi Texts, to the practical and epigrammatic sapience of Anksheshonq...the parallels are engaging enough on their own without minding their comparisons with the Old Testament at all. Many of the bible passages adjacent to the lines in the ANE selections often don't seem to relate or to be of any real consequence anyway.

Nevertheless it is still a delight when they do. The selections follow the order of the books of the Old Testament, although some of them are misplaced. The 'Stories of Sinuhe' contain striking parallels to Moses' exile in Midianite territory from Egypt and to David and Goliath, but nothing apparently from Joshua-Judges, the section it's found under. Likewise with the 'Gezer Almanac'. And I certainly can't discover what the 'Yavne-Yam Letter' is doing under the prophets section. The authors were also remiss to inform the reader where it is preserved today. I'm inclined to withhold a star, but I'd recommend to anyone.

The book includes three brief outlines of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Israelite history, bibliography for each text and for the pictures, and an index of over 1,300 Old Testament parallels.

Fun Facts:

* Yes, I counted the items in the index out of boredom!

* The island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean is conspicuously missing from the map on p. 177.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the type of book that is probably best used as a reference book, but worth reading through in its entirety. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through the "parallels", although in the majority of instances that word is used very loosely. As the authors make clear in their introduction: "There are genre parallels, motif parallels, social institution parallels, plot parallels, and parallels in historical events."

As you read through the text you will be treated to an introduction to each ancient document that usually discusses it's origin, date, and reason for its inclusion in the book. In addition to this, as you read through each selection you will be treated to referenced biblical texts for comparisons. Although the referenced biblical texts strewn throughout each ancient selection often seemed quite awkward when presented as parallels. I flipped open the book randomly and pulled up an example of this. This particular ancient text reads as follows:

"Then I will travel with you to safe harbor, Then we shall live together forever" pg229

The parallel text is Psalm 94:19 which reads as follows: "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul." KJV.
As you can see, I was left scratching my head as to how this was a parallel, but others are slightly more applicable, dealing with similar topics(ie: food, life, oxen, etc.) as we see in the biblical texts.

Now to the primary topic, the stories/texts themselves! Many of these stories are thematically similar(ie: laments, poems, stories about brothers, laws against crimes, stories about barren women, etc.) to the biblical narratives, but often strikingly different in actual content and intent. The most notable exception to this is the flood story of Gilgamesh.
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56 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Didaskalex VINE VOICE on January 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
"How manifold are thy works! They are hidden before men, Oh sole God, beside whom there is no other.
Thou didst create earth according to thy heart." (Akhenaten hymn/ Psalm 104)

Tanakh in Ancient Texts
Many ancient texts from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia discovered recently as a result of archaeological excavations, shed light and give various sorts of background information for OT books. Many of these texts provide historical information that clarify our knowledge of ancient biblical times. Some of the ancient texts have literary parallels to biblical narratives and could help students understand literary genres, and reconstruct the parallel culture and thought of Levant (ancient east Mediterranean) peoples with whom the Hebrews had sojourned. Those adoptions, parallels or allusions are only confirmations of the active role those Semites developed ultimately their religious thought to monotheism. This faith journey, with numerous contributors from Akhenaten, to Moses, to the prophets is exegetically described as: The history of Salvation.

Hebrew Bible Parallels
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) did not come to expression 'Ex Nihil,' even if still an unconscious belief of many orthodox Jews and fundamental Christians, to come close to the idea of revelation as mechanical dictation. The debate over who wrote the books of the Old Testament and when they were written has raged for over two centuries. While tradition plays a role in answering these questions. Scripture itself makes certain claims about authorship and date. Given in the light of the Exodus, a historical events for Israel; e.g., the Decalogue, when compared with the much older Egyptian Book of the Dead, 'Not have I despised God...Not have I killed...Not have I fornicated...
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