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A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: 2nd Edition Paperback – September 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is one of today's preeminent interpreters of Scripture.



Bruce C. Birch is Dean and Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. He is a contributing author to volume II of the New Interpreter's Bible and The Old Testament: A Theological Introduction.

2001 TERENCE E. FRETHEIM is Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and has been on the faculty of 7 seminary schools, including Princeton, Graduate Theological Union, Vancouver and McCormick. He has authored or contributed to eighteen books, four by Abingdon and a forthcoming commentary on Jeremiah.

David L. Petersen is Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Professor Petersen is a distinguished Old Testament scholar. His current research focuses on the book of Genesis and on prophetic literature. During 2004, Petersen served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Dr. Petersen has written, coauthored, or coedited a number of scholarly and popular books and articles. He was the senior Old Testament editor for The New Interpreter's Bible.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; 2 edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068706676X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687066766
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bruce Birch is Dean Emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary where he served 38 years as Professor of Old Testament and 12 years as Academic Dean. His books and articles range from scholarly works to publications aimed at enriching the life of the church for clergy and laity. His PhD was earned at Yale University in 1970, and he is ordained in the United Methodist Church. He continues to write for popular and scholarly audiences from his home in Frederick, MD.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Melissa on November 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm using this book for an Old Testament class at seminary, but it is so much more than just a textbook to me. The authors work to discuss the OT from many viewpoints using a number of different types of criticism. I love the way that the book does not shy away from difficult issues in the Old Testament, such as violence and sacrifice, but rather helps the reader to understand the context of the Biblical passages as well as exposing him to classic and contemporary interpretations of those passages. The book is clear, well-organized, and very readable. I appreciate that the book does not seem to have an "agenda," but rather that it seeks to bring theology and spirituality into a discussion of the Old Testament - something that many treatements of the OT do not include. For a Christian, this book is essential in being able to link the theology of the Israelites to the theology of modern-day Christianity. A must-read for anyone wanting to broaden their understanding of the Old Testament.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Pierson on December 14, 2008
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The authors know their stuff, and I'd thoroughly recommend what I've read of their individual scholarly work. However, having just plowed through this book in a seminary class, I'd have to say there's something peculiarly dull and lifeless about it. The main theological themes seem adequately covered, and the authors go to pains to highlight the diversity of theological approaches canonized in the Old Testament. But despite many inherently interesting topics, the writing is stiff.

One other critique: despite acknowledging the centrality of the exilic experience to the formation of the canon, the author's choose to devote relatively little space to the related literature. As a result, the book seems to hurry to its close.

Overall, this book is certainly adequate to it task, it's just not inspired or inspiring.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CPT P. on May 19, 2007
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This work is a seminary-level introduction to the Old Testament that bridges the gap between the academic and the confessional study of the Bible. Birch's much-needed approach is founded upon historical-critical scholarship, but it focuses primarily upon the biblical text as theological witness. Welcomed attention is given to how the OT functions theologically for the contemporary community of faith. This book's most likely place will be as a supplementary textbook that is used alongside a more traditional introductory text.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Mahler on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
For the person interested in relating the message of the Old Testament scriptures to present day issues, especially in the area of social justice, this volume offers provocative insights based on sound scholarship. It kick-starts further independent thinking on these issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben on November 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A lot of scholarly theological work is dry and one wonders whether or not the authors believe. Not so with this work. The authors clearly write from a standpoint of devotion mixed with rigorous scholarship. The work is structured in historical sections rather than by books, giving a welcome Biblical Theological (big picture) perspective to the writing. The authors are clearly not afraid to apply textual scholarly methods to a sacred text, and the outcome is convincing and powerful.
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Great content for Old Testament studies. I used the Kindle version for a introductory seminary course. Page numbers seem to match the printed version which helps follow along in the class. However, there is no link for the table of contents, which makes it harder to find the beginning of chapters. Also, some of the maps and other images in the book are not easy to read. If you need this book for a class, I would go with the print version until the images are updated.
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Great and knowledgeable author and speaker. Dr. Birch is able to bring a right brain approach to the works of the Bible. An overview that has speared our family to study the Bible again with greater understanding of the Bible's importance in history and in our lives life. We are grateful for his insightful understanding of the Bible. Judith Stover MA, MED and Lt Commander Dwight Avis, Jr
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I am a student of Pastoral Ministry at the Masters level. I have found the work done in this book, with the citings and notes to be of extreme value to me and my writings. This book is helpful to any level of reader because of the clear way it explains and uses graphs and pictorials. Worth the buy to keep in your library.
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