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Understanding the Old Testament (5th Edition) 5th Edition

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0130923806
ISBN-10: 013092380X
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Editorial Reviews


"I have been using Understanding the Old Testament as a required text with college sophomores, and as a recommended aid for M. A. students, for many years now.  The high level of scholarship and writing, and the clarity with which complex material is organized for the students, are its two main attractions for me.  Students appreciate the help of a clear text that guides them through a large volume of complex material.  I appreciate the way the textbook gives the students a kind of road-map, so that I can spend class time on other things."--Mary Callaway, Fordham University


"Since I have been using this book, student complaints are down.  It has also given me the freedom to concentrate on the issues of primary interest to me because it covers the material so well...The style, level of detail, examples and so on interest my students, and even those students with little background can follow it"--Harvey Hill, Berry College

From the Publisher

Presents a study of the Old Testament by interweaving historical, archeological, literary, and religious perspectives. The book traces the story of the people of Israel from the Exodus in the time of Moses through the dawn of the Common Era. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 5 edition (March 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 013092380X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130923806
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By William B. Jones on September 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Throughout his long life of service to church and academy, Bernhard Anderson updated his textbook, "Understanding the Old Testament," for both a changing readership and a changing world of Biblical interpretation. One hopes that, with his passing on in late 2007, his work will continue through the efforts of his co-authors. A word on the somewhat confusingly titled recent editions of this work follows.

The newest, 5th edition, was published in 2006, with co-authors Steven Bishop and Judith Newman (ISBN 01392380X). The original 4th edition, authored by Bernhard Anderson alone, was the blue hardcover edition of 1986 (ISBN 0139359257). This was followed by an "Abridged 4th edition" published in paperback in 1997, assisted by Katheryn Pfisterer Darr (ISBN 0139483993). Searching by using the ISBN numbers for the respective versions noted may help in getting the edition you want.

Anderson's brief, introductory study guide, "The Unfolding Drama of the Bible," has also been updated, as has his introduction to the Psalms, "Out of the Depths." His understanding of the covenantal theology of the Hebrew Scriptures as it may be extended to Christian theology is covered in-depth his "Contours of Old Testament Theology."
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Format: Paperback
Bernard Anderson's book titled UNDERSTANDING THE OLD TESTAMENT is a well written explanation of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible or Tanak)that explains the gradual development of Hebrew Monotheisem from a family God to a universal Diety. The book gives both clear explanations of changes of beliefs and the historical background in Palestine and Judea.

Prof. Anderson begins this book with the TORAH or the first five books of the Bible. He effectively explains the Documentary Hypothesis that four literary traditions composed the TORAH. These Anderson describes these sources as E, J, P, and D. The background to these sources consists of traditions originating in Mesopotamia(E Source), Egypt and Palestine(J Source), the Priestly Class( the priests), and the Law Codes(Ten Commandments for example). Anderson argued that the TORAH and other books of the Old Testament (OT for the sake of convenience)were based on these traditions. Basically the entire OT consisted of a redaction and editing of these sources to include those who held to the different literary traditions.

Anderson continued to emphasize that G-d was bascially a tribal Diety in the TORAH and in the book of Joshua. Prof. Anderson is clear that some of the events in Joshua were exaggerated such as the destruction of Jericho. The Ancient Hebrews were the area of Jericho c. the 13th.-12th. centuries BC. Yet archeological examinations reveal that Jericho was destroyed by an earthquake by c. 2200 BC and "was a heap of ruins" (p 89) by the time the Hebrews arrived there. Also later Hebrew scribes
had to moderate the blood thirsty narratives of Joshua.

The TORAH and the Book of Joshua showed contempt for urban life and an appreciation of agricultrual culture. Prof.
Read more ›
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Greenmoviecat on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No question the Old Testament is a great read, but face it, the original audience for this work is long dead and buried. Anderson's standard text on the world of the Old Testament is excellent in bringing the ancient world and the context for the collection that is the Old Testament to light. Reading the Bible without Anderson you get a story about some guy named Abram who took a walk one day and had some trouble with his new neighors. Reading it with Anderson, you get a deeper understanding of where Abraham came from, where he was headed, and how the belief of early Judahism developed through and in conflict with those of the neighboring Canaanites. The agrarian focused religion of the Canaanites get's it's own hearing as a people's attempt to make sense of the life around them. "Understanding the Old Testament" then provides this level of insight and background for all the other books of the Old Testament. How and why we now have the expression of the Jewish people's understanding of God gains more texuture and depth.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gerry L. Smythe on September 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Understanding the Old Testament" provides historical settings and sociological background that help understand and enjoy the significance of the ancient people's continuing struggle over thousands of years to become a Covenant People in a repeatedly renewed relationship with God. The charts and photos also make the story clear and enjoyable. I heartily recommend this book for lay people who want to understand their Bible better. It's an excellent reference book for adult Bible study classes. No previous study of the Old Testament is necessary. This material is clear and basic for beginners, well organized, beautifully written with enough depth for serious Bible students.
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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Anderson uses easy to read sentences and aims his OT introduction at the lay person, but will be useful more to students and pastors because of the content. I was somewhat disappointed that he has nothing on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). R.K. Harrison's Intro to the OT is much more comprehensive, including discussion using both historico-critical methodology and conservative approaches, whereas Anderson assumes that the historico-critical method is the only way to go. Nevertheless, the information is readily accessible and easy to read, and illustrated well.
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