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Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Hardcover – May 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Encountering the Old Testament is a unique survey of the Old Testament that is as engaging and user-friendly as it is informative. In addition to first-rate scholarship, this resource boasts full-color photographs and numerous educational features, including an interactive CD-ROM. The second edition of this leading Old Testament survey text has been updated throughout with revisions to the text, sidebars, bibliographies, notes, and indexes. The accompanying CD-ROM has been radically revised as well and includes links to study aids, videos, and photos.

Praise for the First Edition

"Arnold and Beyer have produced an exciting new survey of the Old Testament with the college student specifically in mind. They have masterfully designed their work with text and graphics in a way that will not only grip the student's attention but will guide students through the material with their expert touch. I enthusiastically recommend this volume to you."--Tremper Longman III, Westmont College

"Teachers and students will find the book useful for its purpose. . . . [This volume] should be in Bible colleges and seminary libraries. Pastors and interested laypeople will also benefit from [it]."--David W. Baker, Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

"This volume presents the best and most complete college-level survey of the Old Testament presently available. It incorporates contemporary media and formats, not only in terms of its CD-ROM, but also with the splendid use of color illustrations, photos, charts, maps, and inserts throughout the book."--Richard S. Hess, Denver Seminary Journal Online

"For college students who are encountering the Old Testament for the first time, this attractively produced textbook offers a clear and helpful orientation to the world and literature of the Old Testament. A refreshing improvement over the standard textbook fare!"--Richard Schultz, Wheaton College

"Written from an Evangelical point of view, the critical scholarship that undergirds this work can certainly serve the needs and interests of a much broader audience. . . . This volume can be read by those who are looking for a sound yet introductory treatment of the biblical material."--Dianne Bergant, CSA, The Bible Today

"I think many beginning college students in this computer age would be more likely to read (and learn!) from this book than from many standard, dull, and boring monochrome texts."--Joel F. Drinkard, Review & Expositor

"The authors are commended for providing their readers with a lucid survey of the Old Testament. The illustrations, sidebars, glossary, and study questions open up the relevance of the biblical text both in its ancient context and in our modern situation. A very useful volume."--Willem A. VanGemeren, Trinity International University

About the Author

Bill T. Arnold (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Encountering the Book of Genesis, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and a commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel. Bryan E. Beyer (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Columbia International University Seminary and School of Missions. He is the author of Encountering the Book of Isaiah and coeditor (with Bill Arnold) of Readings from the Ancient Near East.

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Product Details

  • Series: Encountering Biblical Studies
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 2nd edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031700
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Good overview of each book of the OT -- BUT there were a LOT of mistakes (verse references and illustration references) in the book, which I believe decreases its integrity as it certainly takes away my respect of its credibility. For example, on pg 214, the citation for 2 Sm 6:6-8 should actually be 2 Sm 5:6-8. Another example, on pg. 242, "Jotham of Israel" should actually be "Jotham of Judah". These are only a few of the mistakes I've seen, and it makes me wonder what other mistakes there are. Seems like it needs a good editor's eye.

Other issues I had with this book: the key terms are never defined in the book. You have to look it up in the accompanying CD to find the definitions. Also, I found that often times, the point/message that the authors are trying to convey in their paragraphs and sections are never clearly stated (they beat around the bush and go in circles). Lastly, the attempts at application/contextualization seem to have been added to the ends of sections almost as an afterthought, and they stood out like a sore thumb as not belonging to the train of thought.

I am disappointed with the quality of this book. The pictures and color are very appealing in comparison to other Old Testament survey books, however, the other issues with the book make it a less than desirable textbook.
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Format: Hardcover
Although at times it reads like a high school textbook, this is an excellent survey of the Old Testament and ancient cultures. When I first encountered it, I had already studied a lot about the ancient world and the Old Testament and I still found this book to be a worthwhile read.
I recommend this book for any Christian, or non-Christian, who is interested in learning about the Old Testament and how the Israelite culture fit in to the ancient world. There are plenty of pictures and trivia pieces to keep the book from reading like a long essay.
After reading this, you'll gain so much appreciation for one simple fact: the New Testament is completely built upon the foundation of the Old Testament. And to learn the OT better is to know the NT better!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This summer I read several Old Testament books for possible use in the Seminary course I would teach for the fall and spring semesters. I found that "Encountering the Old Testament" Christian Survey 2nd Edition, more than met the reqirements for our Freshman and Sophomore Classes. The reading material is most informative and held my interest during my research. As an instructor, the layout, text, chapter outlines and source materials listed proved most accurate and helpful when preparing my syllabus and additional course assignments. This book will be an excellent reference book and a book for any biblical library. I would recommend this book as a source of study for students in Bible College, Seminary and persons interested in Biblical Studies.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're a pastor, seminary student, or a layperson who needs a good, informative, and easy to read introduction to the Old Testament then this book will be perfect for you. Many OT introductions/surveys that are out there are either 1) too technical and academic, or 2) liberal/modernist. This introduction is solidly evangelical, easy to understand, and academic enough for even the novice biblical scholar.

The strength of the book is that it does not only survey each of the books in the Old Testament section by section but by topics of significance in each book. For instance, when the authors talk about the book of Genesis they do not only discuss what each of the 50 chapters say but about what the author said about the nature of election, the Abrahamic promise, the covenant, etc. Pretty much everything is covered regarding each book (authorship, date, place of writing, etc.).

Another feature of the book that will attract more novice pastors and students of the Bible is the colourful pictures that are abundantly printed in the book. Though some may find this comical, I think it added to the charm of this book. Pictures, graphs, maps, etc. help readers understand the background of each of the OT books better.

Finally, one other thing I really liked about this book is that the authors discuss side-issues related to the OT. The chapters on the historical background of the OT (chap. 2) and the introduction to the Prophetic books (chap. 24) are well written, informative, and orthodox. Sure, the authors could have written more deeply on these chapters but the intended audience demanded that they do not go too deeply in these matters.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for those who want a better understanding of the OT books.
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Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book, with its clear layout, readable text, brilliant pictures, accurate maps, and added interactive CD, is a great beginner's guide to studying the Old Testament.

I compared the book to the Lion Handbook to the Bible, and found that while the layout is similar, so much more information is provided.

Suited to a Diploma or Home Bible Study level, "Encountering the Old Testament" will still be of help when reviewing any Old Testament survey for bachelor study or above.

If the Old Testament has seemed a closed book, this will open it up in a fresh and vibrant way. A wonderful companion to the equally as good "Encountering the New Testament".
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