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The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament Hardcover – December 8, 2000
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"Users of Craig Keener's IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament will be delighted to have a companion volume on a period both more remote in time and exotic in cultural background. . . . This volume . . . fills a need not addressed by any other book I know. It will open the eyes of lay readers to the vast and still largely untapped resources of ancient Near Eastern archaeology and texts for the understanding of the Old Testament. I predict a warm and enthusiastic reception for the book." (Harry A. Hoffner Jr., Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago)
"This volume [The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Genesis--Deuteronomy, a precursor to this new, complete OT volume] provides Bible readers who have little knowledge of the ancient world an abundance of information on the sociocultural background of texts throughout the Pentateuch. The authors present the materials in a clear, concise, straightforward manner. . . . This book is a splendid tool that provides ready access to the cultural background of the books of the Pentateuch." (Themelios)
About the Author
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years. Some of Walton's books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas). Walton's ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for "The Bible in 90 Days." John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.
Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University (Springfield, Missouri). He has written several books on the Old Testament, including Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Life in Bible Times, (with James Moyer) The Old Testament: Text and Context and (with Don C. Benjamin) The Social World of Ancient Israel.
Mark W. Chavalas is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin--La Crosse. He is also editor of Emar: The History, Religion, and Culture of a Syrian Town in the Late Bronze Age, (with John L. Hayes) New Horizons in the Study of Ancient Syria and (with K. L. Younger Jr.) Syria-Mesopotamia and the Bible.
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Top customer reviews
It gets three stars because of terrible editing and for some slants in its content. This is not a resources for purely fundamentalist explanations of the Bible. It is a somewhat "progressive" take on Biblical archeology and must be read with that in mind. For example, when dealing with Genesis it does not discuss the meaning of the word day as it applies to whether the day is a 24 hour section of time or perhaps another period of time. It seems the authors avoided this controversy for a reason. Nonetheless, the authors believe the Bible is the word of God and try to communicate to the reader the facts about the ancient near east and its views of gods and sacrifice and other human problems. Knowing how different the Biblical view is from the surrounding cultures is critical for understanding how Israel stood out from the non-moral gods of the other cultures. The contrast and comparison method is outstanding in its teaching potential.
The book is filled with spelling errors. On page 37, for example, it uses "dean" instead of "clean" on two separate occasions. On page 507 it puts in "nit" for "not" and on page 512 "day" is put in for "clay". The problem isn't these few example, it is the fact that the book replete with such problems. I don't believe a proof reader could miss so many errors, as often the same error is repeated multiple times on the same page. This indicates the text was not proofed. Note this is in the Kindle edition.
Included are citations and summaries of literature and historical facts that shed light on a passage. For the deepest levels of research and study, this book is no substitute for a complete library and good old fashioned grunt work, but to begin to get the meaning of a passage or a set of passages it is hard to imagine a better place to start. It can be useful in helping me to decide where to devote my time doing more exhaustive research, or as a quick "sanity check" to ensure that as I begin to survey a longer section of Scripture I am not reading meanings into any one verse that might be foreign to the original writer and his peers or otherwise going off in an incorrect direction.
A good complement to a more conventional set of commentaries - highly reccomended tool for filling the holes in many day to day Bible studies.