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An Introduction to the Old Testament: Second Edition Hardcover – Special Edition, December 3, 2006
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From the Back Cover
This second edition of An Introduction to the Old Testament integrates and interacts with recent developments in Old Testament scholarship. Several distinctive set it apart from other introductions to the Old Testament:
â¢ It is thoroughly evangelical in its perspective
â¢ It emphasizes special introduction--the study of individual books
â¢ It interacts in an irenic spirit with the historical-critical method
â¢ It features points of research history and representative scholars rather than an exhaustive treatment of past scholarship
â¢ It deals with the meaning of each book, not in isolation but in a canonical context
â¢ It probes the meaning of each book in the setting of its culture
Including callouts, charts, and graphs, this text is written with an eye on understanding the nature of Old Testament historiography. This upper-level introduction to the Old Testament offers students a solid understanding of three key issues: historical background, literary analysis, and theological message.
About the Author
Tremper Longman III (PhD, Yale University) is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he lives with his wife, Alice. He is the Old Testament editor for the revised Expositor's Bible Commentary and general editor for the Story of God Bible Commentary Old Testament and has authored many articles and books on the Psalms and other Old Testament books.
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When there are so many other Bible commentaries out there to choose from, and you are confused as to which one to read, I strongly suggest you get this one. You will become more familiar with each book in the Bible, I give it five stars without a doubt, and I'm Marvin P. Ferguson, author of On The Road Again.
He works with a very useful pattern of analysis for the books: historical background, literary analysis and theological message. Literary analysis is a particular speciality of Longman's, and as such these sections are sometimes a bit too lengthy, although there is certainly no superfluous detail. It just feels a bit like getting cornered by a train spotter at a party.
I wouldn't say there is anything particularly ground-breaking here, but Longman certainly brings a lot of his literary expertise to bear to an extent that is rare in an introductory text.
Structure - The text provides a book-by-book analysis of the Protestant Old Testament, including a bibliography, discussion of authorship, literary analysis and theological analysis for each individual book. At a little over 500 pages it has the right detail for an introduction, comprehensive yet not overly detailed. At the same time, for readers seeking more, the authors do a nice job of surfacing key issues that warrant further study. Approaching the text from a non-reformed perspective I would have appreciated inclusion of the Deuterocanonical or apocryphal books.
Bibliographies - Though it is always a challenge to strike the right balance between the competing desires to be both comprehensive and detailed, I would have preferred a smaller more detailed list of recommendations.
Theology - The authors represent a moderate reformed position, advocating divine inspiration, while also engaging with relevant aspects of critical scholarship. As most readers are likely aware, in this field `critical scholarship' is a rather technical term - critical in the narrow sense of opposing traditional views - not critical in a broader more neutral sense. Indeed, critical biblical scholarship is quite dogmatic, often, ironically, more so than its non-critical counterpart.
Overall, this text is highly recommended for readers seeking a scholarly introduction to the Old Testament. Additionally, there are a plethora of outstanding MP3 lectures available from itunes (Reformed Theological Seminary, Concordia Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Yale, etc.), that readers may find helpful.