Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament

A solid, up-to-date overview of contemporary scholarship's understanding of the language, literature, history, and culture of the ancient Hebrews; how the Old Testament is seen in the light of the New; and how each book is cited in the modern 3-year lectionary.
This book isn't for beginners, despite the title. This isn't a Bible basics overview for those who have little knowledge of the Bible. It is for those with scholarly interests or needs. I could see it being an excellent class text. As well as literary structure, cultural context, and historical perspectives, we get a look at how each Old Testament book was understood and used by New Testament authors.

Perhaps most valuable, and certainly unexpected by me, was the consideration of modern Biblical scholarship versus traditional teachings of authorship and when the books were written. Granted, these topics will not be of interest to everyone, but having recently come across statements in Wikipedia that David probably didn't exist except as a sort of King Arthur legend and that authorship of his psalms was likewise doubted, I wanted to get an informed opinion from a trustworthy source. The respectful, even-handed look at these questions, as well as that of Moses's authorship of the Pentateuch let me see the scholarly reasoning and counter-arguments and weigh them for myself. And left me admiring this book even more.

I advise looking at Amazon's sample and using the "surprise me" button to get a feel for the writing and thoroughness. You'll get to see large sections from deep within the text to give you a good idea of what's there. That's what made me take the leap and get it.

These two authors have done their readers a real service with this fine work. Definitely recommended as a resource and, if you are like me, for fascinating reading all the way through.

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