Richard Hess is an Old Testament professor at Denver Seminary who has distinguished himself with a brace of high quality studies and commentaries. These include a notable Commentary on Joshua in the Tyndale series, and a book on Israelite Religions. This work of Old Testament introduction competes with the works of Hill & Walton, Longman & Dillard, Arnold & Beyer, as well as older books by Gleason Archer and R. K. Harrison.
In The Old Testament Hess reviews each book of the Hebrew Bible providing an outline, an overview of the contents, a helpful section on “Reading” each book, which is divided into “Premodern” and critical readings; the latter being particularly useful. There is then a section on “Gender and Ideological Criticism,” Ancient Near Eastern and Canonical context, Literary structure, Theological themes, and a brief annotated bibliography. Overall, the style is highly readable and informative. The chapters are enhanced with black and white charts, diagrams, maps, photos, and insets focusing on pertinent topics.
Author - Survey - Contents - Book - Summary
The author’s survey of the contents of each book provide a good summary of what one will find when reading through the Bible. This can serve as a reminder of the main events and persons, especially in the longer books. The section on “Reading…” will assist any student trying to pick their way through the way the different critical approaches have looked at the texts. What this does is give the gist of a critical approach, which may have some insight, while revealing its sometime basis in unbelief. This part of the introduction serves as a good check on one’s hermeneutics.
I shall bypass the “Gender” sections for the moment and move to the sections on context. These pull together the author’s long associations with cultural and archaeological backgrounds and present them in clear terms for the reader. Hess also...
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