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An Introduction to the Scriptures of Israel: History and Theology
(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018).
Available at Eerdmans.
An Introduction to the Scriptures of Israel offers a fresh way in to the Hebrew Bible as a work of literature and theology. An introduction to the study of the Hebrew Bible must compete against a long and complex history of critical study. Novick artfully navigates through issues of historicity, text criticism and reception to sketch a compelling picture of what is so precious about this ancient text that it still inspires appreciation and devotion today.
Book - Teaching - Tool - Theology - Subjects
The book was originally developed as a teaching tool for the introductory theology subjects that all Notre Dame undergraduates are required to take, regardless of their chosen discipline. As such it is aimed at an intelligent non-specialist audience, with a distinct liberal arts course flavour. There are no footnotes, but each chapter has a basic bibliography, suggested primary text readings, and some questions for further reflection. The focus is on the Hebrew Bible, but a thoughtful reference is made to later Christian as well as Jewish reception of the texts.
I found the first interesting thing about the book its table of contents, and the path it plots into the subject matter. An introductory chapter begins with a speech by Rev Martin Luther King Jr and a passage from Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho in order to set up the tension between the themes of universality and of particularity raised by the study of the Bible, before moving on to a brief orientation to the issues raised by differently scholarly approaches to the Bible. The next 15 chapters (there is no conclusion) take different themes as their foci, beginning with the Wisdom tradition (chapter 1, “Religion without Revelation”), and ending with the Apocalyptic literature of Daniel and the Dead Sea...
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