The scholarly study of the Old Testament is now marked by a rich diversity of approaches and concerns. In the last two decades, an interest in the text and the implications for its interpretation is no longer the preserve of a single scholarly community, while the reconstruction of the historyof the people from whom it derived has been transformed by new methods. This new book published under the auspices of the Society for Old Testament Study reflects these new approaches and developments, and has a particular concentration on literary and historical study. Thus, it not only clearlyrecognizes the diversity now inherent in 'Old Testament study', but also welcomes the integration into its field of the wide range of approaches available in current literary and historical investigation. The study of the biblical text and how it is received and interpreted by its various readerships has a certain logical priority over the study of its historical background and authorship. Yet an ongoing investigation of issues relating to the latter cannot await definitive conclusions on the former.So, essays on the text and its reception discuss primary issues which arise in Old Testament study, while those on background and authorship reflect the continued vitality of, and the fresh perspective possible in, more traditional scholarly concerns.