The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | April 1, 2008

byMichael D. Coogan

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Eminent biblical scholar Michael D. Coogan offers here a wide-ranging and stimulating exploration of the Old Testament, illuminating its importance as history, literature, and sacred text. Coogan explains the differences between the Bible of Jewish tradition (the "Hebrew Bible") and the Old Testament of Christianity, and also examines the different contents of the Bibles used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Protestants. He looks at the rise of modern biblicalscholarship as well as the recovery of ancient Near Eastern literatures and their significance for biblical interpretation. One particularly interesting section examines three principal characters of the Old Testament--Abraham, Deborah, and David--illuminating important themes connected with them,such as Abraham and covenant and David as poet and warrior. Coogan explores the use of invented dialogue and historical fiction in the Old Testament, the presence of mythic elements in apparently historical accounts, and the relationship of ancient Israelite myths to those of their neighbors. Thebook considers the Old Testament's idea of divine justice, especially in Ecclesiastes and Job, and looks at notions of the afterlife in the ancient Near East and in ancient Israel. Coogan highlights the significance of the history and literature of the Old Testament and describes how non-biblicalevidence, such as archaeological data and texts, has placed the Old Testament in a larger and more illuminating context. The book also discusses law and ritual in the Bible as well as the biblical understandings of prophecy. Here then is a marvelous overview of one of the great pillars of Western religion and culture, a book whose significance has endured for thousands of years and which remains vitally important today for Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide.

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Eminent biblical scholar Michael D. Coogan offers here a wide-ranging and stimulating exploration of the Old Testament, illuminating its importance as history, literature, and sacred text. Coogan explains the differences between the Bible of Jewish tradition (the "Hebrew Bible") and the Old Testament of Christianity, and also examines ...

Michael D. Coogan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College and Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. One of the leading biblical scholars in the United States, he is editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Third Edition, and is a contributor to such standard reference works as The Encyclopedia of Rel...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 6.7 × 4.3 × 0.7 inPublished:April 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195305051

ISBN - 13:9780195305050

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"Marked by an astonishing comprehensiveness, this book presents established facts and contested issues alike with irenic clarity. Balancing panoramic views with deeper exegetical probes, Coogan deftly interweaves insights gleaned from Canaanite, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian texts, archaeology,reception history from Ben Sira to Luther to Kierkegaard, and contemporary feminist criticism. The result is a compelling invitation to readers who seek to understand the ancient sociopolitical conflicts, rituals, and theologies that animate the Old Testament."--Carolyn Sharp