Old Testament Life and Literature (1968)
A Word to the Reader
TO get the most from this book, you will need a Bible, preferably in modern translation. Keep the Bible at hand, for few passages are quoted and the writer has assumed that you will read the biblical references.
The first two parts of the book form a prolegomenon, a summary of important background material, and an introduction to significant problems and methods of approach essential to proper understanding of the biblical text. These parts are designed to set the biblical period within the context of cultural development in the ancient Near East. These pages should be read quickly and then consulted from time to time as the methods of study and analysis described in these chapters are utilized to analyze some specific writing.
Marginal notations refer to passages that must be read for proper understanding of the text. Passages noted within the text are important for tracing themes or concepts.
Footnotes are suggestive, not exhaustive, and direct you to references that will aid in deepening and expanding your knowledge of the biblical period and of scholarly probing. Some sources will contain extensive lists of resource material for further study.
Sketch maps, designed to assist in understanding topography, relationship of countries, national boundaries, and the like, include only essential details. If you require further information, you may wish to consult one of the many excellent Bible atlases listed in the Bibliography at the back of this book.
Charts placed at the beginning of some sections (and occasionally at the head of some chapters) summarize major historical developments within the period under discussion. An abridged historical chart appears at the end of the book.
A consistent effort has been made to introduce you to the "scholar's workroom" by providing, where feasible, differing expert opinions or some of the reasons why a writing is given a specific date or is treated as a composite work. More exhaustive information can be found in the analytical commentaries on specific books listed in the Bibliography.
Detailed analyses of portions of the biblical text are provided for those who may wish to explore in some depth the literary structure and development of a particular book, or who may wish to examine the principle of "continuing or progressive interpretation" introduced in Part One, Chapter 3, and employed extensively throughout this book.
Old Testament Life and Literature is copyright © 1968, 1997 by Gerald A. Larue. All rights reserved.
The electronic version is copyright © 1997 by Internet Infidels with the written permission of Gerald A. Larue.