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The Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures in Five Minutes

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Each of the eighty-three short contributions in this volume is written by an expert on the topic. Each deals with the essentials anyone entering the fascinating world of biblical scholarship needs to master. Concise and jargon-free chapters present the nature of the biblical texts and the different methodologies that have been developed to understand it. In addition, major issues that standard introductions tend to dodge are considered in a balanced way, providing the pros and cons for each position.

Published: Feb 22, 2024

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Preface Diana Edelman, Philippe Guillaume
Part One: General Matters
1. How Does One Read the Bible from a Scholarly Perspective? Diana Edelman
2. What Is Religion? David McConeghy
3. Can One Be Religious in a Scientific World? Adrien Chauvet
4. Do All Religions Have Sacred Books? Russell McCutcheon
5. Why Multiple Biblical Canons? Jean-Claude Loba Mkole
6. What Is Biblical Exegesis? Pauline Viviano
Part Two: Authorship, Audiences, Organization
7. Who Wrote the Hebrew Bible? Diana Edelman
8. Why Are There Anonymous, Pseudonymous, and Fictitious Texts in the Bible? Philippe Guillaume
9. Who Are the Audiences of the Bible? Jason M. Silverman
10. What Does "Tanak" Stand For? Elaine Adler Goodfriend
11. What Are the Pentateuch, Hexateuch, and Enneateuch? Jean-Louis Ska
12. Is There a "Book of the Twelve" or Are There Twelve Booklets of Minor Prophets? Elena Di Pede
Part Three: Genres in the Hebrew Bible
13. How Do We Determine Biblical Genres? Diana Edelman
14. Are There Myths in the Hebrew Bible? James Linville
15. Is There Apocalyptic Literature in the Hebrew Bible? Emmanouil Gkinidis
16. What Are Psalms Doing in the Hebrew Bible? Bernard Gosse
17. Wisdom: Where Is It Found? Michael C. Legaspi
18. What Is the Purpose of Proverbs? Sonny Zaluchu
19. Is the Book of Job a Theodicy? Philippe Guillaume
20. Why Are There so Many Genealogies in the Bible? Dexter Callender, Jr.
Part Four: Dating the Bible and the Bible as History
21. Preexilic, Exilic, and Postexilic: Can We Date the Books of the Hebrew Bible? Diana Edelman
22. How Did Scribes Periodize the Past in the Hebrew Bible? Diana Edelman
23. What Was the Minimalist versus Maximalist Debate? Emanuel Pfoh
24. Why Are There Two Versions of Israel's Past in the Hebrew Bible? Rodney Duke
25. Is There Such a Thing as a "Deuteronomistic History"? Philippe Guillaume
26. Did the Hebrews Conquer Canaan? Erin Darby
27. Was Josiah’s Scroll Lost and Found Twice? Diana Edelman
Part Five: The Hebrew Bible and Archaeology
28. Can Archaeology Prove the Truth of Biblical Texts? Tammi J. Schneider
29. How Should We Read the "Archaeological Evidence?" Raz Kletter
30. How is Archaeology Used to Support Nationalism? Erin Darby
31. Is It Ethical to Excavate in Contested Areas? Laura Wright
32. How Do You Define Cultic Context? Jonathan Greer
Part Six: Translation and Transmission
33. The Septuagint: Why Was the Hebrew Bible Translated into Greek? Ellen De Doncker
34. What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Reveal about the Biblical Text? Sidnie White Crawford
35. Was Philo of Alexandria the Earliest Biblical Commentator? Maria Sokolskaya
36. What Is Old Testament Theology? Pauline Viviano
37. What Is Rabbinic Interpretation? Zev Farber
38. Who Were and Are the Samaritans? Benedikt Hensel
Part Seven: Themes
39. How Do the Moon, Month, and Sabbath Regulate Biblical Calendars? Philippe Guillaume
40. Does the Hebrew Bible Apply Holiness to Space or to Time? Philippe Guillaume
41. Which Numbers Can Be Symbolic in the Hebrew Bible? Elaine Adler Goodfriend
42. Did Giants, Nephilim, and Other Creatures Ruin the World? Elena L. Dugan
43. What Does the Hebrew Bible Say about Angels and Demons? Elisa Uusimaki
44. Why Were the Ancestors De-divinized? Diana Edelman
45. Heaven, Hell, or She’ol? Diana Edelman
46. Did the Hebrews Believe in an Afterlife? Jan Åge Sigvartsen
47. How Did Yhwh Became One? James S. Anderson
48. Israel in Twelve Tribes: Ideal or Real? Andrew Tobolowsky
49. Is "Torah" Law or Teaching? Megan B. Turton
50. Where Is the Magic? Shawna Dolansky
51. Were the Biblical Prophets Diviners? Philippe Guillaume
52. What is a Covenant? Diana Edelman
Part Eight: Issues
53. Can Religious Texts Serve as Legitimate Explanations of the Origin of the Universe and Terrestrial Life in a Scientific World? Fabien Revol
54. Does the Hebrew Bible Endorse Genocide? James Anderson
55. Is the Hebrew Bible Patriarchal? Philippe Guillaume
56. Are There Polemics (Even) in the Hebrew Bible? Diana Edelman
57. Is the Hebrew Bible “Pro-Choice” or “Pro-Life”? Athalya Brenner
58. How Does the Hebrew Bible Deal with Ecological Issues? Jonathan K. Kavusa
59. Does (or How Does) the Old Testament Deal with LGBTQIA Issues? Rhiannon Graybill
Part Nine: Selected Biblical Figures
60. Is Abraham/Ibrahim an Ecumenical Figure? Carol Bakhos
61. Why Is Melchizedek So Mysterious? Panagiotis Kampouris
62. Joseph: Does His Ability to Interpret Dreams Represent Actual Divinatory Practice? Scott Noegel
63. Moses: How Many Faces? Benedetta Rossi
64. Ruth: Whore or Matriarch? Philippe Guillaume
65. King David: Famous or Infamous? Baruch Halpern
66. Jezebel: Does She Deserve Her Bad Reputation? Kristin Joachimsen
67. How Many Isaiahs? Ehud Ben Zvi
68. Jeremiah: Why Is He So Well Remembered? Benedetta Rossi
69. Jonah: How to Survive in the Belly of Hell? Philippe Guillaume
70. Is Satan in the Hebrew Scriptures? E. Macarena Garcia Garcia
71. Was Qohelet Fighting Depression? Steinar Skarpnes
Part Ten: Methods and Approaches
72. Synchronic versus Diachronic Readings: Why Choose? Diana Edelman
73. What Is Source Criticism? Kåre Berge
74. What Is “P” - Source or Editor? Philippe Guillaume
75. What Is Historical Criticism? Michael C. Legaspi
76. What Are Redaction and Text Criticism? Kåre Berge
77. What Are Literary and Form Criticism? Kåre Berge
78. What Is Ideological Criticism of the Hebrew Bible? Patton Taylor
79. How Are Memory Studies Applied to the Study of the Hebrew Bible? Ehud Ben Zvi
80. How Is Social Anthropology Used to Understand the Hebrew Bible? Emanuel Pfoh
81. How Are Gender Approaches Used in the Study of the Hebrew Bible? Rhiannon Graybill
82. What Is Post-Colonial Studies and How Is It Applied to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament? Sonia Wong
83. What Is Reception Criticism and How Is It Practiced in Hebrew Bible Scholarship? Erin Runions
End Matter
Scripture Index Diana Edelman, Philippe Guillaume
Subject Index Diana Edelman, Philippe Guillaume