Fortress Press

The Old Testament: An Introduction

The Old Testament

An Introduction

Rolf Rendtorff (Author)

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The Old Testament is a collection of writings which came into being over a period of more than a thousand years in the history of the people of Israel and which reflect the life of the people in this period. Therefore, there is a reciprocal relationship between the writings or "books" of the Old Testament and the life of Israel in its history. The understanding of the texts presupposes insights into the historical context and the development of the life of Israelite society, while at the same time the texts themselves are the most important, indeed for the most part the only, source for it.

This "Introduction" attempts to take account of this reciprocal relationship. The first part deals with the history of Israel. However, its approach differs from most accounts of this history. It takes the Old Testament texts themselves as a starting point and first of all outlines the picture of historical developments and associations which the texts present. An attempt is then made, on this basis, to reconstruct historical developments by introducing material from outside the Bible. This method of working leads to close connections between the second and third parts, because it has to take account of the nature and original purpose of the texts and their function within the biblical books as they are now. The second part attempts to present the texts collected in the Old Testament as expressions of the life of Israel. The third part discusses the books of the Old Testament in their present form.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800625443
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 320
  • Publication Date February 1, 1991

Endorsements

"Rendtorff has produced an excellent critical introduction to the Old Testament which will rank with the classic German introductions of the last generation (Eissfeldt, Fohrer)... This introduction will serve as a leading work in the field for years to come. The different methodological approaches make it a significant advance over many other introductions. The author's writing style and the clarity of organization make his book a very useful tool."
— Robert Gnuse, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"I consider this to be a distinguished contribution to the study of the Old Testament literature... It provides an up-to-date discussion of the new approaches to Pentateuchal questions, as well as illuminating discussion of many of the other literary issues."
— Peter R. Ackroyd, University of London, King's College

Table of Contents

I The Old Testament as a Source of the History of Israel

1. The Nature of the Sources
2. The Periods of the History of Israel
3. Israel before the Settlement
4. Israel between the Settlement and the Formation of the State
5. The Beginnings of the Monarchy
6. Israel and Judah in the Time of the Monarchy
7. Judah after the Babylonian Exile

II The Literature of the Old Testament in the Life of Ancient Israel

1. Form Criticism and Social Structure in Israel
2. Family, Clan, Tribe, Local Community
3. The Legal Sphere
4. The Cult
5. Political Institutions. The Monarchy
6. Prophecy
7. The Way to 'Literature'

III The Books of the Old Testament

1. The Five Books of the Pentateuch
2. The Former Prophets
3. The Latter Prophets
4. The Writings
5. The Canon of the Old Testament

Abbreviations
Index of Subjects
Index of Names
Index of Hebrew Words
Differences between Hebrew and English Biblical References
Index of Biblical References
Index of Modern Scholars
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