Fortress Press

A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, Third Edition

A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, Third Edition

John J. Collins (Author)


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A leading introduction to the Hebrew Bible

John J. Collins’s A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is one of the most popular introductory textbooks in colleges and seminary classrooms. Enriched by decades of classroom teaching, it is aimed explicitly at motivated students, regardless of their previous exposure to the Bible or faith commitments. This more compact version of Collins’s renowned Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is combined with even more student-friendly features, including charts, maps, photographs, chapter summaries, and bibliographies for further reading.

Collins proceeds through the canon of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, judiciously presenting the current state of historical, archeological, and literary understanding of the biblical text, and engaging the student in questions of significance and interpretation for the contemporary world.

The third edition is presented in a new and engaging format with new maps and images. An index has been added to the volume for the first time.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506445991
  • eBook ISBN 9781506446066
  • Dimensions 7.5 x 9.25
  • Pages 376
  • Publication Date April 1, 2018

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Test and Answer Key

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Sample Syllabi

One-semester sample syllabus from Fortress Press
One-semester sample syllabus

Two-semester sample syllabi from John J. Collins
Sample Syllabus—Fall Course
Sample Syllabus—Spring Course

Syllabi from current users
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible 1, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Brandon Grafius
Introduction to the Old Testament, St. Joseph's College of Maine, Pamela Hedrick
Foundations of Biblical Study, University of Dayton, Meghan Henning

A Word from the Author

Many instructors find it challenging to cover the entire breadth and depth of the Hebrew Bible in a single semester. John J. Collins comments on this difficulty and offers a word of advice on best practices for covering this massive subject with introductory students.
Read the article here!

Research Guide
Study Guide


"I like that the chapter readings from Collins cover the fundamentals of surveying the contents and leave me more time to spend in the classroom on the variety of interpretation."
—Todd Hanneken,
St. Mary's University

"A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible provides the framework and the key themes of individual books of the Old Testament without bogging down the student with too many details."
—Benjamin Nickodemus,
Concordia University, Portland

"Collins' volume meets a long-standing need for an up-to- date and well-informed critical introduction to the Hebrew Bible. A particularly important contribution of this volume is its treatment of the deutero-canonical or apocryphal books. Collins' work stands as a most welcome and highly recommended textbook for both undergradates and seminarians."
—Marvin A. Sweeney,
Claremont Graduate University

"Using Collin's textbook is like team-teaching with a master teacher."
—Carol Newsom,
Candler School of Theology

"To now have A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible in a format fashioned especially for the undergraduate course is most welcome."
— James VanderKam,
University of Notre Dame