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The Old Testament


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations xi Why Read the Old Testament? 1 Chapter 1: "Not a dot, nor a tittle shall pass" The Text of the Old Testament 5 The Hebrew Text 5 The Greek Text 8 Other Translations 13 Qumran 14 Chapter 2: A Book as Library The Old Testament Canon 16 The Hebrew Bible 17 The Septuagint 19 Deutero-Canonical Writings 20 Chapter 3: The Old Testament as Holy Scripture Passed down by Postexilic Judaism 22 The Transmitting Groups 22 The Concern That Begot the Literature 23 The Nature of the Interpretative Process 25 The Literary Analysis 29 Chapter 4: The Remnants of Ancient Israelite Literature 31 Wisdom Books 33 Annals and Historiography 38 Law Books 40 Cultic Lyrics 43 Priests and Prophets 50 Chapter 5: The Great Redactions of the Sixth Century BCE 61 The Yahwist's History 61 The Deuteronomistic History 70 Chapter 6: The Beginnings of Old Testament Theology The Book of Jeremiah 77 Chapter 7: The Theological Significance of the Law 86 The Decalogue 87 Deuteronomy 91 Chapter 8: The Struggle for Precedence between the Theologians from the Exile and the Jerusalem Temple School The Book of Ezekiel 97 Chapter 9: The Temple as the Center of the Jewish Diaspora The Priestly Source 101 Chapter 10: Fixing the Torah The Pentateuch Redaction 110 Chapter 11: The Modification of Kingship Theology Second Isaiah 115 Chapter 12: Prophetic Eschatology The Book of Isaiah 123 Chapter 13: The Conflict with the Proto-Samaritan Commuunity The Book of Hosea 129 Chapter 14: Judaism on the Threshold of the Hellenistic Age The Chronicler's History 134 Chapter 15: Sects and Groups within Hellenistic Judaism 139 The Psalter 140 The Book of Proverbs 143 Chapter 16: Didactic Stories 147 Jonah 147 Job 150 Ruth 154 Chapter 17: On the Fringe of the Canon 157 The Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 157 Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher 159 Esther 161 Chapter 18: The Maccabean Period and the Rise of Apocalyptic The Book of Daniel 165 Chapter 19: The Close of the Canon 169 The End of the Growth of the Text 169 The Scope of the Collection 170 Criteria for Canonicity 172 The Final Establishment of the Canon 173 Chapter 20: The Old Testament: An Open Book 174 Appendix A: The Books of the Old Testament 177 Appendix B: The Hebrew Bible 179 Appendix C: The Septuagint 181 Chronological Outline 183 Further Reading 187

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Levin paints a concise yet lucid picture of the shape and development of the Old Testament, an achievement that is certainly aided by his clear, sharply phrased style. He traverses the entire range of the Old Testament books, offering insightful comments formulated in a crisp, arresting, and provocative way. -- Peter Machinist, Harvard University

About the Author

Christoph Levin is Professor of Old Testament Studies at the University of Munich. He has published numerous books and articles on the Old Testament.


"This crisp, concise, and lucid introduction to the Old Testament reveals the shape and development of its canon... Levin does not work from the perspective of faith but of modern critical biblical studies drawing on recent developments."--Library Journal "This is a fine introduction to the study of the Old Testament... Levin provides a framework for reinterpreting the biblical stories as theological reflections of an emerging Jewish nation and its self-identification as God's covenant people."--Publishers Weekly

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