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A Respected Scholar Introduces Students to the Discipline of Old Testament Studies

Richard Hess, a trusted scholar of the Old Testament and the ancient Near East, offers a substantial introduction to the Old Testament that is accessibly written and informed by the latest biblical scholarship. Hess summarizes the contents of the Old Testament, introduces the academic study of the discipline, and helps readers understand the complex world of critical and interpretive issues, addressing major concerns in the critical interpretation of each Old Testament book and key texts.

This volume provides a fulsome treatment for students preparing for ministry and assumes no prior knowledge of the Old Testament. Readers will learn how each book of the Old Testament was understood by its first readers, how it advances the larger message of the whole Bible, and what its message contributes to Christian belief and the Christian community. Twenty maps, ninety photos, sidebars, and recommendations for further study add to the book’s usefulness for students. Resources for professors are available through Baker Academic’s Textbook eSources.



“A groundbreaking historical, theological, and critical introduction to the Old Testament that goes far beyond other introductions in terms of breadth, depth, and scope. Hess’s engagement with the history of interpretation, his sensitivity to the theological and literary aspects of texts, and his willingness to engage gender, globalization, and postmodern ideologies, make this a must-have for scholars and students. I look forward to using this outstanding book in the classroom.”
Marion Taylor, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

“Hess has produced a truly outstanding introduction to the Old Testament. It provides a thoroughgoing, scholarly presentation of all the books of the Hebrew Bible yet at the same time is accessible for students with its well-structured, articulate text. Moreover, the excellent selection and placement of illustrative materials provides a wonderful undergirding that rightly serves the reader in the learning experience.”
K. Lawson Younger Jr., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Hess offers readers a current, critical, and hermeneutically instructive introduction to the Old Testament. Targeted at the graduate student, this book maps out the content of each book of the Old Testament via its canonical shape, theological import, and the critical scholarship brought to bear throughout the centuries. Particularly noteworthy are Hess’s masterful introduction of the discipline of text criticism, his inclusion of premodern criticism, and his investment in issues of gender, globalization, and postmodern epistemology. This weighty volume provides student and professor alike a treasure trove of data regarding what the Old Testament is, what it contains, and why its study is essential to the Christian community.”
Sandra Richter, Wheaton College

“Among the plethora of introductions presently flooding the market, this new volume from Richard Hess distinguishes itself by its scope; its format; its attention to the full range of comparative, critical, and confessional issues; and its author’s widely recognized expertise in all corners of the ancient Near East. The coverage is extensive, but the writing remains accessible. This introduction will serve many for a long time to come as a standard go-to text.”
Brent A. Strawn, Emory University

About the Author

Richard S. Hess (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado, and editor of the Denver Journal. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including Ancient Israel’s History, Israelite Religions, and Song of Songs in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms.

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Weight 1.45 kg
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