It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Old Testament Background Studies
This LibGuide gives resources on Old Testament background and study resources.
The Context of Scripture illuminatingly presents the multi-faceted world of ancient writing that forms the colorful background to the literature of the Hebrew Bible. Designed as a thorough and durable reference work for all engaged in the study of the Bible and the ancient Near East, and involving 63 of the world's outstanding scholars in the field, it provides reliable access to a broad, balanced and representative collection of Ancient Near Eastern texts that have some bearing on the interpretation of the Bible. Translations of recently discovered texts are included, alongside new translations of better-known texts and in some cases the best existing translations of such texts.The substantial three-volume work, with its specially designed page layout and large format, features full cross-referencing to comparable Bible passages, and new, up-to-date bibliographical annotations with judicious commentary. Its many distinct advantages over other collections will ensure the place of The Context of Scripture as a standard reference work for the 21st century.The Context of Scripture is previously published in hardback by Brill (ISBN 90 04 09629 9, still available). Individual volumes are available separately in hardback only.
This anthology brought together the most important historical, legal, mythological, liturgical, and secular texts of the ancient Near East, with the purpose of providing a rich contextual base for understanding the people, cultures, and literature of the Old Testament. A scholar of religious thought and biblical archaeology, James Pritchard recruited the foremost linguists, historians, and archaeologists to select and translate the texts. The goal, in his words, was "a better understanding of the likenesses and differences which existed between Israel and the surrounding cultures." Before the publication of these volumes, students of the Old Testament found themselves having to search out scattered books and journals in various languages. This anthology brought these invaluable documents together, in one place and in one language, thereby expanding the meaning and significance of the Bible for generations of students and readers. As one reviewer put it, "This great volume is one of the most notable to have appeared in the field of Old Testament scholarship this century." Princeton published a follow-up companion volume, The Ancient Near East in Pictures Relating to the Old Testament (1954), and later a one-volume abridgment of the two, The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (1958). The continued popularity of this work in its various forms demonstrates that anthologies have a very important role to play in education--and in the mission of a university press.
Publication Date: London, Edinburgh, Williams & Norgate, 1885-88.
This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.
This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.
As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.
Old Testament Primary Source Resources in the Library
Sparks (biblical studies, Eastern U., Pennsylvania) provides readers of the Hebrew Bible an overview and introduction to the comparative Near Eastern literature, encompassing Syrian-Palestinian, Mesopotamia, Egyptian, Anatolian, Persian, Urgartic, West Semitic, Hittite, Phoenician, Accadian, and other literature. Among the genres he considers are w
Selected by Choice magazine in 2000 as an Outstanding Academic Book The earliest farms, cities, governments, legal codes, and alphabets developed in the ancient Near East. Four major religions--Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam--began in the region. Ideas, inventions, and institutions spread to all parts of the globe from the urban centers of the ancient Egyptians, Syrians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and other peoples of the biblical world. For good reason is the ancient Near East known as the cradle of civilization. The only single-volume dictionary to embrace the whole of the ancient Near East, this major reference work covers Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the Levant, and the Arabian peninsula from the earliest times, through the Old Testament period, until the fall of Babylon to the Persians in 539 B.C. From "Achaemenids" to "Ziwiye," "administration" to "ziggurat," in 500 concise, cross-referenced, and comprehensively indexed entries, the Dictionary of the Ancient Near East describes and explains the major ideas, institutions, places, peoples, and personalities that shaped the earliest development of Western civilization. Architecture, literature, economics, labor, religion, and society are all extensively treated, as are such subjects as crime, dreams, drunkenness, shipwrecks, and sexual behavior (and misbehavior). Each entry, written by a scholar of international standing, includes up-to-date bibliographic references. The book is richly illustrated with photographs, maps, and plans of major sites. Contributors: Douglas Baird (Lecturer in Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Liverpool), Jeremy Black (University Lecturer in Akkadian, Oriental Institute, Oxford University), Paul T. Collins (freelance lecturer in the Ancient Near East, London), Stephanie Dalley (Shillito Fellow in Assyriology, Oriental Institute, Oxford University), Anthony Green (Lecturer in Near Eastern Archaeology, Free University of Berlin), Gwendolyn Leick (Lecturer in Anthropology, the American International University, London), Michael Macdonald (Research Fellow, Oriental Institute, Oxford University), Roger Matthews (Director, British Institute for Archaeology, Ankara), Gerald L. Mattingly (Lecturer, Johnson Bible College, Knoxville, Tennessee), Graham Philip (Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Durham), Geoffrey Summers (Lecturer in Archaeology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara).
What are the similarities and differences between Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern war stories? In this study narratological analysis is applied to compare the ideology of the Old Testament book of Kings to the ideology of ten extrabiblical texts
Much of the Old Testament seems strange to contemporary readers. However, as we begin to understand how ancient people viewed the world, the Old Testament becomes more clearly a book that stands within its ancient context as it also speaks against it. John Walton provides here a thoughtful introduction to the conceptual world of the ancient Near East. Walton surveys the literature of the ancient Near East and introduces the reader to a variety of beliefs about God, religion, and the world. In helpful sidebars, he provides examples of how such studies can bring insight to the interpretation of specific Old Testament passages. Students and pastors who want to deepen their understanding of the Old Testament will find this a helpful and instructive study.
Publication Date: Louisville, Kentucky : Westminster John Knox Press, 2014.
This study considers the historical, cultural, and literary significance of some of the most important Ancient Near East (ANE) texts that illuminate the Hebrew Bible. Christopher B. Hays provides primary texts from the Ancient Near East with a comparison to literature of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate how Israel's Scriptures not only draw from these ancient contexts but also reshape them in a unique way.
Hays offers a brief introduction to comparative studies, then lays out examples from various literary genres that shed light on particular biblical texts. Texts about ANE law collections, treaties, theological histories, prophecies, ritual texts, oracles, prayers, hymns, laments, edicts, and instructions are compared to corresponding literature in the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The book includes summaries to help instructors and students identify key points for comparison. By considering the literary and historical context of other literature, students will come away with a better understanding of the historical, literary, and theological depth of the Hebrew Bible.