Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible [Paperback]

By John H. Walton, Lee Ward (Editor), Neil Hepworth (Photographer), Aaron Norman (Photographer), Jeff Ucciardo (Photographer), Jose Cabot (Editor) & Tim Ohr
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Item Description...
Introduces the reader to the conceptual framework of the ancient world, illustrating how the Bible is both a product of its ancient environment and a challenge to it.

Publishers Description
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.

Item Specifications...

Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.94" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801027500  
EAN  9780801027505  

Availability  0 units.

Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > Hermeneutics   [163  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General   [2774  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament   [2074  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testa   [1604  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General   [10297  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
To perceive important basics of Israel's ancient cognitive environment  Mar 10, 2007

"The synthesis that I have offered is undoubtedly characterized by assessments that some scholars will judge to be misleading, premature, or even wrongheaded. ... Instead, I desired to sift through the information provided by the specialists who have diligently made the literatures and cultures of the ancient Near East available to us,..." John Walton.

Prologue to Hermerneutics:
Half a century past, when I read the Old Testament in the city where it was first translated from Hebrew, now then, in its cousin language Arabic, much of the biblical narratives seemed stories from an ancient mythical past to me, the young Psaltos. However, when I started to formulate inquisitive questions, the most refreshing though troubling replies came from my father, a specialist in comparative civil law, a professor in the French Lyceum and a former Viennese student in the European enlightenment milieu of the thirties, the young teenager was then introduced to comparative criticism through JH Breasted, Gardiner and Lang when I began to understand how ancient Egyptian viewed the world, the Old Testament becomes more clearly a book that stood "within its ancient context, while also speaking against it," in the words of Wheaton's J. Walton.

Renewal of Biblical Studies:
"The rediscovery of Egypt began in earnest in the eighteenth century AD and of Mesopotamia in the mid-nineteenth century AD. With the decipherment of the ancient languages, the tens of thousands of texts that were being unearthed began to be translated and analyzed. ... Initial studies were inclined to be defensive of the Bible, even if such a stance required the dismissal or distortion of the cuneiform texts. The flurry of activity in connection with the relationship of these texts to the Bible had reached a critical mass of sorts by the turn of the century; and, consequently, widespread attention was attracted by the series of lectures presented in 1902 under the auspices of the German Oriental Society and attended by Kaiser Wilhelm II."

Israel's Intellectual Milieu:
John Walton suggests three main roles that a comparative study could play in Hebrew Bible interpretation: critical analysis, defense of the biblical text, and exegesis. He focuses on exegesis and its particular importance for guarding interpretation against applying modern world-views. Walton offers a thoughtful introduction to ancient Near Eastern literature and the common milieu of 'cognitive environment' that rediscovers the world of ancient Israel. He evaluates concepts of ancient beliefs on gods, views on people and history, about religion, the cosmos, after surveying types of literature, after a survey of the interface between the ancient Near East and Israel, clarifying the analogies and non similarities between them.

Comparative Biblical Study:
This book provides an excellent introduction to the field of comparative Biblical studies and integrates many specialized studies by Coogan, Chavalas, Currid, Kitchen, Redford, and Yamauchi on Israel's neighbors. He makes use of extra biblical resources to enrich their understanding of ancient Israel and its Scriptures. This is very well explained by Peter Machinist, of Harvard University, "Comparisons between the culture of biblical Israel and the other cultures of the ancient Near East have long been a fundamental part of biblical scholarship, but more often than not, they have been presented in piecemeal, isolated fashion. In his new book, John Walton offers a much broader reach, giving us arguably the most extensive review of these cultural comparisons now available together with a serious meditation on what the enterprise of cultural comparison is all about in biblical study."

Analytical Book reviews:
- "... excellent survey of the interface between the ancient Near East and Israel. I especially appreciate his sidebars on 'Comparative Exploration,' which enable readers to 'zero in' on the comparative topic of their choice relatively easily."--Mark Chavalas, U. Wisconsin
- "... an important and useful guide to entering into some of the major worldviews and value systems found in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel. ..., bridges the gaps between ancient Near Eastern texts and the perspectives of the Bible." Richard Hess, Denver Seminary
- "Walton penetrates beyond the simple comparisons often made to bring back intelligence about the contexts and constitution of the ancient world, stressing the ideas Israel and its contemporaries held in common. Yet Walton repeatedly demonstrates how Israel's faith was distinct,..." Alan Millard, U. of Liverpool
Excellent background material for old testament context.  Feb 4, 2007
The old testament had a context, the ancient near eastern context. This work will go a long way towards informing one of the type of thinking that was around in those days and in that geographical environment on many themes pertinent to the old testament. The author knows his stuff and makes helpful points along the way comparing and contrasting the old testament with the surrounding cultural views of those times. A very well done book, though maybe not for complete beginners. Another good book for getting the old testament at a thematic level is: Themes In Old Testament Theology by William Dyrness.
Excellent Survey of the Material  Dec 7, 2006
Walton provides the reader with an excellent synthesis of the broad reaches of ANE study and the biblical text through the presentation of essential documents from the ANE (including Egypt). His aim is not to prove or disprove any aspects of biblical truth (polemics) or to establish the ANE as the father for the Old Testament's text and traditions (borrowing). Rather, he succeeds in laying out a framework of thought ("cognitive environment") that existed in the ancient world and seeing how these elements are shared by the people of Israel (contextualizing their culture and community). He interacts with leading scholars for each respective field (Assman for Egyptology, for example), but keeps the work from scholarly minutae, opting instead for a readable, well-documented and defended work on the way in which people of the ancient world percieved themselves (anthropology), their community (sociology), their god(s) (theology) and other key topics. An excellent work and a must read for anyone who desires to teach, preach or learn about Mesopotamia and/or the Old Testament.
Indispensible  Nov 30, 2006
This book is indispensible for understanding the enviroment of the Ancient Near East. More than just another background study, it explores how the Biblical writers were impacted by the cultures and ways of thinking of the Ancient Near East of which they were a part. This is done in such a way that preserves both the Bible as a special revelation of God and the uniqueness of Yahweh.

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