Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

From Paradise to the Promised Land, 4th Edition

An Introduction to the Pentateuch

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


As the foundation for the Old Testament, the first five books of the Bible are of critical importance. However, most modern studies focus on origin, neglecting actual content. From Paradise to the Promised Land offers a unique alternative by identifying the major themes and offering an overview of the contents of the Pentateuch. Unlike some academic studies, this book focuses on how the books from Genesis to Deuteronomy form a continuous story that provides an important foundation for understanding the whole Bible.

This accessible textbook has been a popular introduction to the Pentateuch for over twenty-five years. The new edition has been substantially updated throughout to reflect the author's refined judgments and to address the future of pentateuchal studies.


Part 1: The Main Themes of the Pentateuch
1. An Overview of the Pentateuch
2. God's Temple-City
3. The Royal Lineage in Genesis
4. The Blessing of the Nations
5. Paradise Lost
6. By Faith Abraham . . .
7. Who Is the Lord?
8. The Passover
9. The Covenant at Sinai
10. The Tabernacle
11. Be Holy
12. The Sacrificial System
13. The Clean and the Unclean Foods
14. Toward the Promised Land
15. Murmurings
16. Love and Loyalty
17. Why Israel?
18. The Pentateuch and the Biblical Metanarrative
Part 2: Pentateuchal Criticism
19. Introduction to Pentateuchal Criticism
20. The Rise of the Documentary Hypothesis
21. Going behind the Documents
22. The Documentary Hypothesis under Threat
23. Exodus 19:1-31:18--a Test Case
24. The Future of Pentateuchal Studies


"With theological acumen that comes from being a senior Old Testament scholar, T. Desmond Alexander has provided a tour de force on the Pentateuch in his fourth edition of From Paradise to the Promised Land. Too often Old Testament scholarship focuses on individual verses and chapters, but Alexander brilliantly traces key themes that reverberate throughout the Pentateuch, providing rich theological and exegetical insights along the way. I have used this volume as a textbook, and the fourth edition now includes an up-to-date discussion of pentateuchal scholarship. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the Pentateuch. I highly recommend it!"

Carol M. Kaminski, professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"This is a magnificent volume. I have used T. Desmond Alexander's textbook on the Pentateuch in my courses for many years. He now offers a carefully revised, expanded, and updated fourth edition that will carry us into the future. He combines the emphases of the previous editions with new ones. In part 1 Alexander walks the reader through the historical, literary, and theological content of the Pentateuch. He shows that, as it now stands, the Pentateuch is a coherent, unified composition. In part 2, he has placed his updated and very well-written review and critique of modern critical approaches to the composition of the Pentateuch at the end of the book--rather than at the beginning, as in the previous editions. This is a good move. Alexander's discussion in this section sorts out the current plurality of critical positions in a readable way and offers sound, reasonable responses to them."

Richard E. Averbeck, professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"T. Desmond Alexander has given us an outstanding study of the Pentateuch that every student and minister of Scripture should read. It is exegetically grounded, thematically organized, and theologically rich. Furthermore, Alexander skillfully navigates through various critical approaches to pentateuchal studies in a way that takes Scripture for what it is: God speaking. In the end, he takes the reader on a beautiful journey that begins in paradise and ends in the promised land and that in the process guides us from Adam to Christ."

Oren R. Martin, associate professor of Christian theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College

The Author

  1. T. Desmond Alexander

    T. Desmond Alexander

    T. Desmond Alexander (PhD, The Queen's University, Belfast) is senior lecturer in biblical studies and director of postgraduate studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has written numerous books, including two commentaries on...

    Continue reading about T. Desmond Alexander