Handbook on the Historical Books

Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther

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"[An] excellent introduction. . . . The book is an important addition to the literature on the Old Testament historical books. Hamilton has clearly done his homework and has packaged his findings in good prose and a coherent, readable style."--Eugene H. Merrill, Bibliotheca Sacra

From the tumbling walls of Jericho to a Jewish girl who became the queen of Persia, the historical books of the Bible are intriguing and unquestionably fascinating. In this companion volume to his Handbook on the Pentateuch, veteran Old Testament professor Victor Hamilton demonstrates the significance of the messages contained in these biblical books.

To do so, Hamilton carefully examines content, structure, and theology using rhetorical criticism, inductive Bible study techniques, published scholarship, archaeological data, word studies, and text-critical evidence. Hamilton details the events and implications of each book chapter by chapter, providing useful commentary on overarching themes and the connections and parallels between Old Testament texts. Using theological and literary analysis, this comprehensive introduction examines historical issues, attempting to uncover and discover their thrust and theological messages. For those who wish to do additional research, each chapter is appended with a bibliography.

Undergraduate students of advanced biblical studies will find this volume enlightening and helpful as they forge their way through the historical books, and pastors will find useful insight for their encounter with and exposition of this portion of Scripture.


Endorsements

"Issues of 'history' swirl notoriously all around Old Testament studies, highly subjective judgments made in the sober name of critical objectivity. In the midst of the acrimonious swirl, Hamilton cautiously, carefully, and judiciously works his way through the so-called history books of the Old Testament. Hamilton knows all about current scholarly issues, but is more interested in the text itself, the way it works, and the way the past is rendered imaginatively. As a consequence, students will find here a clear guide in considering the detail and claim of the text itself, at least for now not needing to engage the scholarly debates that focus outside the text and outside its claims."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Professor Hamilton has provided college students and anyone else serious about studying the historiographic books of the Old Testament with an excellent introduction. His careful attention to style and message bring these ancient writings to life."--Daniel I. Block, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"The many who have appreciated Victor Hamilton's Handbook on the Pentateuch will be glad to learn that he has turned his attention to the historical books of the Hebrew Bible. Like his previous volume, Handbook on the Historical Books manages to steer between the oversimplified approaches found in many evangelical texts and the complex and speculative theories found in many critical studies of Hebrew historiography. The book gives proper attention to interpretive and critical issues, but this does not obfuscate Hamilton's thorough exposition of the ideology, theology, and content of these ancient Israelite histories. Like Handbook on the Pentateuch, this volume is destined to become a standard evangelical introductory text."--Kenton L. Sparks, Eastern University

"This highly readable handbook combines clear exposition with an informed synthesis of scholarship--truly the work of a master teacher! Hamilton presents narrative summaries of the Historical Books that seamlessly integrate historical, compositional, and literary analysis. Students at all levels will find it to be an excellent guide to the biblical text and to the issues that lie at the heart of scholarly discussion."--L. Daniel Hawk, Ashland Theological Seminary

"Victor Hamilton's Handbook on the Historical Books continues the fine work he began in his Handbook on the Pentateuch. Investigating the Old Testament historical books paragraph by paragraph, he provides lucid analyses of the overall messages and important issues in each one. Hamilton's book is clearly written, contains many helpful insights, and is well informed by the best in biblical scholarship. Students and pastors alike will benefit from it."--David M. Howard Jr., Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota; author of An Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books


The Author

  1. Victor P. Hamilton

    Victor P. Hamilton

    Victor P. Hamilton (PhD, Brandeis University), now retired, was professor of Bible and theology at Asbury University for more than thirty-five years. He is the author of major commentaries on Genesis and Exodus as well as Handbook on the Historical Books.

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Reviews

"Hamilton has read widely among recent scholarship on the historical books, and he interacts with viewpoints across the theological spectrum, post-modern and feminist as well as historical-critical and conservative. . . . Students beginning study of the OT historical books should find this volume a useful resource."--Philip Satterthwaite, Themelios

"Hamilton's Handbook succeeds admirably in bringing the reader into contact with the text and orienting interpretation along lines already present in the text. Given the preoccupation of some authors with the problems that arise here and there in reading a text, the work is refreshingly focused and productive. . . . This volume's literary strengths, and its respect for the integrity of text and author alike, make it a dependable tool for helping a variety of readers move from exegesis to theological reflection."--Daniel C. Timmer, Trinity Journal

"Hamilton's work, aimed at undergraduate students pursuing advanced biblical studies . . . will prove useful and perhaps indispensable for professors, pastors, and seminary students. . . . Hamilton's writing style is conversational, entertaining, informative. It easily keeps one's interest."--R. G. Branch, Old Testament Essays

"[A] careful, scholarly, yet highly readable examination of the biblical text. . . . An enjoyable read from start to finish as the author has crafted his own narrative style around the biblical text such that the continuity of the history does not get lost in the individual treatments of the historical books. This volume belongs in the library of every person who seeks to understand the themes and significance of Israel's early history."--Robert Gulley, Ashland Theological Journal

"[An] excellent introduction to the Old Testament historical books. . . . While deliberately not adhering to the style of a commentary, Hamilton makes incisive exegetical and interpretive comments at important junctures. The greatest value to his approach, however, is the synthesis of the whole, which helps the reader appreciate the strategy and literary skill of the composition as literature. Commentaries usually fail to accomplish this worthy objective. . . . The book is an important addition to the literature on the Old Testament historical books. Hamilton has clearly done his homework and has packaged his findings in good prose and a coherent, readable style."--Eugene H. Merrill, Bibliotheca Sacra

"Hamilton's volume provides a significant contribution to the 'big picture' of historical literature. He is to be commended for his abundant charts, attention to innerbiblical coherence, and his sensitivity to rhetorical structure. . . . Hamilton does an admirable job of introducing his readers to the flow of Old Testament historical literature, pursuing certain specific issues along the way."--Michael A. Grisanti, Near East Archeological Society Bulletin

"Hamilton has made another fine contribution to Old Testament studies. . . . Hamilton's volume makes a significant contribution to the 'big picture' of historical literature. He is to be commended for his many charts, attention to inner-biblical coherence, and sensitivity to rhetorical structure. . . . Hamilton does an admirable job of introducing his readers to the flow of OT historical literature, pursuing certain specific issues along the way."--Michael A. Grisanti, Master's Seminary Journal

"A useful introductory volume for undergraduates wanting an overview of the contents of these books."--D. G. Firth, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

"This is an excellent guide for the Old Testament Historical Books. Pastors will benefit from the succinct discussion in the volume for their personal study of the Scripture or their preparation for teaching and preaching. This book is equally useful for an introductory level course on the Historical Books in seminaries and Bible colleges. It is expected that the publication of the paperback edition and its relatively affordable price will enable . . . this valuable book to benefit a wider scope of readership in the coming years."--Jang Ryul (John) Lee, Theological Book Review


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