Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms

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"Estes's Handbook represents an enormous amount of time and labor well spent, for which teachers and students will be grateful."--Frederic Clarke Putnam, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

In this work, Daniel Estes introduces students to the Old Testament poetical books--Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

Each chapter explores one of the five poetical books. Estes first summarizes some of the book's key issues. He then devotes the main portion of the chapter to an exposition of the book, interacting with major commentaries and recent studies. Each chapter concludes with an extensive bibliography, allowing for further exploration.

Following in the tradition of Handbook on the Pentateuch, this valuable resource will help pastors, students, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders better understand the overall flow of each poetical book. Now in paperback.


Endorsements

"This is an eminently readable and useful book for the study of the wisdom books and Psalms. The Psalms are very popular among Christians, and this work opens up ways of studying and understanding them that will take most Christians much farther in their appreciation of these compositions and of the Psalter in which they are found. Estes also skillfully leads readers into a new appreciation for the wisdom books, which are often misunderstood and underappreciated. Students, pastors, and even highly motivated laypeople will find much to treasure in this book."--David M. Howard Jr., professor of Old Testament, Bethel Seminary

"In this handbook Estes takes his readers by the hand to guide them through some of the more difficult books of the Old Testament. The introductory sections provide excellent orientation to their contents and to appropriate reading strategies, while the commentary explains the thought flow of the biblical writers and, importantly, the sometimes apparent breaks in thought flow. Estes writes lucidly and informs his discussion from his acquaintance with a wide range of current biblical scholarship. This is a first-class study aid that anyone could read with profit."--Robert P. Gordon, Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Cambridge

"This introduction to the biblical books on godly piety and wisdom represents a model of balanced and judicious study. While taking advantage of the most recent scholarship on the Psalms and the wisdom writings, Estes is able to distill this information and present it in a form that is accessible to laypersons and helpful to any involved in the serious study of Scripture. He invites readers to an even greater delight in reading the Bible than they have had before."--Daniel I. Block, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

"Estes here provides the advanced student with an overview of the contents and theological message of the poetic books of the Bible and with some of their current interpretation. His insights reflect the best findings of contemporary scholarship. Without resorting to critical technicalities, he decodes many of the secrets of the biblical text and uncovers cultural realities that throw light on otherwise obscure sayings. Though faithful to the ancient biblical message, he always has his modern readers in mind as he plumbs the depths of that message. The bibliographies that follow each chapter will only enhance the study of this often overlooked segment of the biblical tradition."--Dianne Bergant, CSA, professor of Old Testament studies, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago


The Author

  1. Daniel J. Estes

    Daniel J. Estes

    Daniel J. Estes (PhD, University of Cambridge) is distinguished professor of Bible at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, and author of Hear, My Son: Teaching and Learning in Proverbs 1-9.

    Continue reading about Daniel J. Estes

Reviews

"In this engaging and helpful survey of the types and themes of wisdom literature, Estes . . . provides a generous introduction for readers interested in the interpretation of these books. Each chapter examines the authorship and date of a particular book and proceeds to discuss its structure, style and major themes. Estes then provides an illuminating exposition of the writing and an invaluable bibliography that students of wisdom literature can use to enhance their understanding. Estes's survey represents all major positions on introductory matters in judicious fashion. . . . Estes's book joins the other volumes in this series in providing significant introductions to the literature of the Old Testament."--Publishers Weekly

"Countless quotations of other commentators on various passages give readers ready access to the views of many authors, thus saving readers hours of research. This element stands as a somewhat unique feature of this outstanding handbook on five of the most intriguing books of the Old Testament. Every Christian reader and leader will find this book a valuable asset for studying these often-overlooked Bible books."--Roy B. Zuck, Bibliotheca Sacra

"Estes provides the advanced student with an overview of the contents and theological message of the poetic books of the Bible and some of their current interpretation. His insights reflect the best findings of contemporary scholarship. Without resorting to critical technicalities he decodes many of the secrets of the biblical text and uncovers cultural realities that throw light on otherwise obscure sayings. Though faithful to the ancient biblical message, he always has his modern readers in mind as he plumbs the depths of that message. The bibliographies that follow each chapter will only enhance the study of this often overlooked segment of the biblical tradition."--Dianne Bergant, CSA, Bible Today

"This reviewer required Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms for courses on OT wisdom literature . . . and [he] will continue to use it for all such courses in the foreseeable future. . . . This volume provides excellent verse by verse expositions of Job (11-139), Ecclesiastes (271-392), and Song of Songs (393-444). . . . For the Book of Job, Estes provides excellent argumentation for establishing the setting in patriarchal times. . . . Ecclesiastes receives the greatest amount of attention and detail. In fact, Estes' excellent commentary on that book could stand alone. . . . Readers will find the bibliographies very helpful in the pursuit of significant resources."--William D. Barrick, Master's Seminary Journal

"I find this handbook useful for evangelical readers and I applaud Estes's openness to different voices."--James L. Crenshaw, Religious Studies Review

"The introductory section on Psalms is particularly good. Estes explains the superscriptions briefly and well, with particular attention to the relationship of David to the Psalter. He is quite helpful in outlining ways of dealing with the imprecatory psalms. The discussion of history and methods of interpretation is thorough and clear. . . . This is a quite useful book for teachers and also, with some guidance, for students. The bibliographies alone make this book well worth its price. In addition, the quotations and summaries of the work of so many scholars are an invitation and guide to further research. The book is well named; it is a very handy handbook."--Irene Nowell, OSB, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"Each chapter ends with a lengthy bibliography. . . . The extensive list of essays, articles, and monographs (alphabetically by author) offers more than an introduction--they will guide even upper-level masters students well into the contemporary literature on each book. . . . Estes's Handbook represents an enormous amount of time and labor well spent, for which teachers and students will be grateful. The scholarly conversation around many issues is summarized and described, current research well represented, and the biblical materials themselves discussed, so that this work should prove accessible to and useful for beginning students, and especially those already somewhat familiar with the biblical text. . . . Estes's Handbook should prove useful to advanced students who want to explore the literature for potential thesis topics and to pastors who wish to preach these biblical books."--Frederic Clarke Putnam, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Estes displays full command of the primary material, the range of interpretive modes, and the relevant bibliography. The presentation is organized, clear, and free of unexplained jargon and technical terminology, rendering the tome fully accessible to its target audience. . . . For non-specialists in search of an entry to the poetic 'Wisdom' books of the Hebrew Bible, especially Job and Ecclesiastes, Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms is worth the investment."--David Bernat, Shofar

"Particularly useful is the full discussion of the text, which itself includes reference to the main commentators. In an age when students are less and less familiar with the biblical text before they begin studying, this is an essential element. Estes judiciously presents different viewpoints without personal bias and so gives a balanced overview of the field in each case. . . . It is particularly welcome to see the wisdom books of the OT given such a prominent and thorough treatment."--K. J. Dell, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Book List

"Students, pastors, and lay leaders who have been introduced to the Old Testament books of poetry will find this handbook helpful. Daniel Estes guides his readers through a scholarly discussion of the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, and he lists resources at the end of each chapter which provide an important bridge for those wanting to further explore wisdom literature. . . . The main strength of this handbook is the clarity of writing and the author's ability to integrate citations from commentaries and other scholarly research into a didactic discussion that both informs the reader and maintains the reader's interest. . . . Estes accomplishes his purpose in familiarizing students, pastors, and teachers with scholarly opinion, and he gives the reader an excellent guide to understanding the wisdom books and Psalms."--David Wallace, Southwestern Journal of Theology