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The Old Testament: Text and Context, 3rd Edition

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"The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently."--Phillip Camp, Review of Biblical Literature
This new edition of a classroom standard provides students with an accessible introduction to the literature, history, and social context of the Old Testament. Written by two seasoned Old Testament professors, the book pays attention to methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre and includes illustrations, sidebars, maps, and study questions.
Preface to Third Edition
1. Introduction
2. The Premonarchic Period
3. The Early Monarchic Period
4. The Late Monarchic Period
5. The Exile and the Persian Period
6. The Hellenistic Period
7. Concluding Remarks
Glossary of Terms and Concepts


Praise for the second edition:

"With its focus on student learning, Matthews's and Moyer's revised and updated text is even more brilliant than their first edition. Artistic in its design and solid in its content and presentation, this work provides students with the necessary background to understand the Bible and its diverse cultures and rich heritage. With its engaging style and sharp attention to biblical methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre, as well as its clear explanations of important biblical terms and thoughtful study questions, this text is a gem for both students and teachers alike. I have used the first edition of this book for several years, and my students have enjoyed it tremendously. I look forward enthusiastically to sharing this second edition with them. It is a superb work, and I am grateful to Victor Matthews and James Moyer for providing teachers of the Bible with a text that answers the needs of today's students."

Carol J. Dempsey, associate professor of theology (biblical studies), University of Portland, Oregon

The Authors

  1. Victor H. Matthews

    Victor H. Matthews

    Victor H. Matthews (PhD, Brandeis University) is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for thirty years. He is the author of numerous...

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  2. James C. Moyer

    James C. Moyer

    James C. Moyer (PhD, Brandeis University) is professor of religious studies emeritus at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, and the author of numerous articles.

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"Matthews and Moyer present a very dramatic introduction to the OT. They approach the biblical text from a broad context: historical, geographical, archaeological, hermeneutical, and literary. Their presentation is easy to follow and the connections and sequence of the ideas are engaging and easily keep the attention of the reader. . . . The book is an excellent read for undergraduate students and those who want a good overview about the discussions in the different areas of OT studies. It can be also recommended for interested nonspecialists who want to gain a better understanding of the Hebrew Bible but do not want to get lost in the labyrinth of research contained in more scholarly works. . . . Matthews and Moyer have added a helpful tool to the toolbox for anybody wishing to understand the context and text of the OT."

Carlos Mora,

Bulletin for Biblical Research

"This accessible textbook is designed for use in the classroom. . . . Each section begins with convenient key points, ends with study questions, and features helpful sidebars and illustrations throughout. The authors are to be commended for their attention to usability. . . . Among other features, this rewritten and expanded third edition gives new attention to the themes of covenant, universalism, wisdom, and remnant, and features revised study questions to prompt class discussion, as well as allow students to check their understanding of the biblical texts and test their application of critical methods. . . . This practical and affordable textbook will be warmly received by undergraduates and teachers alike."

Penelope Barter,

Religious Studies Review

"The changes in later editions of a textbook are frequently more cosmetic than substantive. Such is not the case with this third edition. The entire book has been rewritten and expanded; study aids have been improved; archaeological findings have been updated; study questions have been revised; inserts with updated cultural data have been added; the glossary has been improved. . . . This is a fine textbook for college-level or even some seminary introductory courses."

Dianne Bergant, CSA,

The Bible Today

"Matthews and Moyer have now provided us with round three of their excellent OT/HB introductory text. As expected, they have continued to demonstrate their keen insights into the connections between the OT/HB and the ancient Near East, and they have proven yet again their skill at presenting such knowledge in a way as to be accessible to undergraduates and laypeople. . . . This is a valuable resource for teachers who are concerned to convey the importance of understanding the significance of the ancient Near East without losing sight of the beauty and importance of the biblical text. Undoubtedly, the success of this book for the undergraduate classroom will be due in large part to the added and enhanced tools for learning. The key points provided at the beginning of subsections serve to focus the reader's critical attention in what follows. The study questions naturally aid in retention and synthesis, and are helpfully directed both at group discussions and personal reflections. Most notable, though, are the extensive text boxes and graphics. . . . It is satisfying indeed to see a text like this one offering a perspective whereby the HB/OT is not dead, but is alive and well in many varied traditions. Matthews and Moyer have delivered a success."

Kurtis Peters,

Expository Times

Praise for the second edition:

"Here's a useful book for those just beginning to approach the Old Testament for the first time at any depth. It is clearly based on classroom teaching and is attractively laid out with 'boxes' and 'insets' for special details, diagrams, and some pictures. Study questions at the end of each section would help a student on his/her own to grasp what has just been studied. . . . A helpful book that brings the text to us, and its context and questions of interpretation."


"Matthews is well-known for his work in biblical backgrounds. . . . Such expertise in backgrounds moves this book beyond a simple introduction of the content and themes of each OT/HB [Old Testament/Hebrew Bible] book to illuminating the worlds both within and behind the OT/HB books. . . . The authors have given significant revision to certain portions of the text, restructured the chapters, and reworked the study questions to facilitate class discussion and critical thinking. . . . The book is well organized and well written. It is easily accessible to the college-level student and written with such students in mind. . . . The authors make generous use of maps, charts, photographs, and sidebars to illuminate the information in the main discussions, and each section and chapter ends with study questions. . . . The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the OT/HB. It not only summarizes what is in the OT/HB but also provides insight into the world of the biblical characters and biblical writers by integrating relevant archaeological data, social-historical issues, and insights from critical scholarship. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently. . . . A very good introduction to and survey of the OT/HB."

Phillip Camp,

Review of Biblical Literature

"In the second edition the authors have done a significant revision. . . . However, the basic structure remains the same. . . . Important concepts are printed in bold and explained fully in a glossary at the end of the book. This is a fine undergraduate textbook that examines not only the literary and historical aspects of the biblical texts but also the social context of the people."

The Bible Today

"This book is more a total reworking than a simple revision of the original text. . . . The authors believe they have achieved greater clarity, expansion, and greater attention to certain sections, especially on the prophets. My reading confirms that the authors have met if not surpassed their goals. Restructured chapters provide better uniformity in length, an aid to teaching. Reworking study questions permit better class discussion and critical thinking exercises. New sidebars help in translation and explanation of ancient texts. There are updated archaeological insights and an expanded glossary. . . . This book would be a helpful resource for all congregational and seminary libraries and an excellent text for students and teachers."

Church and Synagogue Libraries

"Originally published in 1997 and now presented as a thoroughly revised second edition, the book by V. Matthews and James C. Moyer is a textbook for undergraduates on the OT. [It] combines the history of Israel (ably surveyed) with the introduction to the individual books that are dealt with in the canonical sequence. . . . The book includes helpful study questions."

International Review of Biblical Studies