The World around the Old Testament

The People and Places of the Ancient Near East

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Leading Experts Introduce the People and Contexts of the Old Testament

What people groups interacted with ancient Israel? Who were the Hurrians and why do they matter? What do we know about the Philistines, the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and others?

In this up-to-date volume, leading experts introduce the peoples and places of the world around the Old Testament, providing students with a fresh exploration of the ancient Near East. The contributors offer comprehensive orientations to the main cultures and people groups that surrounded ancient Israel in the wider ancient Near East, including not only Mesopotamia and the northern Levant but also Egypt, Arabia, and Greece. They also explore the contributions of each people group or culture to our understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures.

This supplementary text is organized by geographic region, making it especially suitable for the classroom and useful in a variety of Old Testament courses. Approximately eighty-five illustrative items are included throughout the book.

Contents
Introduction
Bill T. Arnold and Brent A. Strawn
1. The Amorites
Daniel E. Fleming
2. Assyria and the Assyrians
Christopher B. Hays with Peter Machinist
3. Babylonia and the Babylonians
David S. Vanderhooft
4. Ugarit and the Ugaritians
Mark S. Smith
5. Egypt and the Egyptians
Joel M. LeMon
6. The Hittites and the Hurrians
Billie Jean Collins
7. Aram and the Arameans
K. Lawson Younger Jr.
8. Phoenicia and the Phoenicians
Christopher A. Rollston
9. Transjordan: The Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites
Joel S. Burnett
10. Philistia and the Philistines
Carl S. Ehrlich
11. Persia and the Persians
Pierre Briant
12. Arabia and the Arabians
David F. Graf
13. Greece and the Greeks
Walter Burkert
Indexes


Endorsements

"The best scholars in the modern world illuminate the various peoples in the ancient world of the Bible in this indispensable resource for students and teachers."

William M. Schniedewind, Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

"For those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, The World around the Old Testament is an eminently useful and accessible resource. The volume features detailed, well-written, and informative articles on various peoples and places mentioned in the Bible, written by leading authorities in the field. The careful attention devoted to recent archaeological excavations and ancient inscriptions is most welcome."

Gary N. Knoppers, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"The World around the Old Testament is a refreshing contribution to contextualizing the Hebrew Bible within its ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean context. The specialists for each area focus on their particular region while tying it into the larger framework of the Hebrew Bible."

Tammi J. Schneider, professor of religion, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Claremont Graduate University

"This is an especially important book. Nowhere else can one find, in a single volume, the kind of up-to-date and nuanced treatment of the ethnolinguistic groups of the ancient Near East that appears in this collection. Each chapter is written by a renowned scholar, and each carefully explains the sources that are used to reconstruct our understanding of the history, language, and religion of these cultures. The clear-eyed examination of current scholarly debates and the identification of key insights for the study of biblical texts also set this book apart. While the authors play to their strengths--with some emphasizing the surviving literature of a given group and others concentrating on political history--all of the discussions are extensive, robust, and far-reaching in their use of contemporary scholarship. The World around the Old Testament will be a very productive resource for advanced students and scholars alike."

Bruce Wells, professor of theology and religious studies, Saint Joseph's University


The Authors

  1. Bill T. Arnold

    Bill T. Arnold

    Bill T. Arnold (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Ancient Israel's History, Who...

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  2. Brent A. Strawn

    Brent A. Strawn

    Brent A. Strawn (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia. He has authored or coedited numerous volumes, including The World around the Old Testament,...

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Reviews

"This volume of essays by well-established scholars on the ancient Near East features essays that give the reader ample historical, geographical, and cultural background on the peoples that populate the OT, such as the Amorites and the Greeks. These essays are not written for casual students of the Bible, but readers who are inclined to delve deeply into the ancient Near Eastern background of the OT will find this resource a real treasure."

John R. Barker, OFM,

The Bible Today

"A single volume reference offering detailed historical, cultural, and religious treatments of the major empires as well as regional and local polities that significantly touched upon, impacted, or otherwise influenced biblical Israel. . . . Such a work is an invaluable supplementary text for students of the Hebrew Bible."

Jeffrey P. Hudon,

Reading Religion (AAR)

"An impressive volume that brings together top-quality scholarship and readability. . . . [It] offers up-to-date scholarship regarding the societies and peoples that inhabited the world around the Old Testament. . . . The Old Testament was extensively influenced by the world in which it resided and originated. In that respect, it is crucial to understand the world around the Old Testament, and The World around the Old Testament is a fantastic resource to assist in that endeavor."

Mike Reynolds,

Brave Daily


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