A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in Its Context is a concise and updated version of Michael D. Coogan's best-selling The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. Like the longer text, it takes a historical and literary approach to exploring the Hebrew Bible. It begins with two introductory chapters - one on the composition of the Old Testament and one on the geography and history of the ancient Near East and how it influenced the Hebrew Bible - in order to give students the preliminary background necessary to prepare for analysis of the biblical texts "in context." Then, with this context as a framework and additional historical and geographical information where necessary, Coogan presents the story of the Hebrew Bible. Relying on internal evidence, scholarly consensus, and current scholarship, he deals in detail with Ancient Near Eastern sources and archaeological data while also introducing readers to literary analysis and other interpretive strategies. For comparison, he also looks at other writings from the ancient Near East to give students a thorough and balanced introduction.
An appendix on the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books is included. Designed to be engaging and accessible to students of all backgrounds, each chapter begins with a short introduction connecting the chapter to the preceding material and previewing the material to come, and ends with "A Look Back and Ahead," summarizing key points and linking the chapter to the rest of the book. Boxes, strategically placed, appear throughout with useful supplementary information. Additional pedagogical features appear at the end of each chapter: Questions for Review, which reinforce material and foster discussion; and Important Terms, boldfaced at their first appearance and defined in the glossary at the end of the book. A general bibliography also appears at the end of the book, with more specific annotated bibliographies appearing at the end of each chapter. A Brief Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is further enhanced by maps, line drawings, timelines, a full color photo insert, and seventy photographs and illustrations. A Companion Website and an Instructor's Manual in both print and CD formats accompany the text.show more