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Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible
Much of the Old Testament seems strange to contemporary readers. However, as we begin to understand how ancient people viewed the world, the Old Testament becomes more clearly a book that stands within its ancient context as it also speaks against it. John Walton provides here a thoughtful introduction to the conceptual world of the ancient Near East.
Walton surveys the literature of the ancient Near East and introduces the reader to a variety of beliefs about God, religion, and the world. In helpful sidebars, he provides examples of how such studies can bring insight to the interpretation of specific Old Testament passages. Students and pastors who want to deepen their understanding of the Old Testament will find this a helpful and instructive study.
Excellent Book: Delivers What It Promises And Then Some
By David A. Bielby "Ev Xpistw"
- November 29, 2007
First off I want to say that I audited a course by the author of this book, and read through the book throughout the semester. It is part of the core curriculum for an M.A. in New Testament or Old Testament Exegesis at Wheaton. I am a pastor who preaches regularly. This book has impacted my entire understanding of the Old Testament in a powerful way.
The logical format of this book gives the reader a simple and effective way to slowly enter into the worldview of ancient people. The author is very good at giving readers hinge concepts to help understand the distinctions between our worldview and their worldview.
The book categorizes ancient near eastern thought into topics that are actually enjoyable to read. Each topic could easily overlap with other topics, and Dr. Walton does a great job of separating the topics without distorting them (in my opinion).
This book tackles thorny issues that separate Evangelicals from Liberals in the land of scholars,... read more
Excellent resource to understand the cognitive context of the OT
By Harold McFarland
- April 30, 2007
Divided into five distinctive sections, this book provides an introductory look at the conceptual world surrounding the Hebrew Bible. The five sections are Comparative Studies, Literature of the Ancient Near East, Religion, Cosmos, and People.
The section on Literature of the Ancient Near East is is a good, although very brief, survey of the literature of the ancient near east including Egyptian, Sumerian, Akkadian, and Hittite. The author has included a good cross section of ritual texts, letters, chronicles, legal collections, hymns, wisdom literature, and prophecy.
The section on Religion is subdivided into The Gods, Temples and Rituals, and State and Family Religion. Here the reader is exposed to ancient thought on these subjects with the intent that they come to understand the common beliefs and practices well as beliefs and practices that differentiated them from each other.
The section on the Cosmos examines both the geography of the cosmos... read more
Excellent Survey of the Material
By J. F. McCord "Eternal Student"
- December 6, 2006
Walton provides the reader with an excellent synthesis of the broad reaches of ANE study and the biblical text through the presentation of essential documents from the ANE (including Egypt). His aim is not to prove or disprove any aspects of biblical truth (polemics) or to establish the ANE as the father for the Old Testament's text and traditions (borrowing). Rather, he succeeds in laying out a framework of thought ("cognitive environment") that existed in the ancient world and seeing how these elements are shared by the people of Israel (contextualizing their culture and community). He interacts with leading scholars for each respective field (Assman for Egyptology, for example), but keeps the work from scholarly minutae, opting instead for a readable, well-documented and defended work on the way in which people of the ancient world percieved themselves (anthropology), their community (sociology), their god(s) (theology) and other key topics. An excellent work and a must read... read more
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