1st Edition

The Old Testament A Concise Introduction

By Brent A. Strawn Copyright 2020
    226 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This concise volume introduces readers to the three main sections of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and to the biblical books found in each. It is organized around two primary "stories": the story that scholars tell about the Old Testament and the story the literature itself tells. Concluding with a reconsideration of the Old Testament as more like poetry than a story, three main chapters cover:

    • The Pentateuch (Torah)
    • The Prophets (Neviʾim)
    • The Writings (Ketuvim)

    With key summaries of what the parts of the Old Testament "are all about," and including suggestions for further reading, this volume is an ideal introduction for students of and newcomers to the Old Testament.

    1 The Story of the Old Testament and the Old Testament as Story

    2 The Pentateuch (Torah)

    3 The Prophets (Neviʾim)

    4 The Writings (Ketuvim)

    5 From Story to Song


    Brent A. Strawn is Professor of Old Testament at Duke University, USA. He has edited more than 20 volumes to date, including the award-winning The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law (2015). His most recent book is The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment (2017). He was a member of the translation team and editorial board for The Common English Bible.

    ‘An excellent introduction to the Old Testament! Strawn delightfully guides readers through both the content of the books in the Hebrew Bible and the most current questions in biblical scholarship. No background knowledge is presumed, and no other introduction to the Old Testament is as readable. Students and teachers alike will appreciate Strawn’s jargon-free and undogmatic discussion of debates among scholars, his humor and literary sensitivity with biblical prose and poetry, as well as his attention throughout to the diversity and complexity of issues that face all readers of biblical literature.’ — Davis Hankins, Appalachian State University, USA

    ‘Brent A. Strawn’s The Old Testament: A Concise Introduction is a tour-de-force that provides an exceptional orientation to the "lay of the land" stretching before students as they set out to explore the texts of the Hebrew Bible. Strawn overviews the content of the Old Testament with a balance of detail, clarity, and wit, while also presenting an outstanding up-to-date primer to the long history of biblical interpretation that students will meet in the classroom. Strawn is an expert field guide who welcomes readers with unrivaled sensitivity and care for detail, and his book will inspire thoughtful, critical engagement with the biblical text for years to come, in both undergraduate and seminary settings.’ — Kelly J. Murphy, Central Michigan University, USA  

    ‘Aimed at first-time readers of the Old Testament, Brent Strawn’s Concise Introduction is a highly readable, accessible, and reliable guide to the rich anthology of literatures that make up the Old Testament. Readers will come away from this book with a much deeper appreciation of the complexity, the sophistication, and the compelling nature of the Old Testament as an ancient but timeless word that proves timely for each new context and generation.  Strawn helps us see how the Old Testament may be read paradoxically "as if" it were a grand, coherent story and "as if" it were unsettled, open-ended poetry, constantly sparking new questions and avenues of interpretation.’ — Dennis Olson, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA