Tradition and Interpretation

By G. W. Anderson | Go to book overview
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1. IN The Old Testament and Modern Study, research on the history of Israelite religion in the previous twelve to fifteen years was presented in its most important trends by G. W. Anderson. Here in what follows the attempt must be made to pursue the course of research in the same field through the period from 1951 to 1973.

There can be no question of a complete presentation of all the work. For one thing, the period of time requiring survey is longer; but it must be made clear that the stream of publications has grown incomparably stronger, like the Temple stream described in Ezek. 47:1-12. The birkayim (waters that reach the knees) have become sāḥû (waters which only a swimmer may cross). All that can be offered here then is a sketching in of a few of the principal directions taken in studies, and the elucidation of their methods. Also for the sake of illustration a few particularly important blocks of research will be singled out, but with no claim to completeness.

A second preliminary consideration will serve to clarify the demarcation of the field to be treated. In his contribution to The Bible in Modern Scholarship, 1965, R. de Vaux reflected by way of introduction on the three aspects under which the historical interpretation of the Old Testament can occur, and on their demarcation: (1) The historian regards Israel as one of the ancient peoples of the Near East and reconstructs its political and economic history. In so doing he pays attention inter alia to the religious institutions. (2) The historian of religion has regard for the faith of Israel which is founded on the conviction that God has directed the whole history of his


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Tradition and Interpretation


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