Readings from the Ancient near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study

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Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study. By Bill T. Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002, 240 pp., $21.99.

Arnold and Beyer's Readings from the Ancient Near East is the promised supplemental volume to their Encountering the Old Testament (JETS 45 [2002] 513-15). This latest in Baker's ongoing Encountering Biblical Studies collects 91 of the most significant of the primary source documents from the extra-biblical material into one handy volume.

These are selections from the standard collections (ANET, Roth, Beyerlin, Coogan, Kramer, Grayson, etc.), not new translations. But the arrangement of the pieces in canonical order rather than by category, language, or literary type is perhaps more useful for the intended audience. There are eighteen subsections arranged in four parts: Part 1 Pentateuch including (1) Creation and Flood accounts, (2) Babel, (3) Ancestral Customs, (4) Epic Literature, (5) Covenants and Treaties, (6) Law Codes, and (7) Cultic Texts; Part 2 Historical Books including (8) Royal Records from Mesopotamia, (9) Chronicles and Other Historiographie Lists, (10) Non-Hebrew Monumental Inscriptions, (11) Letters, (12) Other Hebrew Inscriptions; Part 3 Poetic Books including (13) Wisdom Literature, (14) Love Poems, (15) Hymns and Prayers; and Part 4 Prophetic Books including (16) Prophecies, Visions, and Apocalyptic, (17) Divination and Incantation Texts, and (18) Lamentations. …