Who's Who in the Old Testament: Together with the Apocrypha

Who's Who in the Old Testament: Together with the Apocrypha

Who's Who in the Old Testament: Together with the Apocrypha

Who's Who in the Old Testament: Together with the Apocrypha

Synopsis

The Routledge Who's Who: The Old Testament brings vividly to life the thousands of characters in the Old Testament, and provides:bull; nearly 3000 extensive entries covering every characterbull; detailed biographical information on each character, including exactly where to find them in the Biblebull; the complete historical, geographical and archaeological context of each entrybull; a comprehensive chronology of the timesbull; a section on the Apocrypha - the collection of works that bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments.

Excerpt

The Old Testament contains the ancient literature of the Hebrew people. the works in it were composed and re-edited over a period of more than a thousand years, up to about the end of the 3rd century bc.

Other Near Eastern civilizations, such as the Egyptian and the Babylonian, produced religious and historical writings, legal codes, legends and folktales, prophecies, proverbs and poetry. But only the Hebrews wove them into a sacred anthology. What resulted was not so much an historical work in the modern sense, as a religious epic. the covenant between a small people and a universal God was the central theme, and all events were related to it. When neighbouring nations oppressed them, when the imperial armies of the ancient world trampled upon them, when they were afflicted by plague or bad harvests, it was because the Lord was angry with the Israelites for their transgressions. Even kings had to obey the Law, for it was God's Law. Perhaps for this reason, the Hebrews portrayed their own forefathers with remarkable honesty, and refused to make saints or demigods of them. Jacob can trick his old, blind father into giving him Esau's blessing; and David, the national hero, can behave shamefully over Bathsheba. It is this quality which makes the Old Testament so intensely human a chronicle.

The most venerable part of the Old Testament is the Pentateuch, or the Five Books of Moses. Its ultimate form was a blend of four early written versions: the 'J' Document, compiled in the southern kingdom of Judah in the 10th century BC; the 'E' Document, compiled in Ephraim in the northern kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries BC; the Book of Deuteronomy (the 'D' Document), dating from the 7th century BC; and the material introduced by the priestly writers (the 'P' Document) about the time of the Exile.

Chronicles, produced about the 4th century bc, drew its material partly from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Joshua, and mainly from the Books of Samuel and Kings. This material was rewritten in a way that suited the Chronicler's didactic purpose. Ezra and Nehemiah are usually regarded as a continuation of Chronicles.

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