History and Ideology in the Old Testament: Biblical Studies at the End of a Millennium

History and Ideology in the Old Testament: Biblical Studies at the End of a Millennium

History and Ideology in the Old Testament: Biblical Studies at the End of a Millennium

History and Ideology in the Old Testament: Biblical Studies at the End of a Millennium

Synopsis

'Deserves to be read by the younger generation of Biblical scholars who will train pastors and teachers in the new millennium' -Old Testament Essays'A first-class read' -Journal for the Study of the Old TestamentProfessor Barr has brought together aspects of controversy about the Bible at the end of the millennium with an emphasis on the Old Testament and the history of Israel. The central question is how far the Bible gives us a vision into a real world of the past and how far it expresses a world imagined for religious reasons by writes who lived many centuries later.

Excerpt

This work was originally presented as a series of four lectures in May 1997. The lectures were revised and amplified for publication during 1998, in particular during a stay at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Centre in Bellagio, Italy, in November and December 1998. I have to express my gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation for its generosity in the magnificent splendour of the Villa Serbelloni and for the kindness and helpfulness of its staff.

It was never my intention to provide in this volume a full account of the complex questions involved in the title, or to review the relevant literature in full. Nor was it possible, within the limited space available, to offer my own version of a right answer to all these questions. My plan has been rather to discuss examples that will illustrate certain contemporary discussions.

For this I had the advantage, during the year after the lectures were delivered, of literature that had recently appeared. Indeed, so much has been written on my theme in recent years that I was unable to include, except by references in footnotes, some important work that came to my notice at a late stage. I must mention, however, two books that were published in time for me to use them and which made much difference to the presentation of my arguments. I was particularly indebted to The Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation, edited by Professor John Barton. This work furnishes excellent exemplification of many aspects of my theme, within a compass easily accessible to all readers. Readers of the present work will do well, therefore, to use several of its articles as a true Companion to my pages, and I have therefore abbreviated its title to Companion with this in mind. One other recent work, less often quoted here but equally significant for my argument, is Harriet Harris's Fundamentalism and Evangelicals (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).

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