Cultural Anthropology and the Old Testament

Cultural Anthropology and the Old Testament

Cultural Anthropology and the Old Testament

Cultural Anthropology and the Old Testament

Synopsis

"Overholt shows the usefulness of cultural anthropology to enhance our understanding of ancient Israelite society and to shed light on some puzzling features of Old Testament stories, especially in the Elijah and Elisha cycles." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A preface affords one an opportunity to say thank you and to reflect. I am grateful to three undergraduate students—Tom Janikowski, Debra Maier, and Crystal Voigt—who read and discussed with me drafts of the first two chapters. Their comments and criticisms were constructive in the best sense of that word, and helped me make significant improvements in the manuscript. I also received helpful comments from Barbara Butler and Alice Keefe, colleagues at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, and from Carol Meyers, Paula McNutt, James Flanagan, and Frank Frick, who read the portions of chapter 3 that summarize their work. Gene Tucker encouraged me to undertake writing this volume and provided me with helpful comments and skilled and timely editing along the way to its completion. Thanks to all. As the saying goes, the errors remain mine, but any praise is partly theirs.

Two reflections: On the occasion of publishing a volume in the Guides to Biblical Scholarship series, it seems appropriate to recall that J. Coert Rylaarsdam, the first editor of the Old Testament volumes in the series, was my advisor at Chicago more than thirty years ago and is the person most responsible for my decision to make a career of Old Testament studies. It has proved to be a good choice, and I remember him with gratitude. I think also of one of those fortuitous benefits of belonging to a scholarly community. Prof. Francis Landy chanced to hear a paper I read at an annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and suggested that I look up Geoffrey Samuel's Mind, Body and Culture: Anthropology and the Biological Interface, a book that proven important to my thinking about the subject of this volume.

I dedicate this book to Robert P. Carroll, a scholar with whom I frequently argue, precisely for that reason. in recent years my disagreements with him have led me to rethink and, I hope, clarify my own views on biblical prophecy. He is a kind, but tough-minded critic, and I value his comments.

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