An Introduction to the Bible

An Introduction to the Bible

An Introduction to the Bible

An Introduction to the Bible


Many current Bible "intro" volumes focus more on theories about the biblical text than on the text itself. They lack the simplicity that has become increasingly crucial as basic biblical literacy has declined. Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin seek to remedy that problem by turning readers back to the text at hand. Their Introduction to the Bible surveys the content of all the biblical books, section by section, focusing on the Bible's theological themes.


For many who teach the Christian Scriptures, an often troubling aspect of Introductions to the Bible is their tendency to focus less on making the content of the Bible clear to readers than on clarifying current critical theories about the Bible. While such information is interesting, and does have a place in introductory texts like this one, it should not predominate to such an extent that readers do not first receive an adequate introduction to what is in the Bible. Likewise, scholarly interest in theories regarding the Bible’s origin and history has long forced to the sidelines discussion of the Bible’s basic interest, theology, reflection on the nature of God and of humanity in relationship with God.

We hope to have produced an Introduction that avoids this twofold error. To do so we have brought to the forefront of our Introduction the neglected practice of guiding readers carefully and completely through the biblical text. With very few exceptions, the chapters of this textbook provide section-by-section surveys of the biblical text called “A Walk through [Name of Book].” We hope that these relatively leisurely strolls through the books of the Bible will serve as roadmaps for students as they read the Bible itself. We have found this to be a helpful tool in our own teaching, and we suspect it will serve our readers well too.

We also place in bold relief reflections on the theological implications and claims of the biblical books. For each biblical book we offer a section titled “Theological Themes in [Name of Book].” Here too we hope to give our readers something they often miss in contemporary Introductions. For a variety of reasons, this aspect of the Bible has been left aside altogether or relegated to separate, “specialized” introductions. We understand the Bible as an intrinsically theological book, one that begs to be read as such, just as much as instructions for assembling a child’s new toy demand being read as technical writing. To us, it makes no sense to introduce students to the Bible merely as history, literature, a record of political or ideological history, or a testimony to societies living or dead. the Bible may be read with all those questions and concerns in mind, but it must first and foremost be read as the text it presents itself as, a theological witness.

Lest readers expecting the more typical fare be disappointed, we also provide between our walks through the biblical books and our surveys of their theological themes a section titled “Critical Issues in [Name of the Book].” These include coverage of the most significant issues, theories, and hypotheses that modern critical . . .

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