Introduction to the Historical Books: Strategies for Reading

Introduction to the Historical Books: Strategies for Reading

Introduction to the Historical Books: Strategies for Reading

Introduction to the Historical Books: Strategies for Reading

Synopsis

Steven McKenzie here surveys the historical books of the Old Testament -- Joshua through Ezra-Nehemiah -- for their historical context, contents, form, and themes, communicating them clearly and succinctly for an introductory audience. / By providing a better understanding of biblical history writing in its ancient context, McKenzie helps readers come to terms with tensions between the Bible's account and modern historical analyses. Rather than denying the results of historical research or dismissing its practitioners as wrongly motivated, he suggests that the source of the perceived discrepancy may lie not with the Bible but with the way in which it has been read. He also calls into question whether the genre of the Bible's historical books has been properly understood.

Excerpt

The term “Historical Books” in reference to a portion or portions of the Bible is unfortunate. It is unfortunate, first of all, because it is difficult to determine which books fall into this category and why. in fact, different books are placed in this category by different faith communities and by different scholars with roots in the different faith communities. the designation Historical Books is a distinctly Christian one, appearing first in the writings of Christian leaders of the fourth century C.E. There is a good chance that Jewish readers will not even find the category of Historical Books in their Bibles. Instead, the books of Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings are grouped among the Prophets, in the Jewish canon, possibly as a subunit entitled Former Prophets. Other books sometimes included in this category — Ruth, Esther, Ezra-Nehemiah, and 1-2 Chronicles (usually in that order) — are all found in the third major section of the Hebrew Bible, the Writings.

Among Christians, Protestants can open their Bibles and find a canonical unit of the Old Testament under the heading Historical Books that encompasses the works of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings,

1. Thus, The Jewish Study Bible edition of the jps Tanakh translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) vi, under the headings Neviʾim and Ketuvim, Hebrew for “Prophets” and “Writings,” respectively.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.