This book has grown in an often fragmentary and not very well-planned way, with vision usually only clear in retrospect not prospect. Although I hope that the final product has achieved coherence in such a way as to render unimportant the convoluted processes of its growth, a scholar trained in pentateuchal criticism never feels entirely confident about such matters. But while my earlier recensions may safely be relegated to oblivion, I wish to record with gratitude my indebtedness to at least some of the many formative influences on the various stages of my work, without whom it would not have become what, for better or worse, it now is.
The Theology Department of Durham University, superbly located in Abbey House, continues to be a most congenial context for work. I am able both to savour the views of Palace Green and the cathedral, and still attend sufficiently to my computer screen. A relaxed and supportive atmosphere lends itself to good conversations over coffee or lunch or en passant on the staircase. I am enriched by being here.
A preliminary first draft of the whole was read through by Stephen Barton, Chris Seitz, and Dan Hardy, who offered the kind of constructive criticisms for which every writer hopes; Stephen in particular has been an invaluable conversation partner and has contributed immeasurably to the development of my thinking. Particular chapters received valuable comment both from colleagues, Kingsley Barrett, Jimmy Dunn, Loren Stuckenbruck, Francis Watson, and Tom Wright, and from two of the best of my Biblical Theology students, Geoff Burn, and Lynda Gough. The Durham Old Testament and New Testament postgraduate seminars patiently sat through much of the material (at times feeling slightly bemused?) and made many a sharp contribution. Colleagues in the Scripture Project at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, have mulled