THIS VOLUME BEGINS WHERE THE COLLAPSE OF HISTORY, PUBlished originally in 1994, ends. In the intervening years, other methods and approaches have gained increased notoriety in the continuing rewriting and reviving of Old Testament theology. These encompass the History of Religion; ethnic approaches (African American, womanist, Hispanic, mujerista, and Asian American); global studies, in particular the vast array of postcolonial approaches; and literary and cultural investigations, especially reader-response, deconstruction, and postmodern explorations. One of my theses in The Collapse of History was that approaches to Old Testament theology reflect the development of new methods and points of view in interpreting the Bible as well as the context and orientation of the interpreter. This continues to be true, as will become clear in the summaries and evaluations of the approaches in the present volume. This richness in diversity of approaches has added much to our comprehension of the theology of the Old Testament, while at the same time, it has increased the complexity of understanding both the text's theology or theologies and those of the interpreters and the social and ideological frameworks they bring to the task. This volume is a modest attempt to trace the contours of some of these newer methods to assist scholars and students to make an informed, critical entrée into this most engaging of biblical fields. Some of the language of the first volume is repeated in order to create a more integrated approach to the present book. This is especially the case in the discussion of feminism in the first part of the fifth chapter.
This volume was written during my sabbatical year in 2003 and 2004, spent in residence at the Theological Faculties of Ruprecht-KarlsUniversität Heidelberg and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, where I was respectively guest lecturer and guest professor. I am especially grateful for the warm hospitality of and stimulating conversations with Professors Manfred Oeming and Michael Welker in the Theologische Facultät at the University of Heidelberg and Professors Hermann Spieckermann and Reinhard Kratz on the Theological Faculty at the University of Göttingen. These