Bret James Stewart's Reviews > A Survey of the Old Testament

A Survey of the Old Testament by Andrew E. Hill
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really liked it

This book provides a nice introduction to the books of the Old Testament in an accessible way. To begin with, the cover art is attractive. In fact, the book abounds with colour pictures and charts that really help the beginner or even the mid-level student/reader to understand the historical and cultural elements of the O.T. The pictures at the beginning of the chapters, in particular, really bring the book in question to life with a photo of something pertinent to that book.

This is a survey text, so it does not go super in-depth about the individual books of the Bible, but it does provide a nice overview. It addresses things you might expect, such as canonicity, genre, authorship, and the other basic information about the texts. The authors have no problem admitting something is unknown or they view it as unknown due to the evidence. There is a glossary and an index, which is helpful. A summary and segue to Christological aspects of the New Testament is present as are two appendices, one about the critical methodologies and one regarding the composition of the Pentateuch.

The book is divided into parts corresponding with the layout of the Bible, which makes it easy for the reader to follow along. There is an introduction, a section on the Pentateuch, a section on the historical books, a section on the poetic books, a section on the prophets (not subdivided into major and minor as many books do), and an epilogue. In addition, there are some chapters devoted to special issues that pertain to the various parts such as archaeology. They combine I and II Samuel, Chronicles, and Kings as is pretty typical, but they also combine Ezra and Nehemiah, which is less standard—by “combine,” I mean they treat them in the same chapter.

Overall, I like this book. I especially like the artwork as it brings sometimes dry material to life. I deduct one star for the author’s misconception that the Roman Catholic Church represents a “branch” of Christianity rather than a separate religion (as can be demonstrated). I suspect this fault lies in the book being written in a non-confrontational, “let’s appeal to the masses” sort of way. Still, the book has some interesting non-typical ideas; I was particularly enlightened regarding the Book of Jonah with the prophet being a typological figure for Nineveh. I think any non-biblical-specialist would find this text helpful.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 25, 2015 – Shelved

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