Book Review–A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible–By John J. Collins #SNRTG

I’d like to thank the folks at Fortress Press for providing a digital review copy of this volume.

This 2nd addition has been updated and improved with respect to the first volume. As, Dr. Collins mentions in the preface, the bibliography is updated with only minor changes to the text. He also updated his analysis regarding the flood in chapter 2.

Like the first volume, this is built with the student in mind considering the general overview of subject material. There are no footnotes in this body of work which the author explains why, however there is a list after each chapter for the student to pursue.

The book is divided into 4 sections, Part One: The Torah/Pentateuch, Part Two: The Deuteronomistic History, Part Three: Prophecy, Part Four: The Writings.

Part One has 8 chapters starting with the Ancient Near East providing a sweeping overview of it’s history. Progressing to the nature of the Pentateuch Narrative, Primeval History, The Patriarchs, The Exodus, Sinai, Priestly Theology and Deuteronomy.

Part Two consists of 6 chapters covering Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings traditionally known as the Former Prophets. Broad strokes of it’s history continue in this section of the book, including how key parts of this history is marked by speeches from Joshua, Samuel, Solomon. Then explains how this history was put together through the remaining 5 chapters.

Part Three, chapters 15-20, covers all the Prophets both Major & Minor. Dr. Collins starts this section with the Ancient Near East prophetic material as a back drop to provide the student with context material regarding prophecy. Then provides the background of prophecy through Israel and it’s historical context including mentioning the prophetic book being edited with later situations in mind. Dr. Collins then explains this reasoning through modern scholarship. From this point on, he provides the student with details and time frames of the Prophets and the covenants involved.

Part Four, Chapters 21-29, are the Writings, which is explained as a catchall category. Dr. Collins also explains there are different orders of the books and provides the reader with a brief history as to how this came to be, including the differences of the Hebrew, Catholic, Protestant Greek Bibles.

I do need to mention the differences that make up the above Bibles are discussed in more detail in the beginning of the book.

Overall, I found this Short Introduction to be well worth it’s cost.

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