Monday, May 5, 2014

Companion to the Old Testament - A Review

Companion to the Old Testament

A handy text to have available as one begins reading the Old Testament.  Written from from a more liberal perspective than I usually prefer, I found the book worthwhile and contributing to my understanding of the text.  The book is not a verse by verse, or a book by book, commentary, but provides background - historical, cultural, and theological - to help place the various OT books into perspective.  The books parallels the historical movement of the Hebrew people from creation to the Hebrew people waiting for the coming Messiah.

The book provides a very general introduction to the readers use of the OT - not focusing on the text, but on the general principles that one will use in understanding the OT.  The first chapter focuses on the principles of Bible Study.  Each additional chapter contributes to a different element of OT study - its historical or conceptual.   

A number of features add to the value of this book.  Each chapter includes a page or two of “Questions for Reflection”.  Answers are not provided (this is good), but do require the reader to do some thinking for themselves.  I appreciate the inclusion of three page of “For Further Reading”, recognizing that the book cannot stand alone, but must be used in conjunction with other reference material.  The book is well-documented, including 254 pages of “Endnotes” as  the book’s concluding contents.  I prefer footnotes, but having all endnotes at the conclusion of the book does make them easier to find than placing them at the end of each chapter.  

This may not be the first OT handbook I would add to my library, but it is worth adding and will remain within reach as I continue my studies.  I expect the same would be true of others as well.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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