return to religion-online

Old Testament
The Old Testament of the Bible is a unique collection of stories detailing the lives of prophets and people who lived before the time of Jesus Christ. It begins with the book of Genesis, which describes how these early people believed the earth was formed and the first humans developed families and communities. The next book, Exodus, is famous for including the story of Moses and his experiences in Egypt. The following articles include information about Old Testament history. For an Old Testament survey of notable figures and narratives, see some of the featured essays on this topic.
  1. Adhering to Israel's God by Leo G. Perdue

    A detailed analysis of Walter Brueggemann's new book on theology and Old Testament. Perdue says that Brueggemann is certain that the past has to make room for new ways of interpreting the scripture and that he deftly guides us in these new directions as one of those few individuals who have decisively shaped this theology in the 20th century.

  2. Biblical Foundations of the Power and Politics by Kim Yong Bock

    We find the most penetrating understanding of power and politics in the biblical literature. The vision of the politics of the people of God emerged in the form of the prophetic movement, priestly movement, and messianic movement. The apocalyptic literature should be regarded as the story of politically oppressed people about the dominating powers.

  3. Conversations Among Exiles by Walter Brueggemann

    In response to times of crisis, Leviticus urged the practice of holiness, and Deuteronomy stressed neighborliness. Unless the experience of loss is expressed, examined and understood, new ways of living are not able to emerge.

  4. From Faith to Faith -- Essays on Old Testament Literature by B. Davie Napier

    (ENTIRE BOOK) This book discusses outstanding examples of Old Testament myth, legend, history, prophecy and law in an effort to show that common theological presuppositions underlie all of these varying literary types, and that they must be read and understood as speaking from faith to faith.

  5. Hunger, Poverty and Biblical Religion by Bruce C. Birch

    We are not called upon to discard completely the important salvation history themes of the Old Testament, but the church in America may find some other viewpoints more helpful in the challenges of world poverty.

  6. Listening to the Text by Walter Brueggemann

    A review of a new translation and commentary on I and II Samuel.

  7. Old Testament Ethics by Douglas A. Knight

    When one considers how often people invoke biblical teachings in matters of morality, it seems that biblical ethics would be an inviting terrain for scholars to explore. Yet there is a perplexing scarcity of comprehensive, systematic studies of the material.

  8. Old Testament Foundations for Peacemaking in the Nuclear Era by Bruce C. Birch

    For theological resources regarding nuclear disaster we must turn to the prophets of exile, Ezekial and Deutero-Isaiah, reaffirming with them Godís creation and redemption as universal in scope, and thus repudiating nationalism. Instead, servanthood is an especially hopeful path to shalom.

  9. Our Own Silly Faces: C.S. Lewis on Psalms by Stanley N. Rosenbaum

    If Christians, including C.S. Lewis, are to achieve any real insight into Psalms, several cautions must be observed. They must either know Hebrew or consult with someone who does; they should avoid invidious comparisons, explicit or implied; and they should hold their christological prejudices in abeyance.

  10. Prophets in Perspective by B. Davie Napier

    (ENTIRE BOOK) A careful examination of the prophetic movement from its beginning to its culmination in what is termed "classical prophetism" (800-600 B.C.).

  11. Reading Scripture with Kenneth Burke: Genesis by Paul E. Koptak

    This essay shows how Kenneth Burke's recommendations for literary and rhetorical analysis can direct the reading of a biblical text in preparation for preaching. If a Scripture text was designed to encourage, convict, or move to action, the sermon based on that text should do the same.

  12. Recovering the Covenant by William Johnson Everett

    The author reviews four volumes by Daniel Elazar, whose thesis is that while the past 40 years have been times of liberation from oppressive orders, whether colonial, totalitarian, racist or sexist, the next 40 years must be times of founding and refounding orders of covenantal relationship.

  13. Rhetorical Criticism of the Bible: A Resource for Preaching by Paul E. Koptak

    A number of recent studies have been published that offer help to readers and communicators who wish to hear the stories of Genesis as they were intended to be heard and to discover their significance for life at the threshold of a new century.

  14. Sociological Criticism of the Old Testament by Norman K. Gottwald

    What is so controversial about sociological criticism? The sore point lies in the move from social observation to sociological criticism. “Social” is a catch-all category for group behaviors and meanings, whereas “sociological” refers to methods and theories for systematically describing and explaining group behaviors and meanings.

  15. Song of the Vineyard by B. Davie Napier

    (ENTIRE BOOK) Professor Napier provides a beautifully presented chronological survey of the central events, themes, theology and figures of the Old Testament. Very helpful to all students.

  16. The Bible and Communication by Peter Horsfield

    In what ways can the Bible, a book from a largely agricultural, pre-industrial, and pre-electronic culture, have any bearing on how we should live and work out our faith in a global media-dominated culture today?

  17. The Book of Exodus by B. Davie Napier

    (ENTIRE BOOK) A scholarly but non-technical analysis of the Book of Exodus, offering an appreciation of the beginnings of Judaism as well as some commonalities shared by Judaism and Christianity.

  18. The Changing Face of Old Testament Studies by Christopher Seitz

    It should remain possible for an interpretive community to make a conscious decision to hear the Bible as scripture, to believe in the coercive and constraining force of the Bibles' own unique literary construction, and to regard itself as trying to live out the demands of a word and a God that stand over it, in continuity with communities of faith within the Bible and in the church's ongoing history of interpretation.

  19. The Greatest Songs by Peter Paulsen

    Scholarship suggests that the Song was not composed by King Solomon. The point of view is that of a woman and it describes a kind of unbridled rebellious passion which might only have been expressed by a woman. What if this was a book by a woman for women? What difference would that make in the way it is read and heard?

  20. The Living Commandments by John Shelby Spong

    (ENTIRE BOOK) The author examines the history and context of the Ten Commandments, and suggests their relevance in today's world.

  21. The Old Testament, Keystone of Human Culture by William F. Irwin

    (ENTIRE BOOK) Schools of interpretation agree and affirm the unique historic significance of the Bible. Coupled with God’s people down through the centuries is revealed the influence of the Hebrew people, and the Bible, on those who interacted with the Hebrews, and remoter cultures surrounding them. From these Old Testament studies come a better understanding of the Hebrews, and therefore the Old Testament.

  22. The Politics of God and the Politics of Man by Jacques Ellul

    (ENTIRE BOOK) Second Kings does not come to mind as a source for reflection and insight for a Christian understanding of how a person of faith deals with politics. Nor would most commentators chose to make Elisha the focal figure for such a study. However, Ellulís treatment furnishes one with a feast of careful analysis and insight for any person of faith seeking guidance in how to live as a Christian in a political world.

  23. The Sacred and the Mundane: The Message of Leviticus by Peter J. Haas

    The world of Leviticus, with its temple and priesthood, is strange to us, but it is central to the story of Israel. The regulations in Leviticus are important not because they serve a pragmatic purpose but because they are divinely ordained. What does it mean to be holy not in religious intention or feeling but in the details of everyday life?

  24. Truth-Telling and Peacemaking: A Reflection on Ezekiel by Walter Brueggemann

    God promises peacemaking. That peacemaking by God only happens, however, when there is truth-telling - costly, urgent and subversive.

  25. Wellhausen Goes to Yale by Christopher Seitz

    Seitz, in his review of The Book of J by Harold Bloom and David Rosenberg, takes both authors to task for essentially dismissing over 100 years of scholarship in order to present their thesis that the author of the J portions of the Pentateuch was both a woman and a secularist.

  26. What's New in Interpreting Genesis by Paul E. Koptak

    A number of recent studies have been published that offer help to readers and communicators who wish to hear the stories of Genesis as they were intended to be heard and to discover their significance for life at the threshold of a new century.

  27. Word Of God - Word of Earth by B. Davie Napier

    (ENTIRE BOOK) A series of essays, with Elijah as the model, which examine the ministry and the minister.