The Old Testament did not appear overnight in its present English translations. It developed into its present canonical form over close to a millennium (and has been translated for another two millennia since) and the reader who is sensitive to that development will be a better interpreter of its diverse texts.
Michael Dick leads the student-reader on a path of discovery, providing insightful questions and powerful explanations necessary for the effective exploration of this marvelous work.
It is the authors intention to help students understand the Old Testament as a piece of literature (and not helping them to use it in any devotional way). In order to do this he uses examples from ancient literature to shed light on certain texts. For example, he uses an ancient creation myth from Mesopotamia, Atrahasis, to show the relation of ancient myths to the biblical account of the universal flood, as well as Jonathan Swifts A Modest Proposal to help students understand that the biblical book of Jonah is not to be read as history, and excerpts from Lewis Carrolls Through the Looking Glass to provide insight on how better to understand other texts.
Reading the Old Testament is a highly interactive text, with charts, tables, and many questions per chapter appearing both in the text and on an accompanying CD.
This text is designed for the professor who is interested in teaching the Old Testament as literature and who enjoys class discussion.
Michael B. Dick is Professor of Biblical Studies at Siena College. He is the author of Born in Heaven, Made on Earth and numerous scholarly articles.
'Michael Dicks Reading the Old Testament is an excellent interactive approach to reading the Hebrew Bible that takes the readers constitutive role in determining meaning seriously, demonstrating that meaning arises out of the interaction between reader and text. Dick accomplishes this interaction by including copious exercises (along with well placed plates, diagrams, and charts) that encourage the reader to apply the concepts in the narrative to his or her own social location. As the title suggests, Dicks work is as much a course on the dynamics of reading as it is a text on the Hebrew Bible. It is a refreshing poetics of hermeneutics that navigates the reader through the methodological maze of genetic, formalist, socio-historical, intertextual, and reader-response criticisms with an easy, inviting and often humorous style. It is rare, I think, that a scholarly text is as enjoyable to read as a piece of literary fiction, but this book is an exception. It is a book that I would read for both for its intellectual and aesthetic magnitude.'
- W. Randolph Tate, Associate Professor, Humanities, Evangel University
'The author has succeeded in presenting to his readers a fresh and engaging inductive study of the Old Testament which, while making no attempt to be comprehensive, nevertheless aids and facilitates a genuine advance and development in the comprehension of a part of Scripture which is often neglected or superficially explored.'
- The Reformed Theological Review
'This beautifully produced introductory textbook, with 73 well-chosen illustrations, maps, charts and drawings, contains a wealth of information and provides its readers with the critical methodologies and background information necessary to explore effectively the OT/HB. The accompanying CD-ROM provides interactively accessible question and answer exercises for class assignments. While the book aims to please from a didactic point of view, it introduces its readers nonetheless to complex theoretical issues, helping them to become engaged, informed and critically aware readers of the biblical texts themselves. An appendix includes short introductions to and extensive quotations from many ANE texts relating to the OT/HB that are mentioned in the body of the book. Indexes of subjects and ancient sources conclude the volume. Technical detail on the biblical texts, interactive media and learner-centred teaching modes are admirably combined to produce a textbook and teaching resource that all engaged in teaching introductory courses on the OT/HB should consider.'
- Society for Old Testament Study Book List