Much of the Old Testament can seem strange to contemporary readers. However, as we begin to understand how ancient people viewed the world, the Old Testament becomes more clearly a book that stands within its ancient context, while also speaking against it.
John Walton offers a thoughtful introduction to ancient Near Eastern literature and the ‘common cognitive environment’ that it provide for understanding the world of ancient Israel. After surveying types of literature, he considers the perspectives they offer on beliefs about gods, religion, the cosmos, people and history. Throughout, helpful sidebars focus on Old Testament interpretation to illuminate the continuities and discontinuities between the Israelites and their neighbours.
This volume provides an excellent introduction to the field of comparative studies, and will be an important guide for all those who want to make use of extrabiblical resources to enrich their understanding of ancient Israel and its Scriptures.