Concise Table of Contents

 

1

Considering Historical Settings

The Bible and Cross-Cultural Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

 

2

Life in Bible Times

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!” . . . . . . . . 16

 

3

Geography and History of the Holy Land

The Significance of Rainfall and Rock Piles . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

 

4

The Scriptures of Different Faith Traditions

Why Is Your Bible Different from Mine? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

 

5

Production and Transmission of Biblical Manuscripts

Hand Copying Every Word . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

 

6

Short Stories in the Hebrew Bible

Reading the Bible as Literature . . . . . . .  . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105

 

7

Wisdom Literature

God Gave You a Brain, So Use It! . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128

 

8

Psalms: Israel’s Songbook

Ecstatic Praise, Cries of Protest, Calls for Vengeance . . . . . . . . . . . . 154

 

9

Primeval History: Genesis 1–11

Creation and Flood Stories in the Ancient Near East . . . . . .  . . . . . . 173

 

10

Foundational Stories:

Genesis 12–Exodus 19: Ancestral Narratives and the Exodus .  . . . 195

 

11

Israelite Laws

The Distinguishing Focus of Judaism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211

 

12

Hebrew Historiography

History in the Interest of Theology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236

 

13

The Prophets of Ancient Israel

Social Reformers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

 

14

The Gospels

Four Portraits of Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .283

 

15

Jesus’ Parabolic Speech Forms

Turning Expectations Upside Down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319

 

16

Acts of the Apostles

Expansion and Conflict in the Early Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344

 

17

Ancient Letter Writing & New Testament Epistles

And you thought Snail Mail was slow! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .360

 

18

The Apocalypse

Navigating the Symbolism of Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .381

 

Appendix A

Development of the Christian Bible: What Is the Canon?. . .411

 

 

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