Interpreting Biblical LiteratureWhat students say: " I realized to my surprise that I read more than the syllabus assigned. Not my regular experience. I got so engrossed in reading the chapter that I finished it. I've never found any of my other textbooks to be this interesting." -- a sophomore in an encountering the Bible class

Interpreting Biblical Literature

“This book is a gift to students and teachers! With an accessible style and engaging wit, Cosby provides a sure-footed guide to those embarking on the journey into critical study of the biblical literature. The presentation achieves a balance between breadth and depth, introducing many of the most significant interpretive issues and theories, while giving helpful (and even humorous) illustrations drawn from contemporary culture. Other conceptions of such an introductory work are possible, but this work will serve both students and teachers particularly well. I highly recommend its adoption, especially for undergraduate and introductory courses in biblical literature.

“One of the greatest strengths of the book is its consistency and effectiveness in addressing its intended audience of undergraduate students (the illustrations and contemporary culture references seem particularly aimed at this age group). Yet, I believe the book could serve more advanced or seminary students in some ways as well. It would be a most appropriate adoption for undergraduate biblical literature courses.

“The glossaries, group discussion questions, and reading lists are very helpful elements of the book (the discussion questions are especially well-formulated so as to be reflective and not simply review of material). The exercises (especially the inductive exercises using texts) for students are a particularly attractive feature of the book.

“Concerning the table of contents and structure of the volume, I think the rationale behind the ordering of the chapters is understandable. Particularly for the audience of beginning students, it is useful to begin with the familiar (Hebrew short stories), then use perhaps less-threatening material to introduce concepts of composite authorship, etc., which may be troublesome for some if introduced with Genesis. This structure is one of the pedagogically helpful aspects of the textbook.

“The writing style is clear and engaging, one of the best mss of the type that I have seen in this regard. It is appropriate for undergraduate, introductory-level courses.

“The pedagogical devices were one of the main strengths of the book and one of the reasons I would adopt this book. The in-chapter boxes are effective and of the right length. The discussion questions at the end of chapters are consistently helpful, especially because they do not simply ask for information presented in the chapter but extend the discussion. Because of these devices, this is not simply a textbook, it is a “mini-course,” nearly ready-made for the professor. I would feel very comfortable placing this book in the hands of an inexperienced teacher as a substantial aid.

“One of the most helpful aspects of the mss is the use of contemporary examples for students. These, combined with the photographs, are a gift to students and teachers alike!

“The moments where the author turns aside to address theological implications that arise from critical concepts are very effective throughout the chapters. The prodding and open nature of these discussions engages the students in the right kind of thinking process upon which a class session can capitalize.”

Brad E. Kelle
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Point Loma Nazarene University

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