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A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible [Abridged] [Paperback]

John J. Collins

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Book Description

21 Sep 2007
John J. Collins' "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD-ROM" is a leading textbook in Old Testament studies. With this new, well- tailored abridgement of that larger work, Collins' erudition is now available to general readers and professors and students who prefer a shorter, more concise introduction to the Hebrew scriptures. New features, especially designed for the college student, include maps, images, and study questions. A companion web site includes special resources for both teachers and students including: PowerPoint presentations, chapter by chapter test banks, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and web site links.

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"Collins' volume meets a long-standing need for an up-to- date and well-informed critical introduction to the Hebrew Bible. A particularly important contribution of this volume is its treatment of the deutero-canonical or apocryphal books. Collins' work stands as a most welcome and highly recommended textbook for both undergradates and seminarians."- Marvin A. Sweeney, Professor of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

About the Author

John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale Divinity School and author of many works, including Introduction to the Hebrew Bible with CD- ROM (2004, 978-0-8006-2991-5) and Encounters with Biblical Theology (2005, 978-0-8006-3769-9).

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Concise Introduction 19 Jun 2008
By A.H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, concise introduction to the Hebrew Bible. I used it during a graduate course in Prophetic Literature as an extra source to help contextualize things for me and it certainly helped. It's an excellent reference especially if you just want some basic background on the various books, historical considerations, and a brief consideration on some scholarly debate pertaining to specific books. It's helpful for the scholar and student alike, but it is also approachable for those with little or no background in biblical scholarship. There are also plenty of diagrams to assist in illustrating the author's points. Incidentally, my professor decided to use the text for a graduate level intro in Hebrew Bible class next fall...
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars from Fortress Press 12 Oct 2007
By S. McDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (also by this author) is a leading textbook in Old Testament studies. With this new, well- tailored abridgement of that larger work, the author's erudition is now available to general readers and professors and students who prefer a shorter, more concise introduction to the Hebrew scriptures. New features, especially designed for the college student, include maps, images, and study questions. A companion web site includes special resources for both teachers and students including: PowerPoint presentations, chapter by chapter test banks, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and web site links.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide 29 Oct 2009
By Retiree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a guide to the Old Testament to read as I worked my way through the Old Testament. I am retired, and I decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover, something I had never done. But I wanted a scholarly guide that would explain the history and give critical analyses of the books. This was just what I was looking for. Dr. Collins' knowledge and concise articulation were quite informative and provocative.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A Short Inroduction" says it all 19 Aug 2013
By Stephen E. Lusk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a widely used text for introductory college-level courses on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. It's also the Year 1 (Old Testament) text for the University of the South's Education for Ministry, an international program of theological education for lay people (I'm a mentor in the program).
If all you want is an introduction, this is a very good text. It's reliable, main-stream scholarship, and, as text books go, readable.
Several reviews have complained that Collins is too brutal in his dismissal of the inerrancy of the Bible, but he does no more than point out that the text itself cannot support that doctrine. Particularly when you read the Bible with other ancient Mid Eastern literature, the folkloric and legendary aspects of the Biblical text are obvious: talking animals, cast away babies who grow up to be heroes, and divine beings mating with human women (but see more on this below).
That said, Collin's unabridged Introduction to the Hebrew Bible is only $20.00 more. It comes with a CD-ROM of the text (for the Libronix Digital Library System). If you are more than a beginner, the longer original is probably a better bet. The tables work better in Libronix than in Kindle, too.
As far as I can tell, there's been very little updating of the text between the long version (2004) and the Short Introduction (2007).
What got left out is often unfortunate. In the short version, Collins gives chapter and verse citations for the J and P accounts of Noah's flood, but the 2004 long version gives you the text itself. Much handier that having to juggle the text and a Bible. Similarly, the long version gives much fuller quotations from "contemporary" literature like the Enuma Elish and Gilgamesh, allowing you to see the parallels without consulting other sources. Ironically, access to those sources is something the target audience for the Short Introduction is likely to lack.
Even worse, what got left out is sometimes critical. For example, the Short version list "Amphictyony" in its glossary but omits the unabridged version's discussion why the idea that the 12 Tribes of Israel began as an amphictyonic league to protect and serve the shrine at Shilo -- almost universally accepted by Biblical scholars in the 1950s -- has been abandoned.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too condensed. 2 Jan 2014
By CMA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is for the person who really wants a brief synopsis. This is the Reader's Digest Condensed version. Not for the serious student or the person wanting in depth material.
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