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The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Unabridged)
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The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Unabridged) [Audio Download]

by Michael Coogan (Author), Tom Parks (Narrator)
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 1 minute
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 1 Nov 2013
  • Language: English
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Eminent biblical scholar Michael D. Coogan offers here a wide-ranging and stimulating exploration of the Old Testament, illuminating its importance as history, literature, and sacred text.

Coogan explains the differences between the Bible of Jewish tradition (the "Hebrew Bible") and the Old Testament of Christianity, and also examines the different contents of the Bibles used by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and Protestants. He looks at the rise of modern biblical scholarship as well as the recovery of ancient Near Eastern literatures and their significance for biblical interpretation. Coogan explores the use of invented dialogue and historical fiction in the Old Testament, the presence of mythic elements in apparently historical accounts, and the relationship of ancient Israelite myths to those of their neighbors.

The audiobook considers the Old Testament's idea of divine justice, especially in Ecclesiastes and Job, and looks at notions of the afterlife in the ancient Near East and in ancient Israel. Coogan highlights the significance of the history and literature of the Old Testament and describes how non-biblical evidence, such as archaeological data and texts, has placed the Old Testament in a larger and more illuminating context. The audiobook also discusses law and ritual in the Bible as well as the biblical understandings of prophecy. Here then is a marvelous overview of one of the great pillars of Western religion and culture, a book whose significance has endured for thousands of years and which remains vitally important today for Jews, Christians, and Muslims worldwide.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Produced by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, ...

©2008 Michael Coogan; (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction, but no fireworks 24 Aug 2010
By Babur
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If I'd never read any of the other Very Short Introductions, this is exactly what I would have expected - and wanted - a Very Short Introduction to the Old Testament to be like.

Most of the book consists of short 10 or 12 page chapters (the OT and history, the OT and myth, Biblical law, festivals and ritual, poetry and dissent...) illustrating interesting aspects of the Old Testament. There are also two "deep probes", on the Exodus and on Hezekiah and Sennacherib, where the geographical and historical context comes especially to the fore. The author's deep knowledge is evident everywhere, but he wears it lightly.

I found it all interesting, and bits of it fascinating - especially the parts on prophets (what were they in reality?) and on ancient Israelite festivals (esp. the "festival of the booths").

If I have a reservation about the book, it is that it didn't "light my fire" in the way that some of the other Very Short Introductions did (the one on Classics, for example, or the one on Kafka). On the other hand it didn't leave me stranded, as some have. If anything, I think I'd have liked it to be a bit more challenging.

There are one or two mild Americanisms, but the style is generally lucid and simple.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but worthwhile read 25 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
To anyone but those who have been exposed to the field of Biblical scholarship, the basic premise and the narrative tone of this book may come as a surprise. From the opening pages of this very short introduction the Old Testament is presented as a collection of literature of one particular ancient people, the Hebrews, which by some inadvertent accident of history has survived to this day, unlike most other ancient collections of literature. The religious aspect the Old Testament is downplayed, and at times even ignored. This approach completely ignores the fact that the only reason why we are even remotely interested in the Old Testament is because it has been the primary religious text for untold millions of people throughout much of its history. This special place that the Old Testament holds is the reason why it was so scrupulously preserved. It is downright intellectually dishonest to ignore this point.

However, once one does accept the basic premise of the attitude of this very short introduction, it becomes easier to accept it for the insights that it does provide. It introduces the reader to the main scholarly approaches to the Old Testament. It provides the insights into the source criticism, historic criticism, and the analysis of various narrative types that are encountered in the Old Testament. Many of these insights are interesting, and can greatly contribute to the understanding of the Scriptures. However, most of the insights are just a short taste of what that particular line of inquiry can lead to. This is, however, is to be expected from a book of this length, and in no way does it diminish its values. Even though this is a conceptually flawed book, it has many redeeming qualities that make it a worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars review 22 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This pocket size book was easy to read, very informative and helped me understand the background of the old testament.
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