Review: An Introduction to the Old Testament

26267459John Goldingay (PhD, University of Nottingham; DD, Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth) is David Alan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. Goldingay is the author of numerous books, including the seventeen-volume Old Testament for Everyone series (Westminster John Knox, 2010-15), The Theology of the Book of Isaiah (IVP, 2014), Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself (IVP, 2015), and the three-volume Old Testament Theology (IVP, 2003-09). Furthermore, Goldingay has also published a number of highly respected commentaries and a host of articles pertaining to the sphere of Old Testament studies. Most recently, An Introduction to the Old Testament: Exploring Text, Approaches & Issues (IVP, 2015), Goldingay has brought the lively and informative conversations of his classroom to the everyday reader.

Part of the difficulty with the current landscape of introductory material on the Old Testament is that it generally overlooks the necessary balance between engaging the reader and instructing them in the areas of information they need. There are certain topics that the instructor needs to address in detail, and others that they do not. Moreover, for the student, there are particular issues and topics that perk their interest and others that may not. Finding the proper balance between “need to know” and “want to know” is a difficult task, but it is essential if one is going to fully engage others in the learning process. It is within this need and reality that An Introduction to the Old Testament shines the brightest, as it executes this balance with intentional precision.

There are several unique features that make An Introduction to the Old Testament more accessible in this manner. For the sake of space here, I will list two. First, rather than operating within the traditional chapter divisions, Goldingay has designated separate two-page sections for each topic addressed within the five major sections of the book — (Part I) Introduction, (Part II) Torah, (Part III) The Prophets, (Part IV) The Writings, and (Part V) Looking Back over the Whole. This attention to detail makes the content more digestible and accessible for the average reader. Second, to supplement these smaller sections, Goldingay has provided the reader with a whole host of additional material and expanded discussions at his website. Thus, at the end of each major division the reader will find a dedicated section entitled “Web Resources” where they can further investigate related issues. This is a great feature and it really allows the reader to plunge as deep as they desire, into whatever area they desire, and come out on the other side with a better understanding of the material.

An Introduction to the Old Testament: Exploring Text, Approaches & Issues by John Goldingay is an excellent guide through the deep trenches of the Old Testament Scriptures. Goldingay is a seasoned professor and has provided the reader with a welcomed balance between the “need to know” information of the Old Testament and the “want to know” information. Moreover, he has presented it in an easily digestible layout and provided the reader additional avenues to further pursue other topics of interest. For these reasons and more, An Introduction to the Old Testament is an easy recommendation for anyone looking to explore the Old Testament. But, more specifically, if you are a teacher and/or professor and are considering the use of An Introduction to the Old Testament as a textbook, I couldn’t think of a better resource to engage your students and cultivate conversation in your classroom than this. It comes highly recommended.

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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