Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament

Biblical Archaeology Society | 4/30/2019 | Staff
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Megan Sauter (BAR): What inspired you to create this volume?

Jonathan S. Greer: I teach a core course titled “The Ancient World of the Bible,” and I always struggled when it came to textbooks—not because there aren’t any, but, rather, because I needed so many to adequately cover all of the aspects that I sought to address: geography, archaeology, ancient Near Eastern texts and iconography, etc. For a while I had in mind a “dream textbook” that would cover the breadth of material in a way that would be accessible for students in this course and others as well.

Delusions - Sort - Project - World - New

At first I had delusions that I might attempt some sort of project like this myself, but when I saw The World of the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2013), I thought how much better it would be if experts in each of the various subfields could be pulled together for it. I called up Dave Nelson at Baker to see if anything was in the works for an Old Testament counterpart, and he asked me if I wanted to tackle it. Knowing this was too big of a project to attempt alone, I went down the hall and asked my colleague John Hilber if he’d join me, and thankfully he agreed. After further conversations with Baker, we invited John Walton, and he also agreed. It’s been a pleasure to work together at the various stages in the process, from drawing up lists of potential contributors from our various circles to discussing the details of the essays.

John W. Hilber: The course syllabus for the Old Testament section of Jonathan Greer’s class became the table of contents for Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament. The rubrics surrounding “drama,” which provides the framework for the volume, was his creative impulse as well.


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