Synopses & Reviews
In this lively and fresh introduction to the scriptures of ancient Israel (what Christians call the Old Testament and Jews call the Tanakh), two preeminent biblical scholars, Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine, combine their passion and expertise to examine not just what the Bible says
but what it means
. Through their eyes we see anew the Bibles literary brilliance, moral profundity, historical settings, and implications for our faiths and our future.
Passed down for generations, compiled between 500 and 100 BCE, and finalized around the time of Jesus, the various accounts in the Hebrew Bible took shape under a variety of cultures. Drawing on their extensive biblical scholarship, Knight and Levine explore this diverse history and equip us with the critical tools necessary to understand what the ancient texts originally meant. With long experience in teaching candidates for the ministry as well as undergraduate and graduate students, they also explore the possible meanings the texts hold today for churches, synagogues, and anyone interested in the Bibles legacy.
Knight and Levine begin with the broader biblical story—its historical context, literary artistry, and geographical setting. They then turn to the major biblical themes with which modern readers continue to wrestle: law and justice, human evil and Gods response, belief and practice, chaos and creation, war and peace, gender and sexuality, politics and economics, practical wisdom and apocalyptic vision. For each topic, they provide both general overviews and specific analyses of select biblical passages, explaining how and why their approaches reveal new insights and offering various strategies for informed interpretation.
Throughout, Knight and Levine inspire us to ask new questions and develop a deeper understanding of one of the greatest collections of literature known to humankind—as illuminating today as it was two thousand years ago.
"This is a smart book by two seasoned professors of Jewish studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School. Knight, also a professor of Hebrew Bible, is the author of many books and articles, and Levine (The Misunderstood Jew), also a professor of New Testament, do not follow the tired model of trying to retell the Bible for modern application. Instead, they organize the book to cover background information (history, literary styles and development); themes such as 'law and justice'; society, including politics and sexuality; and the roles and writings of biblical prophets and sages. Readers looking for a single interpretation or explanation of individual books may be confused by the authors' integration of biblical characters, texts, and ancient history into a single section Ruth's story, a quote from Micah, and discussion of biblical laws, for example but this structure addresses such broader questions as the administration of justice in the Bible. Without telling believers how to use their sacred texts, subtitle notwithstanding, the authors help readers think about the Bible in new ways." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us, preeminent biblical scholars Douglas A. Knight and Amy-Jill Levine deliver a broad and engaging introduction to the Old Testament—also known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible—offering a wealth of compelling historical background and context for the sacred literature that is at the heart of Judaism and Christianity. John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World writes, "Levine and Knight have combined to write a book on the Bible that is as academically brilliant as it is marvelously entertaining. By placing our scriptures into their original Jewish context they have opened up startling and profound new insights. This is a terrific book."
About the Author
Douglas A. Knight is Drucilla Moore Buffington Professor of Hebrew Bible and professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. Knight is the author of Law, Power, and Justice in Ancient Israel
and Rediscovering the Traditions of Israel
Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University and affiliate faculty at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge, UK. Levine is the author of The Misunderstood Jew and served as co-editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament.
Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University and affiliate faculty at the Centre for the Study of Jewish Christian Relations in Cambridge, UK. Awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies, Levine, an internationally sought lecturer, has authored and edited numerous books, including the highly acclaimed The Misunderstood Jew. She has also recorded “Introduction to the Old Testament” for the Teaching Company.