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How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel (Paperback)
  • How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel (Paperback)
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How the Bible Became a Book: The Textualization of Ancient Israel (Paperback)

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£20.99
Paperback 272 Pages / Published: 22/08/2005
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For the past two hundred years biblical scholars have increasingly assumed that the Hebrew Bible was largely written and edited in the Persian and Hellenistic periods. As a result, the written Bible has dwelled in an historical vacuum. Recent archaeological evidence and insights from linguistic anthropology, however, point to the earlier era of the late-Iron Age as the formative period for the writing of biblical literature. How the Bible Became a Book combines these recent archaeological discoveries in the Middle East with insights culled from the history of writing to address how the Bible first came to be written down and then became sacred Scripture. This book provides rich insight into why these texts came to have authority as Scripture and explores why Ancient Israel, an oral culture, began to write literature, challenging the assertion that widespread literacy first arose in Greece during the fifth century BCE.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521536226
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 226 x 152 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'For general readers interested in ancient history and religion, for Jews and Christians who study the Bible and its backgrounds, and for scholars who study the relationship between orality and literacy, this book will be both tremendously helpful and very enjoyable ... it has the potential to reshape the study of Hebrew Bible for years to come.' Benjamin D. Sommer, author of A Prophet Reads Scripture
'In this extremely well written book, William Schniedewind tackles what has emerged as the most important question in biblical studies of our time - the issue of when the ancient Israelite accounts and traditions were put in writing ... Sophisticated and broad in its scope and yet easy to follow, this book will certainly become a cornerstone in biblical studies and in the search for the historical Ancient Israel: a real intellectual delight.' Israel Finkelstein, co-author of The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
'Schniedewind has produced a refreshing study, countering some of the extreme ideas of so-called 'minimalists' and offering a stimulus to further investigation of the uses of writing in biblical times.' Themelios
'... open new avenues of research into the fascinating topic of how literature functioned in ancient society.' Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
'What is most commendable about this book is that it is not written in scholarly jargon, inaccessible to the general public. On the contrary, anyone reasonably familiar with the Bible ought to be able to follow it, although Schniedewind has in no way sacrificed the high standards of scholarship which he is known to maintain. This book is a must for all serious students of the Old Testament which it brings to life in an unusual setting and helps us to understand the true origins of Israel's written culture. ... Professor Schniedewind has pointed the way to what promises to become an exciting new phase in biblical studies.' Churchman
'This thesis is presented with much erudition ... At places the author's stance is refreshingly independent of the modern concensus ... It is an excellent venture into an important area and well deserving of careful study.' The Expository Times
'... lucid and helpful ... His overall argument makes a significant contribution to current scholarly debates, even ... I have enjoyed reading the book, as it sparked off interesting thoughts.' Anvil
"...provides an excellent example of how a historian acts as a detective... Daniel J. Harrington, America: The National Catholic Weekly
"Exploring the evolution of literature in society and its secular as well as religious ramifications, How the Bible Became a Book is a welcome addition to Biblical studies shelves, as readable and articulate as it is scholarly." The Midwest Book Review
"A fascinating read for lay or scholarly readers, it illuminates why these texts have authority as Scripture. History buffs will enjoy learning why Ancient Israel, an oral culture, began to write literature." Horizons
"...a richly textured and revolutionary book..." Publishers Weekly
"In this extremely well written book, William Schniedewind tackles what has emerged as the most important question in biblical studies of our time - the issue of when the ancient Israelite accounts and traditions were put in writing. In what is probably the most thorough discussion of the shift from oral tradition to literacy and textuality in Ancient Israel, Schniedewind engages the broader cultural and historical questions of the circumstances under which the Bible was written. . . . Sophisticated and broad in its scope and yet easy to follow, this book will certainly become a cornerstone in biblical studies and in the search for the historical Ancient Israel: a real intellectual delight." Israel Finkelstein, co-author of The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts
"For general readers interested in ancient history and religion, for Jews and Christians who study the Bible and its backgrounds, and for scholars who study the relationship between orality and literacy, this book will be both tremendously helpful and very enjoyable.... it has the potential to reshape the study of the Hebrew Bible for years to come." Benjamin D. Sommer, author of A Prophet Reads Scripture
"In this and previous publications [Schniedewind] demonstrates a thorough grasp of the archaeology of ancient Israel, the history of the Hebrew language, and the development of biblical historical literature. Here he synthesizes the research of many others to develop a comprehensive story of the writing of the Old Testament. The result is a grand narrative of the development of scripture in Israel." The Christian Century
"This is a well researched and written book." - Bible Today Diane Bergant
"This book adds a new angle to the discussion of the origins of the Bible." An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Ely Levine, Harvard University

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