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Introduction to the Pentateuch
R. Norman Whybray
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POD; Published: 5/9/1995
ISBN: 978-0-8028-0837-0
Price: $ 21.50
154 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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Whybray provides a straightforward introduction to the contents and themes of the first five books of the Bible. Designed as an entry-level textbook for colleges and seminaries, this volume makes sense of the current muddle in Pentateuchal studies and introduces students to the contributions of earlier scholars in the field. Whybray stresses the meaning of the Pentateuch in its canonical form while remaining sensitive to its literary merit, theological import, and compelling power.
Biblical Interpretation
"Whybray is to be commended for producing a readable introduction that will give students a solid overview of the chaotic field of Pentateuchal studies. He touches on most of the major issues, usually striking a good balance between summaries of various scholarly positions and the details of their arguments. . . A very useful resource for the classroom and for non-specialists who want an overview of the field."
Church & Synagogue Libraries
"A valuable addition to church and synagogue libraries. R. Norman Whybray presents a commentary of the first five books of the Bible, valuable to anyone interested in study of the Old Testament. In a readable, clear-cut style, the author discusses a body of work, which, he says, in spite of or because of the amount of critical study of it to date, remains with 'no consensus whatever about when, why, how, and through whom [it] reached its present form."
Hebrew Studies
"This deceptively simply written book provides an accessible entrée to the documents of and current scholarly discussion on the text of the Pentateuch. Readers of all intellectual and religious perspectives will feel welcomed by Whybray's openness and will readily absorb his succinct and lucid accounts of the biblical books. Moreover as he reviews the scholarly discussion of past generations in his gently reflective, yet critical and analytical, style the reader is drawn into a sense of being engaged in the same intellectual enterprise. By his example, which is both respectful of the discussion and conclusions of the past yet excited by more innovative approaches and suggestions, the reader discovers a range of appropriate ways to write about the work of renowned scholars from the past and present. His comprehensive exposition includes the work of scholars from a wide range of religious, national, and methodological backgrounds and, though giving wide coverage to mainstream and consensus views, also cites more radical, peripheral, or contentious interpretations of both the production, and the meaning, of the Pentateuch. Technically speaking, the book presents its enormous quantity of information and comment in an apparently leisurely way. Whybray is impeccably sure-footed as he guides the reader through the array of details, names, concepts and methodologies, judging exactly where to refine and explain and where to move rapidly along. . . This is an excellent book, accomplishing what it sets out to do economically and effectively. Students will be led to consider key issues of biblical scholarship, past and present, under the guidance of an open-minded mentor."
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
"A very attractive textbook for a range of interests, combining attention to the text's religious values with up-to-date critical reflection."
Journal of Semitic Studies
"An invaluable introduction to the background, content and themes of the first five books of the Bible. . . A readable, clear and focused survey not only of recent research but also of the major contributions of earlier scholars. . . Whybray has succeeded in presenting an intelligible and concise exposition of the religious message of the Pentateuch and he has given a clear outline of some of its main theological themes. Moreover, he has brought clarity to the great confusion of opinions presently in vogue concerning several issues in Pentateuchal studies. . . The volume may be commended not only as a valuable review of recent trends in Pentateuchal criticism, but as an important contribution in its own right to an ongoing debate."
Old Testament Essays
"It is always a pleasure to read a book that reflects the mature fruits of a lifetime of scholarship. It is also a pleasure to find a book that actually succeeds in reaching its proposed target audience. This is such a book. In it, Whybray has produced something that will be suitable as a text book for undergraduate students, seeking to introduce them to the critical study of the Pentateuch without overwhelming them with a mass of detail that may otherwise create unnecessary confusion."
Restoration Quarterly
"A readable, relatively non-technical overview of the current state of higher critical scholarship on the Pentateuch."
Review & Expositor
"Whybray's introduction provides a judicious snapshot of the current state of the Pentateuchal studies in a manageable, creative, and articulate format."
The Bible Today
"Each chapter is clear and concise and is followed by a very helpful bibliography that takes the student further into the material. Whybray is noted for his insightful scholarship. This book proves him to be a thoughtful teacher as well."
The Expository Times
"With the skill of a master, he clearly and directly discusses all the main scholarly issues and at the same time shows the reader that the Pentateuch is a valuable literary and religious work."