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The Old Testament between Theology and History: A Critical History
Westminster John Knox Press / 2008 / Paperback
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From the Enlightenment until the 20th Century te historical-critical method has dominated the field of Biblical Studies, and particularly the Old Testament. In The Old Testament: Between Theology and History traces the rise and decline of this discipline while still maintaining its necessity in appropriately understanding the Old Testament. The method has not been precluded, but situated within the field more appropriately as the biblical texts have been studied. This latter element, Lemche shows by examining the authorship of the Old Testament books the ideal area for the historical-critical method. But Lemche also moves further and discusses the emerging modes of exegesis and their consequences for the study of the Old Testament
From its inception at the time of the Enlightenment until the mid-twentieth century, the historical-critical method constituted the dominant paradigm in Old Testament studies. In this magisterial overview, Niels Peter Lemche surveys the development of the historical-critical method and the way it changed the scholarly perception of the Old Testament. He describes the rise and influence of historical-critical approaches and traces their decline and fall. Then, he discusses the identity of the authors of the Old Testament, based on the content of the literature they wrote, demonstrating that the "collapse of history" does not preclude critical study. Lemche goes on to investigates the theological consequences of this "collapse" and surveys Old Testament and biblical theology in its various manifestations in the twentieth century. An appendix includes a history of Palestine from the Stone Age to modern times, constructed without recourse to the Old Testament.
Niels Peter Lemche is Professor in the Department for Biblical Exegesis at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. He is the Founding Editor of the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament and the author of numerous influential works in Old Testament Studies.
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