Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East
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Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East

Westminster John Knox Press / 2013 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW237011


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Product Description

This study considers the historical, cultural, and literary significance of some of the most important Ancient Near East (ANE) texts that illuminate the Hebrew Bible. Christopher B. Hays provides primary texts from the Ancient Near East with a comparison to literature of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate how Israel's Scriptures not only draw from these ancient contexts but also reshape them in a unique way.

Hays offers a brief introduction to comparative studies, then lays out examples from various literary genres that shed light on particular biblical texts. Texts about ANE law collections, treaties, theological histories, prophecies, ritual texts, oracles, prayers, hymns, laments, edicts, and instructions are compared to corresponding literature in the Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The book includes summaries and reflection questions to help instructors and students identify key points for comparison. By considering the literary and historical context of other literature, students will come away with a better understanding of the historical, literary, and theological depth of the Hebrew Bible.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 0664237010
ISBN-13: 9780664237011

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    5 Stars Out Of 5 4 Reviews

Author Bio

Christopher B. Hays is the D. Wilson Moore Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Death in the Iron Age II and in First Isaiah.

Endorsements

Hidden Riches is a skillfully curated introduction to comparative study of the Hebrew Bible. Hays provides expertly translated text selections, helpful introductions to each, questions for reflection, and bibliographical suggestions, all of which contribute to a deeper understanding of the Hebrew Bible. Hidden Riches is an ideal textbook for both undergraduate and master's students.
-Jeffrey Stackert,
The University of Chicago

This collection of ancient Near Eastern texts for the study of the Hebrew Bible is wonderful! For each ancient Near Eastern text paired with a biblical text, the author provides a very engaging and helpful discussion followed by thoughtful study questions. Ideal--and most highly recommended--for a semester introduction to the Hebrew Bible.
-Mark S. Smith,
Skirball Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University

Christopher Hays's work represents an important contribution to the approach known as 'Scripture in context.' The strength of this book is in its organization, as Hays skillfully builds context from a broad range of Near Eastern materials, each placed carefully within the comparative framework of Scripture. As such, it represents an invaluable resource for the study of biblical as well as cognate literature.
-Matthew J. Suriano,
The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, University of Maryland

This is a most helpful resource for the study of the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, since it not only provides the most relevant comparative material, but also critically assesses it and its biblical counterparts. Hays's specialization in both biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern studies has yielded a thorough and reliable tool for students and teachers alike.
-Konrad Schmid,
Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism, University of Zurich

In Hidden Riches, Christopher B. Hays provides an erudite yet accessible treatment of many ancient Near Eastern texts, examining each in relation to comparable biblical texts. But far from exhibiting the 'parallelomania' of yesteryear, Hays's comments take a balanced and well-studied approach, serving to introduce readers to important interpretive issues surrounding these texts in contemporary critical scholarship. The author's astute questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading lead both introductory and more advanced students into the broader world of thought in which the Bible took shape, filling a long-standing lacuna in classroom-oriented textbooks.
-Jeremy M. Hutton,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Editorial Reviews

"Christopher Hays's work represents an important contribution to the approach known as 'Scripture in context.' The strength of this book is in its organization, as Hays skillfully builds context from a broad range of Near Eastern materials, each placed carefully within the comparative framework of Scripture. As such, it represents an invaluable resource for the study of biblical as well as cognate literature."
--Matthew J. Suriano, The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies, University of Maryland
"This is a most helpful resource for the study of the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, since it not only provides the most relevant comparative material, but also critically assesses it and its biblical counterparts. Hays's specialization in both biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern studies has yielded a thorough and reliable tool for students and teachers alike."
--Konrad Schmid, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism, University of Zurich
"In Hidden Riches, Christopher B. Hays provides an erudite yet accessible treatment of many ancient Near Eastern texts, examining each in relation to comparable biblical texts. But far from exhibiting the 'parallelomania' of yesteryear, Hays's comments take a balanced and well-studied approach, serving to introduce readers to important interpretive issues surrounding these texts in contemporary critical scholarship. The author's astute questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading lead both introductory and more advanced students into the broader world of thought in which the Bible took shape, filling a long-standing lacuna in classroom-oriented textbooks."
--Jeremy M. Hutton, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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  1. John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    This is a volume that will both make you think and challenge your thinking!
    March 18, 2016
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Christopher B. Hays is D. Wilson Moore Associate Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. Hays has received a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Emory University. He is the author of Death in the Iron Age II and in First Isaiah and is currently working on the Isaiah commentary for the Old Testament Library series. Most recently, Hays has released an excitingly useful volume for students and enthusiasts of the Old Testament: Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (WJK Books, 2014)

    Hidden Riches opens with a brief introduction to the history and methods of comparative studies. Hays does the reader a service by immediately establishing his efforts within the overall context of the discipline, and rightly positions the reader for the coming investigation. The book is arranged canonically (Pentateuch, Former Prophets, Latter Prophets, and Writings), and thus is ideal for the task of comparative studies. Each chapter begins with introductory or composition information for both the biblical and ancient Near Eastern literature, including date, location, language, and more, followed by a readable and up-to-date translation of the comparative source (translations are done by Hays and others scholars, and footnotes are provided therein). Each chapter concludes with discussion around the sources, reflection questions, and a brief bibliography for additional study.

    Hidden Riches is an excellent resource for serious study of the Hebrew Bible, and I think that there are a number of qualities that make this volume appropriate for the average reader but especially for academic use. First, Hays interaction when seeking to provide discussion around the biblical and ancient Near Eastern text is accessible and easy to understand for the average reader, although it does assume some prior knowledge in various sections. Second, the inclusion of a separate bibliography at the end of each chapter is fitting for additional study, but I think that the work cited will be largely inaccessible to the average reader. There are certainly gems buried, but this section will find its primary use in the work of graduate students and beyond. Third, Hays covers a wide range of comparative genres and the scope of the volume is quite impressive. There is certain to be something for every reader to ponder regardless of academic experience and background.

    The comparative study of the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near Easter literature is strangely neglected in the arena of popular thought concerning the Old Testament. While the reader is certain to walk away with some level of disagreement with Hays, the importance of the study should not be overshadowed by intellectual conflict. The Hebrew Bible did not develop in a vacuum. What I appreciated most about Hays treatment of the study in Hidden Riches was his keen ability to bring high-level scholarly conversations down to a level in which even an interested undergraduate student could interact. This is a volume that will both make you think and challenge your thinking. Hays is clear, informative, fair, judicious, and well-positioned for the task of this book. It will be used often and comes highly recommended!



    I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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