This book introduces students with a little background in biblical studies to the scholarly study of the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy). Existing introductions to the Pentateuch are either mainly concerned with historical criticism or taken up with a survey of the contents of the five books, or both. This book is distinctive in that every chapter is concerned with the whole Pentateuch, and in that it approaches the subject from three completely different points of view, following the way in which biblical scholarship has developed over the past 30 years. The first part attempts to understand the text as it stands, as narrative, law and covenant. The second surveys the work that has been done on the history and development of the text, and its historicity. The third is concerned with its reception and interpretation. There are many detailed examples throughout, and aids to study include tables and boxes in the text, questions to enable students to come to grips with the issues either in private study or in class, and detailed guides to further reading.
Walter J. Houston is a minister of the United Reformed Church and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Biblical Studies at the University of Manchester.