A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament

2nd Edition

By Bruce C. Birch, Walter Brueggemann, Terence E. Fretheim, David L. Petersen Published
Paperback image ISBN: 9780687066766 $44.99 Buy
eBook image ISBN: 9781426721977 $44.99 Buy

This book has become a standard text in seminary and university classrooms. The purpose of this second edition is to help readers come to a critically informed understanding of the Old Testament as the church's scripture. This book introduces the Old Testament both as a witness of ancient Israel and as a witness to the church and synagogue through the generations of those who have passed these texts on as scripture.

The authors of this volume share a commitment to the interpretation of the Old Testament as a central resource for the life of the church today.  At the same time, they introduce the Old Testament witness in a manner that honors the importance of biblical scholarship in helping students engage the variety of theological voices within the Old Testament.

This second edition gives special attention to deepening and broadening theological interpretations by including, for example, issues related to gender, race, and class.  It also includes more detailed maps and charts for student use.


"The addition of charts and maps greatly enhances this book's helpfulness, as does the greater attention to gender issues throughout. Issues of 'justice and righteousness' are theological themes that these authors seek to exemplify in their writing, as well as in their lives."

Nancy R. Bowen, Earlham School of Religion

"The appearance of the revised and expanded edition of A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament confirms that it continues to fill a much needed vacuum in Old Testament studies. With new and expanded discussions of theological perspectives, updated bibliographies, additional maps and charts, and fuller discussions of gender and cultural issues, this work is and remains one of the most informative, thoughtful, and challenging resources in theological education today." 
Samuel E. Balentine, Professor of Old Testament, Union Theological Seminary-Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, Virginia

"A rare achievement, this is the only introduction to the Old Testament that I know of that presents what is needed for a critical understanding of the Old Testament in its literary and historical contexts while leading the reader into a deeper understanding of the text theologically. I have found the first edition a fine textbook for seminary classes and believe the second edition, with its greater use of visual resources, will only make the book more useful."
Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Seminary

About the Authors

Bruce C. Birch

Bruce C. Birch is Dean and Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. He is a contributing author to volume II of the New Interpreter's Bible and The Old Testament: A Theological Introduction.

Walter Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, he is one of today's preeminent interpreters of Scripture.

Terence E. Fretheim

2001 TERENCE E. FRETHEIM is Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and has been on the faculty of 7 seminary schools, including Princeton, Graduate Theological Union, Vancouver and McCormick. He has authored or contributed to eighteen books, four by Abingdon and a forthcoming commentary on Jeremiah.

David L. Petersen

David L. Petersen is Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Professor Petersen is a distinguished Old Testament scholar. His current research focuses on the book of Genesis and on prophetic literature. During 2004, Petersen served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Dr. Petersen has written, coauthored, or coedited a number of scholarly and popular books and articles. He was the senior Old Testament editor for The New Interpreter's Bible.