In this explosive survey of the whole Hebrew Bible, author Brian Peckham cuts against the grain of scholarly opinion by taking seriously the fact that the Bible is a work of literature—modeled on such ancient authors as Homer and Hesiod—and was undoubtedly the product of a literate society: the creation of people who knew how to read and write for an audience that read, listened, and understood. Peckham provides the evidence that the biblical text at first was written; that from the beginning it was read and provoked written response; that it was quoted and alluded to in later writings; that what seemed right or evident to one writer was disputed, corrected, and reinterpreted by another; that nothing of significance in the process was erased or omitted but was preserved and inscribed with the rest for all time.
In this provocative book, the biblical text is read as literature—from start to finish, as continuous, meaningful, and complete, with distinctive literary forms and genres. It was written to be read and performed. Its authors were poets, singers, orators, lawyers, priests, and scholars whose audiences were those gathered in the squares and gates of Jerusalem, or who met at wells and springs scattered throughout Israel. It comprised occasional drama, tragedy, comedy, ballads, speeches, debates, disputations, traditional stories: in short, the stuff of books and libraries and literary appreciation.
History and Prophecy reconstructs the history of ancient Israel as it was understood and interpreted by the writers of the Bible. It traces the development of images and ideas about Israel's origin, makeup, and role in world affairs from their earliest literary expression through the most exciting and difficult centuries in the nation's history.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
If you like this title be sure to check out the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (29 vols.).
For Peckham, the Hebrew Bible is late Judean history and prophecy, a worthy sister to Greek classical literature. Through half a millennium, from the original epic to the last commentator, his narrative traces the sic et non of the equally inspired, an intense debate between a limited number of players, more credible than the cloud of redactors and glossators of mainline biblical criticism. Spurred by Peckham's often stunning formulation and the power of his synthesis, readers will feel irresistibly challenged into joining this symposium.
—Paul E. Dion, University of Toronto
Brian Peckham is a Jesuit priest and Professor of Biblical and Near Eastern Studies at Regis College, University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.