In Kent’s in-depth introduction, where he sets the stage for the great events of the Old Testament, he dedicates entire sections to Babylonian, Egyptian, and Palestinian history. The body of the book treats the earliest narratives of the Old Testament, examining the history of Israel through the death of Moses. Kent takes up individual themes separately—among them, the stories of man’s creation, man’s sin and its consequences, Cain and Abel, and many more. Each of these sections is followed by a short explanatory discussion. Contents include:
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The explanatory paragraphs are likely to be read by a large constituency, more eagerly than the text itself, while the text will no doubt assume a new and richer significance when thus viewed. In so small compass there is perhaps not so much cogent comparative material to the Old Testament narrative anywhere accessible to the English reader.
Charles Foster Kent (1867–1925) was born in Palmyra, New York, and educated at Yale, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Berlin. After working as an instructor at the University of Chicago and a professor of biblical literature and history at Brown University, he became Woolsey Professor of Biblical Literature at Yale University in 1901. He was a prolific author and editor, and his works include The Wise Men of Ancient Israel and Their Proverbs, Origin and Permanent Value of the Old Testament, Israel’s Laws and Legal Precedents, and Israel’s Historical and Biographical Narratives.