Library Resources: Tools for Old Testament Canonics (3102)
Finding Standard Textbooks
- Most biblical scholars and seminaries use the term "Introduction" rather than "Canonics" for this discipline. Many textbooks are called Introduction to the Old Testament or Old Testament Introduction.
- Standard introductions can be found in the stacks at BS1140.
- Begin with a survey article, such as "Canon of the Old Testament," in New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (REF BS440 .N445 2006), or another reference work.
- Recent books of interest include Timothy H. Lim, The Formation of the Jewish Canon (BS1135 .L56 2013) and Andrew Steinmann, The Oracles of God: The Old Testament Canon (BS1135 .S73 O7 1999). Many others can be found in the vicinity of these volumes.
- A major work on the canon in the context of the history of scholarship is Magne Sæbø, ed., Hebrew Bible / Old Testament: The History of Its Interpretation (5 vols.), esp. vol. 1 (BS1160 .H44 1996).
- Begin with a survey article, such as "Canonical Criticism," in New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (REF BS440 .N445 2006), or another reference work.
- The standard work is Brevard Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (BS1140.2 .C48 1979).
- R. Garr and S. E. Fassberg, eds., A Handbook of Biblical Hebrew (PJ4567.3 .H36 2016). Vol. 1 has chapters on Archaic, Standard, Transitional, and Late Biblical Hebrew, showing the differences in spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. Vol. 2 provides samples of each stage. This sort of evidence is often used to assign dates to OT books.
- The available manuscript evidence for each book of the OT is surveyed in Armin Lange et al., eds., Textual History of the Bible (3 vols., REF BS1136 .H43).
Documentary Evidence / Pentateuchal Criticism
- Begin by consulting a standard reference work such as International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Anchor Bible Dictionary, or New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.
- Recent treatments include Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (BS1140.2.G53 S8 1994); Mark Gignilliat, A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism (BS1160 .G54 2012); Ernest W. Nicholson, The Pentateuch in the Twentieth Century (BS1225.2 .N53 P5 1998).
- Begin by consulting a standard reference work such as Anchor Bible Dictionary or New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible.
- Important works include M. Noth, The Deuteronomistic History (BS1286.5.N6 D4 1981); T. Römer, ed., The Future of the Deuteronomistic History (BS1286.5 .F87 R6 2000).
Other Canonical Issues
- On points of debate for each book, one can begin with a recent textbook (see above) and then proceed to the introductory chapter of a recent scholarly commentary on the particular book.
- Many commentaries and monographs are located in the stacks, from Genesis (BS1234) through Malachi (BS1675).
- For helpful evaluations of commentaries, see Tremper Longman, Old Testament Commentary Survey (REF Z7772 .A1 L64 2007) or the Best Commentaries website.
- To gain a chapter-by-chapter knowledge of the contents of the OT, there is no substitute for simply reading Scripture and making your own outlines.
- Helpful outlines can be found in the NIV Study Bible and in standard textbooks such as Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament (BS1140.3 .H54 2009).