Intended as guide and textbook for those coming new to Old Testament study, and to provide clear directions for those puzzled by the complexity of the subject, this book sets out simply and clearly the basic issues, problems and methods of approach in current Old Testament scholarship.
Dr Hayes begins by describing the development of the Hebrew Bible and how it came to exist in different canonical forms. After an account of the nature of textual criticism, he then gives a brief history of the development of Old Testament study and the problems faced by its pioneers. A full chapter is devoted to the use of form criticism in connection with the Old Testament literature, and then detailed attention is paid to each of its main categories: the Pentateuch, the historical books, Israelite prophecy, the Psalms, Israelite wisdom literature, and Jewish apocalyptic.
Bibliographies are provided for each chapter, giving books for further study, and tables and summaries consolidate explanations which are notable for their lucidity. All technical terms are explained on their first appearance, and justice is done to views differing from those of the author.