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The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi [Paperback]

By David a. Dorsey (Author)
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Item description for The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi by David a. Dorsey...

Dorsey deftly provides a detailed yet concise analysis of the various forms within Old Testament literature---particularly occurrences of symmetry, parallelism, and sevenfold patterns---then examines the relationship between each book's structure and its message. Imbued with creative insights and artistic sensitivity, this important work is destined to become a classic of Old Testament studies.

Publishers Description
Dorsey proceeds book-by-book through the entire Old Testament, identifying the structure and offering commentary as to how it clarifies the text's meaning. He illuminates the "big picture" of each book, providing a framework for further study.
"This book will become a standard reference tool for all serious students of the Bible."--Temper Longman III, Westmont College

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.9" Width: 7" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2004
Publisher   Baker Academic
Age  18
ISBN  0801027934  
ISBN13  9780801027932  

Availability  60 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 11:34.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About David a. Dorsey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! David A. Dorsey (Ph.D., Dropsie College) is professor of Old Testament at the Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testament
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > Old Testament Studies > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Literary Structure Of The Old Testament?

A great reference  Nov 24, 2007
When doing any study of the Old Testament, this reference puts together the ideas and flow like no other book I have read. Seeing the bible through the patterns of understanding is the only way to truly see "The Big Picture" broken down into bite size pieces.
Excellent literary overview of the Old Testament  Sep 21, 2007
Dorsey does an excellent job within the limits of a 'flyover" approach to the literary structures of the Hebrew Scriptures. The introduction and first chapter is a great primer on the types and purposes of literary style. The brief overviews of literary structure are akin to a satellite image that allows a "from the top" view of a neighborhood that gives a "lay of the land" concept - and helps at the "street" level of moving through texts, connecting them into a more comprehensive array.

The potential to see harmonies and purposes where before scholars have only seen "cut and paste" approaches to editing, or have discounted the throughtfulness and intentionality of the text is encouraging. It is accessible to the lay reader while also serving those who desire a more scholarly resource.
Fine Reference for Serious Bible Students and Pastors  Feb 1, 2005
This book is valuable to help students of Scripture see the pattern of each Old Testament book. The author provides us with symmetrical outlines, typically providing a "Center Point" which is th emphasis or "pinnacle" of the section. But the arrangement is not just his creation: it really fits the organization of the book under study. This outline exemplifies an orderly arrangement called chiasmus (or chiasm). It looks something like this: A B C Center Point C' B' A' And most of the Old Testament typically does indeed (naturally) flow into this pattern.

This work is useful in two ways:
(1) hermeneutically (interpretationally), it shows us where the climax of the section is located and how the symmetrical pattern before and after it modifies that climax;
(2) instructionally (for preaching or teaching) it directs us to a concentration point. This is useful in many ways, but it is particularly helpful when we are addressing highlights from the various books of the Old Testament.

This is not the type of book one would read through, but it is a reference book to pull off the shelf when a person is preparing to study a particular book of the Old Testament. I would include this volume under the label of "introductory material." Although it is subtitled as a "commentary" it is not a verse by verse work, but rather a commentary on the main structure (and outline) of the books involved. The book is slightly more than 300 pages long.

The average laymen would probably not find this book very useful, but folks interested and active in Bible teaching (particuarly at an adult level) would probably enjoy this work.
Wonderful...  Aug 13, 2003
I believe this to be a very important and necessary work.

The Literary Structure of the Old Testament gives a great overview of the use of literary patterns found to be common in the OT. It also covers each book of the OT in some detail.

Why should we care about the literary patterns in the OT? The ancient Hebrew author used them to communicate meaning. And if you want to know what an OT author was saying then you need to understand these patterns and how he would have used them. David Dorsey helps us see this in this wonderful book.

If you are a serious student of the Hebrew text.. then I encourage to get this book. You will be enlightened by it.

I personally keep 5-10 copies of this book to give to those who I know would appreciate it.

Many thanks to Dr. Dorsey for his time and effort.

Biblical Structure and Proper Interpretation  Dec 14, 1999
This is a very important one-volume study on chiasmus that deserves shelf space for any biblical enthusiast of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). After a very instructive twenty-nine page introduction to biblical literary structure, the author organizes his analyses of biblical structure book by book (English order) of the Old Testament Scriptures. As he states in his Preface: "At first I planned to include analyses of all the books of the Old Testament. Then reason set in, and I selected a small sampling of biblical books on which to focus. In the end, however, Kenneth Miller, my colleague at Evangelical School of Theology, convinced me to reverse this decision and return to my original (foolhardy) plan. I am keenly aware that what I have gained in breadth by greater coverage I have lost in depth. But I am satisfied with the decision, and hope that the resulting product will be more useful to readers" (p. 9).

If you are at all interested in biblical structure of the Old Testament and its importance in relation to correct interpretation, you will never regret purchasing this indispensable volume. As the author himself states: "Certainly it is time for surface-structural analysis to take its place among the important disciplines within biblical studies. Old Testament authors communicated their message through the arrangement of their compositions as well as through verbal content. Modern commentators devote much effort to clarifying the verbal content of passages of scripture but give relatively little attention to the arrangement of this content. If we are to understand more fully the books of the Hebrew Bible, we must pay greater attention to their structures and to what those structures reveal about their meaning. The purpose of the present work is to encourage renewed interest in this promising and important aspect of interpretation" (pp. 327-328).


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