Item description for Old Testament Parallels (New Revised and Expanded Third Edition): Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East by Victor Harold Matthews...
Overview In this readable, portable anthology, ancient Near Eastern laws and stories share parallel themes and issues with biblical stories. The volume has been completely revised in light of the ongoing discoveries of ancient Near Eastern texts.
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Studio: Paulist Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.04" Width: 6.12" Height: 0.94" Weight: 1.32 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2007
Publisher Paulist Press
ISBN 0809144352 ISBN13 9780809144358
Reviews - What do customers think about Old Testament Parallels: Laws And Stories from the Ancient Near East?
Interesting Compilation Dec 30, 2006
I first read this text when I was taking a course in surveying Ancient Middle Eastern languages and texts. I have however found it to be more interesting for study of ancient religion than linguistics. Many of the myths contain the imagery that Lovecraft should have used to make his terrors more terrible. The authors voices breath the dusts of their deserts and antiquity. They give a window on civilized homes haunted by the twin shades of starvation and inexplicable disease. They show us a world where warfare really meant covering your hands in the blood and entrails of your enemies. As a Sunday School teacher I have turned back to this text often to provide context for understanding the ancient Hebrew's captors, allies, enemies, and neighbors and to understand the wrath of their God's intense jealousy.
OT Clarifications in Adoptions, Parallels or Allusions Jan 13, 2006
"How manifold are thy works! They are hidden before men, Oh sole God, beside whom there is no other. Thou didst create earth according to thy heart." (Akhenaten hymn /Psalm 104)
TaNaKh in Ancient Texts: Many ancient texts from Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia discovered recently as a result of archaeological excavations, shed light and give various sorts of background information for OT books. Many of these texts provide historical information that clarify our knowledge of ancient biblical times. Some of the ancient texts have literary parallels to biblical narratives and could help students understand literary genres, and reconstruct the parallel culture and thought of ancient east Mediterranean peoples with whom the Hebrews had sojourned. Those adoptions, parallels or allusions are only confirmations of the active role those Semites developed ultimately their religious thought to monotheism. This faith journey, with numerous contributors from Akhenaten, to Moses, to the prophets is exegetically described as: The history of Salvation.
Hebrew Bible Parallels: The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) did not come to expression 'Ex Nihil,' even if still an unconscious belief of many orthodox Jews and fundamental Christians, to come close to the idea of revelation as mechanical dictation. The debate over who wrote the books of the Old Testament and when they were written has raged for over two centuries. While tradition plays a role in answering these questions. Scripture itself makes certain claims about authorship and date. Given in the light of the Exodus, a historical events for Israel; e.g., the Decalogue, when compared with the much older Egyptian Book of the Dead, 'Not have I despised God...Not have I killed...Not have I fornicated...Not have I despoiled the thing of the God...not have I defiled the wife of a man...Not have I cursed God...Not have I borne false witness,' clarifies how humanity pronounced the words of God.
Archaeological finds: There have been astounding archaeological finds in the regions of Syria and Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia, since the early twentieth century. In relation to religious sites, there has been the identification of temples and shrines. There are several sources for understanding Middle Eastern life and religion, in particular the Egyptian, Canaanite pantheon. Israel was under the powerful influence of Egypt, and later in constant positive and negative contact, with her neighbors, Syria and Babylonia. These sources include the Old Testament, and the discoveries of Tall el-Amarna and Ras Shamra. The studious faithful should not be detracted from seriously considering proven historical data provided by scholars and archaeological finds, to avoid fall off the other side of their hermeneutical vehicle, examining ancient resources availed to us by archaeologists to uncover the ancient thought-world and religious milieu.
The Documents: I came across those parallels early on, in my dad's catechist style replies to my teenage questions, which I suspect 'The Dawn of Conscience' was his prime source. D. Winton Thomas translated and edited OT scholars in, 'Documents from OT Times' in 1958, and M. coogan rendered, 'stories from ancient Canaan' two decades later. In this expanded edition, Matthews and Benjamin, updated their fresh translation of some famous stories, songs, and laws, in a Biblical chronological order with the OT books, providing some hundred scenes and figures, supplemented by notes that clarify common concepts, and identify where the ancient text was found; few are selected herein:
Story of Balaam: During 1967 two fragmentary inscriptions, were recovered by H. Franken while excavating in the Jordan valley. 'The story of Balaam,' written in Aramaic, of southern Canaan, in around 700 BC. Balaam, son of Beor appears as a prophet in the Book of Numbers (22:5 - 24:25).
Egyptian Moral Teachings: Two thousand years separate Ptah-hotep and Amen-em-ope, but their teachings demonstrate the consistency of the Ancient Egyptian world view. The wise was not perfect, only the gods are acknowledged to possess perfection. You could enjoy reading the 'Thirty Chapters' of admonition and knowledge in matthews/ Benjamin; O.T. Parallels.
The Thirty sayings of Amenemope: Professor Lange of Copenhagen was a pioneer in comparing the teachings of the Egyptian moralist Amenemope (Tenth Century BC), before any of the Old Testament was written, with the Book of Proverbs. In his book 'The Dawn of Conscience', Breasted gives parallels between prophet Jeremiah, who lived in Egypt for sometime, and ancient sayings of Amenemtope. Archaeologists now know that his sayings were translated into Hebrew, and read by the Jewish scribes, before it found its way into the book of Proverbs (22.17 to 24.22)
Hymn to Aton: James H. Breasted, an outstanding Egyptologist, was the first to compare the 'Hymn to the Sun' written by prophetic Pharaoh Akhenaten, Ca 1300 BC, with Psalm 104 of the Hebrew psalmody, showing the striking parallels.