Understanding the Old Testament 2nd ed Author:Bernhard W. Anderson The dramatic story of the Covenant People from Abraham to the eve of the Christian era; and exposition of the sacred history of ancient Israel, weaving together historical study, archaeology, literary analysis and biblical theology.
Bernard Anderson s' book titled UNDERSTANDING THE OLD TESTAMENT is a well written explanation of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible or Tanaka that explains the gradual development of Hebrew monotheism from a family God to a universal Deity. The book gives both clear explanations of changes of beliefs and the historical background in Palestine and Judea.
Prof. Anderson begins this book with the TORAH or the first five books of the Bible. He effectively explains the Documentary Hypothesis that four literary traditions composed the TORAH. These Anderson describes these sources as E, J, P, and D. The background to these sources consists of traditions originating in Mesopotamia(E Source), Egypt and Palestine(J Source), the Priestly Class( the priests), and the Law Codes(Ten Commandments for example). Anderson argued that the TORAH and other books of the Old Testament (OT for the sake of convenience)were based on these traditions. Basically the entire OT consisted of a redaction and editing of these sources to include those who held to the different literary traditions.
Anderson continued to emphasize that GOD was basically a tribal Deity in the TORAH and in the book of Joshua. Prof. Anderson is clear that some of the events in Joshua were exaggerated such as the destruction of Jericho. The Ancient Hebrews were the area of Jericho c. the 13th.-12th. centuries BC. Yet archeological examinations reveal that Jericho was destroyed by an earthquake by c. 2200 BC and "was a heap of ruins" (p 89) by the time the Hebrews arrived there. Also later Hebrew scribes
had to moderate the blood thirsty narratives of Joshua.
The TORAH and the Book of Joshua showed contempt for urban life and an appreciation of agricultural culture. Prof.