Many today find the Old Testament a closed book. The cultural issues seem insurmountable and we are easily baffled by that which seems obscure. Furthermore, without knowledge of the ancient culture we can easily impose our own culture on the text, potentially distorting it. This series invites you to enter the Old Testament with a company of guides, experts that will give new insights into these cherished writings. Features include • Over 2000 photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams and charts provide a visual feast that breathes fresh life into the text. • Passage-by-passage commentary presents archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, notes on manners and customs, and more. • Analysis into the literature of the ancient Near East will open your eyes to new depths of understanding both familiar and unfamiliar passages. • Written by an international team of 30 specialists, all top scholars in background studies.
About the AuthorsRoy Gane (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is professor of Hebrew Bible and ancient near eastern languages at the Theological Seminary of Andrews University. He is author of a number of scholarly articles and several books including God's Faulty Heroes (Review Herald, 1996-on the biblical book of Judges), Altar Call (Diadem, 1999-on the Israelite sanctuary services and their meaning for Christians), Ritual Dynamic Structure (Gorgias Press, 2004), Leviticus, Numbers (NIV Application Commentary; Zondervan, 2004), and Cult and Character: Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy (Eisenbrauns, 2005), as well as the Leviticus portion of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary on the Old Testament (forthcoming). Dr. Gane and his wife, Connie Clark Gane, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mesopotamian archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, have one daughter, Sarah Elizabeth.
R. Dennis Cole is Professor of Old Testament and Archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he holds the Mcfarland Chair of Archaeology. The author of numerous journal articles, book reviews, chapters, and dictionary articles, he has 30 years of archaeological field experience in Israel.
Eugene Carpenter was professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Scholar in Residence, Bethel College, Mishawaka, Indiana.Bruce Wells is assistant professor of Hebrew Bible, Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. He contributed the Exodus portion of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary - Old Testament.
“As a pastor, I am certain that the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament is a deeply valuable tool for ministry. With rock-solid scholarship, relevant commentary, and gripping visual illustrations, this will be a great tool for believers for years to come.” -- Kevin G. Harney
“This tool is a rich gift to everyone who seeks to teach the Scriptures.” -- John Ortberg
“This is a unique and important commentary. It is a milestone in the collection and comparative interpretation of ancient Near Eastern texts, pictures, and other archaeological materials as well as geographical, historical, and cultural information as they relate to the Old Testament. There is nothing else like it available today. The interpretations provided are usually cogent and convincing. Where there is legitimate debate, the explanations generally show due caution. There will always be disagreements between scholars on such matters, but the many comparative and archaeological resources assembled in these volumes make it a veritable gold mine for those who desire to take the ancient context of the Lord’s work and word seriously in their study, teaching, and preaching of Holy Scripture.” -- Richard E. Averbeck
“This is an impressive and rich resource for scholars, students, seminarians, and interested lay readers. The volumes, with their insightful and perceptive commentaries, updated footnotes, wonderful illustrations, and sidebars---all judiciously researched---contain a veritable thesaurus of enlightening information relating to the Hebrew Bible within the cultural, ideological, and religious world of the ancient Near East. Notwithstanding their traditional approach to Scripture, I heartily recommend this series with enthusiasm.” -- Shalom Paul
“The publication of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament marks a major step forward in the systematic integration of the textual and artifactual evidences from the ancient Near East that inform the context of Scripture. This important reference work will serve as an essential starting point for an ancient “contextual criticism” of the Hebrew Bible, enabling scholars, pastors, and laity to access the rich data from over one hundred and seventy years of explorations and excavations in the Near East. Readers will find the visual materials particularly valuable, since often these are scattered in many diverse places. While there will always be disagreements concerning the interpretations of the data, the collection in a single source will be a boon to all.” -- K. Lawson Younger
“Biblical commentaries have traditionally explicated the text verse-by-verse. By contrast, evidence from the wider archaeological, institutional and literary context has typically been organized thematically. John H. Walton and his collaborators have combined these two methods, presenting the context verse-by-verse. They have done so in a responsible manner, which will satisfy both maximalists and minimalists as well as the majority of Bible readers who find themselves between these two extremes.” -- William W. Hallo