This revised edition of Paul Tarazi's The Old Testament: An Introduction, Historical Traditions takes into account twelve years of additional research. The way historical background is presented constitutes the biggest change: this book no longer includes a reconstruction of the "history of Israel." The author concludes that none of the scriptural books were intended to offer a history in the sense that we use that word today, so any efforts to construct such a history necessarily lead one astray from the original intention of the scriptural text. What the Scripture's original authors and editors did intend was to present a long ma'al - a Hebrew word that is variously translated "parable," "allegory," "proverb," or "edifying story." Therefore, the best way to understand the biblical books is to focus on the story itself.
Without imposition, Fr Tarazi presents the evidence for his exegesis and invites the reader to judge whether or not it clarifies the text. Besides effectively making sense of otherwise hard-to-understand texts, Fr Tarazi dismisses speculative discussions about matters such as if and when the exodus "actually happened" and thus leaves more room for in-depth discussions of other issues. This new edition has two completely new sections: one titled "The Rise and Formation of Scripture" and another titled "Toward the Gospel." Together they clarify the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and will help every reader understand why the New Testament cannot be understood except in the light of the Old.
The Author:The Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi is Professor of Old Testament at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary.
This volume is the first in an introductory series on the Old Testament by Fr Tarazi and includes Volume II: Prophetic Traditions and Volume III: Psalms and Wisdom. All three volumes are also available in a set from SVS Press.