Interpreting Ancient Israelite History, Prophecy, and Law

By John H. Hayes and Brad E. Kelle (editor)

A challenging selection of essays from a prominent Old Testament scholar on the interpretation of biblical texts in their historical context.

ISBN: 9780227176511


For more than five decades, John Hayes’s scholarship has had a decisive influence on scholars and students in the field of Hebrew Bible study. This collection of ten essays, written between 1968 and 1995, displays his remarkable and thought-provoking elucidation of Israelite history, prophecy, and law. These essays make significant contributions that challenge the mainstream scholarship establishment with their daring interpretations and explanations, along with their bold, innovative theories.

The way in which Hayes approaches the study of seminal figures, biblical texts, and historical reconstructions, combined with his analysis of specific methods, will have lasting implications for contemporary scholarship. He argues that biblical texts must be understood as being embedded within the particular historical, social, cultural, and political matrices from which they emerged. Whether exploring the social formation of early Israel, the final years of Samaria, or the social concept of covenant, he demonstrates a textually focussed and exegetically based approach.

Hayes’s essays provide valuable insights that help contextualise developments within mid- to late-twentieth-century interpretation, thereby granting scholars glimpses of key moments in the evolution of particular methods, trends, and models that have given shape to current research approaches. Familiarity with Hayes’s writings thus allows contemporary interpreters to envisage new avenues and perspectives in critical discussion of the Hebrew Bible.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 318

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

John H. Hayes is Franklin N. Parker Professor Emeritus in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of numerous academic volumes, including Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah, Biblical Exegesis, Old Testament Theology: Its History and Development, An Introduction to Old Testament Study, and Old Testament Form Criticism.


Introduction by Brad E. Kelle

1. The History of the Study of Israelite and Judean History
2. Wellhausen as a Historian of Israel
3. The Twelve-Tribe Israelite Amphictyony: An Appraisal
4. The Final Years of Samaria (730-720 BC)
5. The History of the Form-Critical Study of Prophecy
6. The Usage of Oracles against Foreign Nations in Ancient Israel
7. Amos’s Oracles against the Nations (1:2—2:16)
8. Restitution, Forgiveness, and the Victim in Old Testament Law
9. Covenant
10. Covenant and Hesed: The Status of the Discussion



Endorsements and Reviews

Hayes’s work in these studies encourages both present and future scholars to be candid and courageous, to undertake their task with a healthy, gadflylike scepticism toward taken-for-granted settlements and consensuses, and to offer boldly new ideas that, at times, go against the mainstream of scholarly opinion.
Brad E. Kelle, Professor of Old Testament, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego