A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible

A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible by Konrad Schmid 2018

About the Author
Konrad Schmid is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism at the University of Zurich and author or editor of numerous books in Old Testament interpretation, including Is There Theology in the Hebrew Bible?, The Old Testament: A Literary History, Genesis and the Moses Story: Israel’s Dual Origins in the Hebrew Bible, and A Farewell to the Yahwist? with Thomas Dozeman. In addition, he serves as main editor of the journal Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel.

About the Book
In this meticulously researched study, Konrad Schmid offers a historical clarification of the concept of “theology.” He then examines the theologies of the three constituent parts of the Hebrew Bible—the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings— before tracing how these theological concepts developed throughout the history of ancient Israel and early Judaism.

Schmid not only explores the theology of the biblical books in isolation, but he also offers unifying principles and links between the distinct units that make up the Hebrew Bible. By focusing on both the theology of the whole Hebrew Bible as well as its individual pieces, A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible provides a comprehensive discussion of theological work within the Hebrew Bible.

Bill T. Arnold
— Asbury Theological Seminary
“A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible is an impressive attempt to reinvigorate the theological enterprise as part of academic research of the Hebrew Bible. Readers will differ on whether Schmid has succeeded, or perhaps on whether such an attempt should even be made. But no one can deny that this volume is a herculean effort, one that required a scholar of Schmid’s gravitas. None of us involved in research of the Hebrew Scriptures can afford to ignore what he has offered here, which is indeed something of a personal tour de force.”

Mark S. Smith
— Princeton Theological Seminary
“A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible by Konrad Schmid is a massive and compelling contribution to Hebrew Bible studies. Schmid’s deep, rich volume sketches out diachronic and synchronic dimensions of the Hebrew Bible and its texts, as well as the critical, theological issues that they entail; he additionally problematizes the enterprise in light of the long history of ‘biblical theology’ from the Reformation on. Arguably the most important work on the topic in the last fifty years, this magnum opus is must-reading for anyone interested in the theology/theologies of the Hebrew Bible.”

Peter Machinist
— Harvard University
“Konrad Schmid’s new book is a veritable library on the study of the Hebrew Bible. Seemingly everything about this Bible and the history of its study is addressed concisely, provocatively, and with ample reference to the primary sources and the scholarship, especially that of the Germanic world, on them. Schmid is particularly alert to the many problems of construing a theology of the Hebrew Bible posed by the text itself and its often tortured history of interpretation. In the end, he makes a powerful case for a biblical theology that is historically grounded and sensitive—a theology that risks the delicate balancing act of concern for the plurality of views in the Hebrew Bible and what subsequent interpreters have made of it and for the overarching themes that can also be discerned.”

Jeffrey Stackert
— University of Chicago
“Taking explicit account of the shortcomings of previous attempts at theologies of the Hebrew Bible, Konrad Schmid offers in this volume a critical, historically informed, and methodologically transparent description of the theological perspectives of the biblical compositions. He does so by taking multiple passes at the material, assessing its individual compositions, its various groupings, its literary development and historical situatedness, its prominent themes, and its reception (and transformations) in Judaism and Christianity. The result is a rich, textured analysis that sheds important light both on the biblical text and its reception. In addition, this volume will serve as a helpful introduction for Anglophone students to important developments in biblical studies in the German-speaking world.”

Gary N. Knoppers
— University of Notre Dame
“Reconstructive, rather than constructive in nature, Schmid’s new study brings recent developments in literary and historical criticism into productive conversation with the theologies of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. A remarkable achievement that should be of significant interest to a wide range of scholars in biblical studies.”

Summary of Preface

1. The Importance of a Theology of the Hebrew Bible

– A theology of the Hebrew Bible usually lies at the end of a scholar’s academic career.

– The trend in terms of producing such works has increased substantially over the past 85 years.

– Delaying or neglecting this field leads to a mechanization of biblical studies, which can have negative consequences on other subdisciplines.

– It is an untimely undertaking, but not addressing this subject would be doing it an injustice.

2. Reimagining Theology in Hebrew Bible Studies

– The present work understands itself primarily as an outline that attempts to bring theological dimension of Hebrew Bible studies into current scholarly discussion.

– Henry Wheeler Robinson’s statement that theology should be rewritten every generation applies to this book as well.

– This book is open to revisions and critiques in both details and its whole.

– It serves as a stimulus for integrating theology into the current scholarly discussion of the Hebrew Bible.

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