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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.



Old Testament

J. W. Rogerson

ALL divisions of time are arbitrary, if not conventional, and this is certainly true of any attempt to divide Old Testament scholarship into neat periods of time. Seventy years ago the discipline was still reacting in various ways to the theory of the history of Israelite religion and sacrifice and the theory of how and when the Old Testament had been composed that had received classical expression fifty years earlier in J. Wellhausen's Prolegomena (1883). In Germany the discipline was also having to face the determined attempts of the ‘German Christian’ movement to banish the study of Hebrew and the Old Testament from universities and the use of the Old Testament from Christian worship. However, the ending of the Second World War initiated a period of consolidation with strongly marked theological interests, until the emergence, in the late 1960s, of new methodologies including structuralism, literature criticism, feminist and liberation theology, deconstruction, and canonical criticism. The present essay will therefore be divided into three main sections: 1. Up to 1945; 2. From 1945 to 1970; 3. From 1970. Even so, these divisions will not provide hard and fast periods which avoid overlap and repetition.

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