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Old Testament Survey

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BOOK SUMMARY: ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN THOUGHT AND THE
OLD TESTAMENT BY JOHN H. WALTON

Old Testament Introduction OBST 510
May 4, 2014

Part 1 – Comparative Studies
Chapter 1: History and Methods
History: Walton begins the chapter with the “rediscovery of Egypt which began in the eighteenth century AD and of Mesopotamia in the mid nineteenth century AD.” There were discoveries of tens of thousands of texts that were excavated, translated and studied. Many of these tablets and texts did coincide with the Bible. Walton outlines comparative study which is the study that attempts to understand things when compared to their broader cultural context. The goal in this case is to understand the Old Testament compared to the ANE. There have been many debates on comparative study and the way in which is executed. Comparative studies deal with the cultures, myths, religions, worldviews and literature of all the people living in the ANE. A comparative study acknowledges that cultures are separate, but that these separate cultures are aware of and understand the religions and rituals of the other surrounding cultures and at times even engages in those rituals.
Many of the Scholars were so biased that they tended to argue for the importance of the Old Testament, or vice-versa defended the mythology concept of scripture so vehemently that the cultural comparison was lost. Not until Friedrich Delitzsch, who was the son of the famous biblical commentator Franz Delitzsch, did a more focused and unbiased approach to comparative study begin to take place. Delitzsch created controversy with the evidence that the Old Testament was a secondary piece of literature to the ancient texts of the Mesopotamia. Delitzsch suggested that the Old Testament was not only borrowed literature but was dependent on the ancient Mesopotamia texts. This created a huge debate between all the scholars of...

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