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Introduction to the Bible



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  • Introduction to the Bible Plus MySearchLab with eText -- Access Card Package
    Introduction to the Bible Plus MySearchLab with eText -- Access Card Package
  • Introduction to the Bible, An: A Journey Into Three Worlds
    Introduction to the Bible, An: A Journey Into Three Worlds
  • Introduction to the Bible, An
    Introduction to the Bible, An
  • Introduction to the Bible : A Journey into Three Worlds
    Introduction to the Bible : A Journey into Three Worlds
  • Introduction to the Bible : A Journey into Three Worlds
    Introduction to the Bible : A Journey into Three Worlds


An Introduction To The Bibleapproaches the Bible by considering it from three different 'worlds'-- literary, historical, and contemporary worlds. This unique approach underscores the dynamics of each of world and the methods scholars have developed to study them. The authors are especially careful to distinguish the historical and literary worlds for students new to the discipline. Readers are also encouraged to consider and discuss the contemporarysignificance of the Bible.

Author Biography

In This Section:


I. Author Bio

II. Author Letter



I. Author Bio


William A. Young is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where he taught for thirty-five years and also served as college chaplain. He is a graduate of the University of Tulsa (B.A. in Political Science and History), McCormick Theological Seminar (M.Div.) and the University of Iowa (Ph. D. in Hebrew Bible). His courses have included introductory offerings on the Bible and the world's religions and seminars on topics such as Spiritual Ecology; Perceptions of Death; Native American Spirituality; New Religious Movements; Religion and Politics; and Psalms, Wisdom Literature, and the Deuterocanon. He has also lectured and offered a variety of workshops in other academic and non-academic settings. Prof. Young is the author of a number of books in addition to An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds. They include The World's Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues (also published by Pearson); Quest for Harmony: Native American Spiritual Traditions; A Comprehensive History of the London Church and Parish of St. Mary, the Virgin, Aldermanbury (co-authored with Christian E. Hauer); and the forthcoming "Head Held High": The Life, Baseball Career, and Legacy of John Tortes "Chief" Meyers. Prof. Young welcomes comments or questions from readers. He can be reached at



II. Author Letter


Dear Colleague,


We are gratified that our "three worlds" approach to introducing the academic study of the Bible has been so warmly received over the years by instructors and students alike. In the 8th edition of An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds we maintain the basic structure of the book, but update the discussion in light of the latest developments in scholarship and issues that illustrate the ongoing relevance of the Bible in modern life.


In introducing the Bible from three complementary perspectives, we supplement traditional methods of studying the Bible by emphasizing recent trends in biblical scholarship. After introducing the three worlds (literary, historical, contemporary) and methods of studying them, we engage readers in a discussion of the most important issues in literary and historical analysis of all the books of the Tanak (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament) and the New Testament.


We also include discussion of the history and Jewish literature of the period after the Tanak as well as the early Christian extracanonical writings known as the New Testament Apocrypha. Case studies and questions for discussion and reflection at the end of each chapter provide a lively setting for readers to enter the contemporary world of the Bible.


In response to helpful suggestions from colleagues and students, we have made a number of changes in the 8th edition. We have reorganized and streamlined our introductory chapters to make them more accessible; added a number of new illustrations and maps throughout the book; updated recent developments in archaeology that impact the Bible, such as the ongoing controversy surrounding the James Ossuary; enhanced the discussion of the Pharisees and Essenes; emphasized the importance of placing Jesus of Nazareth in a first-century Jewish context; described some of the ongoing prejudices that hamper research on the historical Jesus; and added a brief overview of the life of Jesus based on our own sifting of the evidence.


In the 8th edition we have also kept readers abreast of the many ways in which interpretation of the Bible is evident in some of the most important issues we face today. In particular, we describe the role of Bible interpretations in the current debates over same-sex marriages, how to respond to climate change, and the compatibility of the Qur’an (Koran) and the Bible. We further illustrate the role of the Bible in popular culture through discussing the hit movie Avatar and the popular animated television series The Simpsons.


This new edition of An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the first edition. The responses of colleagues like you around the world, students in our own classes, and students at other schools continue to inspire and challenge us. We invite your questions and comments as you draw on the 8th edition in your teaching.


Best wishes.


Chris Hauer, Jr. & Bill Young


Westminster College & Westminster College

Table of Contents

PART ONE:  Introduction

Chapter 1  The Three Worlds of the Bible: An Orientation  1

Chapter 2  Preparing for the Journey: An Orientation to the Methods of Biblical Study


PART TWO:  The Torah

Chapter 3  Origins: The Book of Genesis  67

Chapter 4  Covenant: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and  


PART THREE:  Prophets

Chapter 5  The Nation Israel: Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Kings (The Former Prophets)  109

Chapter 6  Covenant Advocates: The Prophets of Ancient Israel (The Latter Prophets)  137


PART FOUR:  The Writings

Chapter 7  Israel’s Sacred Songs: Psalms, Song of Songs, and Lamentations (The Writings I)  163

Chapter 8  The Way of Wisdom: Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes (The Writings II)  179

Chapter 9  The Rest of the Writings: Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Ruth, Esther, and Daniel


PART FIVE:  After the Tanak

Chapter 10 Jewish Life and Literature (200 B.C.E - 100 C.E.)  213


PART SIX:  The Gospels

Chapter 11   Jesus of Nazereth  239

Chapter 12  The Four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John  261 


PART SEVEN:  The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 13  The Birth of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles  289


PART EIGHT:  Letters

Chapter 14  Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles—The Letters of Paul  307

Chapter 15  The Growing Church: The Pastoral and General Epistles, Hebrews, and the Revelation to John  329


PART NINE:  Conclusion

Chapter 16  Journey On!  357


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