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Intended for the first course on the Old Testament or courses entitled Hebrew Bible offered in departments of religion or religious studies at two- and four-year schools. This text is designed to teach students how to read the Hebrew Bible and how to go about mining the Biblical text for literary, historical, and thematic meaning. This book is accompanied by a CD-ROM that includes the entire text of the Bible, the entire text of the book, and an interactive Study Guide. The author demonstrates how a knowledge of ancient culture, religion, and history is essential for correctly interpreting Biblical texts. While history, archaeology, and extra-biblical documents are heavily utilized, they are presented only as they apply directly to specific Biblical texts. The book actively applies recent literary, rhetorical, and structural studies that shed light on art, design, coherence, characterization, theme, and other literary features of the Hebrew Bible.