did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

did-you-know? rent-now

Amazon no longer offers textbook rentals. We do!

We're the #1 textbook rental company. Let us show you why.


A Contemporary Introduction to the Bible Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts

by ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2021-09-14
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • eCampus.com Logo Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • Buyback Icon We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $13.13
    Check/Direct Deposit: $12.50
    PayPal: $12.50
List Price: $55.41 Save up to $13.85
  • Buy Used
    Add to Cart Free Shipping Icon Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Explore a timely introduction to the formation of the Bible in its historical and modern contexts

In the newly revised Second Edition of A Contemporary Introduction to the Bible: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts, accomplished scholars and authors Colleen M. Conway and David M. Carr deliver a rigorous, accessible, and up-to-date introduction to the Bible. The textbook places the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and New Testament in the broader context of world history, with a special focus on the empires that influenced the Bible’s formation. Readers are introduced to the academic study of the Bible through a range of scholarly approaches.

Readers benefit from the inclusion of:

  • A thorough introduction to the Bible in its ancient contexts, from the emergence of Israel’s earliest traditions to the writing and reshaping of the Bible amidst Assyrian Babylonian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman empires. 
  • The most up-to-date work in the field, seamlessly integrated into every chapter 
  • A wealth of pedagogical features including study questions, bibliographies, timelines, and illustrations 
  • An unparalleled coverage of both fundamental topics and cutting-edge issues, resulting in a truly outstanding textbook. 

Perfect for undergraduate and graduate students studying religion, history, sociology, and philosophy, A Contemporary Introduction to the Bible: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts, Second Edition will also earn a place in the libraries of religious scholars and researchers seeking a one-stop reference to the Bible in its ancient and modern context.

Author Biography

Colleen M. Conway is Professor of Religion at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ and executive editor of the journal Biblical Interpretation. She has published widely in the areas of gender criticism, biblical masculinity studies, reception history of the Bible, and the Gospel of John. 

David M. Carr is Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is an internationally renowned scholar on the formation of the Bible, trauma studies and the Bible, and sexuality and the Bible.  

Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

List of Maps xv

List of Boxes xix

Preface xxi

Acknowledgments xxiii

List of Abbreviations xxv

Overview of the Historical Period xxvii

Timeline xxix

Prologue: Orientation to Multiple Bibles and Multiple Translations 1

1 Studying the Bible in Its Ancient Context(s) 19

Chapter Overview 19

Why History Is Important in Studying the Bible 20

The Geography and Major Characters of the Biblical Drama 24

Major Periods in the Biblical Drama 28

Multiple Contexts, Multiple Methods 30

Looking Forward to the Big Picture 32

Chapter One Review 33

Resources For Further Study 33

Appendix: Israel’s History and Empires 34

2 The Emergence of Ancient Israel and Its First Oral Traditions 35

Chapter Overview 35

Imagining Early Israel 36

Problems in Reconstructing Early Israel 42

Traces of the Most Ancient Israelite Oral Traditions in the Bible 47

The Oral Background of Genesis 48

Focus Text: The Song of Deborah 54

The Creation of “Israel” Through Cultural Memory of Resistance to Domination 56

Chapter Two Review 57

Resources for Further Study 58

3 The Rise of Writing and Echoes of Past Empires in Monarchal Israel 59

Chapter Overview 59

Imagining Early Monarchal Israel 60

The Rise of the Israelite Monarchy and Resistance to It 62

Influence of Ancient Empires on Early Israel’s Monarchy and Writings 66

Echoes of Near Eastern Royal Theology in the Royal and Zion Psalms 69

Echoes of Texts from Earlier Empires in Writings Attributed to Solomon 75

Focus Text: The Speech of Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8 81

Echoes of Texts from Past Empires Elsewhere in the Bible 82

Focus Text: The Garden of Eden Story (Gen 2:4–3:24) 87

Conclusion 92

Chapter Three Review 93

Resources for Further Study 93

4 Narrative and Prophecy Amidst the Rise and Fall of the Northern Kingdom 95

Chapter Overview 95

Setting the Stage: The Rise of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Its Texts 96

Ancient Near Eastern Prophecy 105

Amos, a Southern Prophet Preaching Justice and Doom to the North 106

Hosea, the Northern Prophet, Calling for Israel’s Devotion to Yahweh Alone 108

Micah, a Southern Prophet, Predicting Judgment for Judah and Jerusalem 115

Isaiah’s Vision of Hope for Jerusalem/Zion Embedded in the Book of Isaiah 118

The Use and Reuse of Biblical Traditions 123

Focus Text: Contrasting Prophetic Visions of Zion’s Future 124

Chapter Four Review 125

Resources for Further Study 126

5 Torah and Other Texts Written in the Wake of the Assyrian Empire 127

Chapter Overview 127

Religious and Textual Reform Amidst the Downfall of Assyria 128

The Deuteronomic Torah of Moses and the Phenomenon of Hybridity 135

Historical Texts Infused with the Theology and Values of Deuteronomy 139

Jeremiah’s Prophecy of Judgment on Zion 145

Focus Text: Deuteronomy 6:4–9 149

New Scriptures in the Twilight of Judean Monarchy 152

Chapter Five Review 153

Resources for Further Study 154

6 Bible for Exiles: Promise and Story in the Neo-Babylonian Empire 155

Chapter Overview 155

The Neo-Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem and Exile 156

Forced Labor for Exiles Under Nebuchadnezzar 160

The Exilic Editions of Biblical Books 163

Ezekiel’s Move from Judgment to Promise with the Fall of Jerusalem 164

Hope for Exiles in Second Isaiah (also called “Deutero-Isaiah”) 167

From Promise in the Prophets to Promise in Two Pentateuchal Sources: L and P 171

History and Fiction 185

Focus Text: Gen 12:1–3 186

Conclusions on (Exilic) Trauma and the Bible 188

Chapter Six Review 189

Resources for Further Study 190

7 Persian Empire and the Emergence of a Temple-Centered Jewish Community 191

Chapter Overview 191

History: The Persian-Sponsored Building of a Temple- and Torah-Centered Judaism 192

The Final Formation of the Torah 201

The Book of Psalms as a Torah-Centered Collection of More Ancient Psalms 206

Focus Text: Isa 56:1–8 209

Concluding Reflections on Scriptures in and After the Exile 211

Chapter Seven Review 212

Resources for Further Study 212

8 Hellenistic Empires and the Formation of the Hebrew Bible 215

Chapter Overview 215

Judaism and Hellenism Before the Hellenizing Crisis 216

The Crisis Over Hellenizing Jerusalem and the Book of Daniel 220

A Hellenistic Period Kingdom of Israel: The Hasmonean Revolt and Monarchy 222

The Hellenistic Period as the Setting for Other Hebrew Bible Texts 224

Focus Text: Daniel 10–12 227

The Formation of the Jewish Tanakh and Christian Old Testament(s) 229

Conclusion 230

Chapter Eight Review 231

Resources for Further Study 231

Prologue to the Study of the New Testament 233

9 The Jesus Movement in the Context of the Roman Empire 237

Chapter Overview 237

Imagining the Jerusalem That Jesus Knew 238

Rome Comes to Jerusalem 240

The Earliest Jesus Traditions 242

Searching for the Historical Jesus: Problems and Proposals 245

Chapter Nine Review 250

Resources for Further Study 250

10 Paul and His Letters in the Roman Colonial Chapter Outline 251

Chapter Overview 251

Paul’s Travels and Letter Collection 252

Who Was Paul? 256

Three Undisputed Letters of Paul: Galatians, 1 Corinthians, and Romans 262

Focus Text: The Problem of Israel and the Place of the Gentiles (Romans 9–11) 271

The Disputed Letters 274

Conclusion: From Letters to Scripture 276

Chapter Ten Review 276

Resources for Further Study 277

11 The Gospel of Mark: Suffering and Trauma under Imperial Rule 279

Chapter Overview 279

The Jewish War (66–70 ce) 280

Pointers to the Dating and Context of the Gospel of Mark 282

Rising Popularity of Jesus and Rising Conflict with the Authorities (Mark 1:1–8:21) 284

Teaching and More Misunderstanding on the Way (Mark 8:22–10:52) 288

The Suffering Messiah (Mark 11:1–16:8) 292

Mark’s Enigmatic Ending 296

Focus Text: Mark 12:1–12 296

Chapter Eleven Review 298

Resources for Further Study 299

12 The Gospel of Matthew: Defining Community in the Wake of Destruction 301

Chapter Overview 301

The Synoptic Problem 302

The Structure of the Gospel of Matthew 305

The Matthean Jesus and Moses 307

The Matthean Jesus, Righteousness, and

Torah Obedience 309

The Matthean Jesus, Wisdom, and Torah 311

Matthew’s Apocalyptic Vision and the

Kingdom of Heaven 312

The Matthean Polemic Against the Pharisees 315

Focus Text: Matt 25:31–46 317

Chapter Twelve Review 320

Resources for Further Study 321

13 Luke–Acts: Legitimizing the Jesus Movement in the Midst of Empire 323

Chapter Overview 323

The Lukan Prologues 324

The Lukan Jesus in Continuity with Israel’s Past 327

The Jesus Movement in Continuity with Israel’s Past 328

Salvation to the Gentiles in Luke–Acts 330

Situating the Jesus Movement in the Roman Empire 332

The Holy Spirit in Luke–Acts 337

Focus Text: Jesus’s Sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:14–30) 339

Chapter Thirteen Review 341

Resources for Further Study 342

14 The Gospel of John and the Johannine Letters: Turning Inward as a Strategy for Life in the

Empire 343

Chapter Overview 343

Who Is the Johannine Jesus? 344

Knowing and Believing in the Johannine Jesus 350

Opposition from the World 3.52

The Problem of “the Jews” in the Gospel of John 354

Focus Text: John 17 358

The Johannine Letters 360

Chapter Fourteen Review 362

Resources for Further Study 362

15 Following Christ in the Empire: Diverse Approaches in the New Testament 363

Chapter Overview 363

The Revelation to John: Visions of “Conquering” Roman Power 364

Focus Text: Revelation 17–18 370

Hebrews: Platonic Perspectives on Christ 373

1 Peter: Living as Aliens and Accommodating to the Empire 376

Conclusion: Three Different Relationships to the Roman Empire 378

Chapter Fifteen Review 379

Resources for Further Study 379

Epilogue: The Final Formation of the Jewish and Christian Bibles 381

Glossary 387

Index 401

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Rewards Program