Edward L. Greenstein, Professor of Bible and Straus Distinguished Scholar, Bar Ilan University
Professor Alexander Rofé’s Introduction to the Literature of the Hebrew Bible is a major contribution to Biblical studies. At once scholarly and readable, state-of-the-art and original, this Introduction takes a considered look at both the forest and the trees: analyzing the major types of literature in the Hebrew Bible and proposing, in ways that are always plausible and often quite convincing, how the most fundamental literary units – from folk tales to proverbs, from anecdotes to oracles – were combined and edited into the extensive compositions that we find. Using literary, linguistic, and ideational criteria, Rofé reconstructs the stages of composition and dates them as accurately as possible. Evidence from extra-Biblical sources as well as the history of the Bible’s transmission is taken into account, as are models from the history and poetics of literature in general. This is a book for students, for scholars, and for any serious reader who has wondered how the Hebrew Bible has come to be. Rofé’s magnum opus is a force to reckon with, essential for everyone in the field.