You can no longer say that you were unaware: noted Old Testament scholar and SEBTS professor Mark F. Rooker is co-author (with Eugene H. Merrill and Michael A. Grisanti) of the newly released Old Testament intro text, The World and The Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament (B&H). Both those steeped in Old Testament study and those studying its treasures in-depth for the first time will benefit from this work.
The World and the Word is structured in seven parts, each providing the general and specific context for study of the OT in its parts and whole. Parts 1 through 3 provide the general introduction to the whole OT: part 1 establishes the Ancient Near Eastern historical-cultural and literary context for the OT; part 2 describes the often confusing but important topic of the composition and transmission of the OT; part 3 provides the scholarly context for OT study from an explicitly evangelical position. As such, these chapters (1-9) will aid the student and scholar with the most up-to-date discussions of the all-important context of the Old Testament.
Parts 4 through 7 provide the specific context for the Old Testament by way of introduction to each book. The Pentateuch (Part 4), Historical Books (Part 5), Prophetic Books (Part 6) and Poetic Books (Part 7) are examined in turn. Each chapter concisely examines the historical, literary, and theological features of a book and offers study questions to guide one’s reading. In his chapter on Isaiah, for example, Rooker ably treats the thorny issue of critical Isaiah scholarship on its dating and authorship with an eye toward the actual unity and theology of Isaiah. By summarizing the contents of the book, then, Rooker & Co. equip students for further study of Isaiah and enables them to begin making connections to the New Testament.
The World and The Word therefore makes key contributions to the field of Old Testament studies. First, it provides the historical, cultural, and literary contexts for the Old Testament canon. Second, it clearly explains the theology of the Old Testament itself in order to bring students into better understanding of the New Testament. Third, it does all this from an evangelical and pastoral perspective. As Merrill states in his introduction, the book “is designed to introduce the student to the Old Testament as a living Word of God, one whose serious and devout study will yield not only cognitive satisfaction but-and more important-entreé into the very heart and design of God who loves him and wishes to make him the special object of His grace.” The World and The Word should be on the shelf of all those who study or teach the Old Testament as students and scholars.