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Anthropology of the Old Testament
by Hans Walter Wolff
Wolff.jpg (11691 bytes) List Price: $24.00

Sigler Price: $19.20 

Paperback - 293
ISBN 0-9623642-9-0
Sigler Press

Editorial Review
The republication of Wolff's classic study of Israelite society is most welcome.  To be sure, with the use of "social scientific" methods of scripture study in recent decades, the meaning of "anthropology" has radically shifted away from Wolff's intention.  Evidently Wolff was neither interested in nor at home in social scientific catagories.

This recognition, however, does not detract from the significance and value of Wolff's study.  What comes through in powerful ways are Wolff's acute and discerning attention to the detail of the text and his unerring theological sensitivity to what is at stake for Israel in the conventional rhetorical and social interactions of the community.

Among the most valuable resources offered in this book are the unparalled of the vocabulary of personhood, what Wolff terms "The Being of Man," and Wolff's marvelous awareness that the theological weight of God's relation to Israel takes concrete form and shape in routinized social interactions.

Wolff's study will continue to be an important scholarly resource.   I anticipate, moreover, that it will once again be widely received.  At the same time, it is a powerful reminder to us that interpretive responsibility cannot forever linger over questions of method, but must move, if it is to matter at all, to substantive issues of socio-theological reality.  Wolff's book is in some ways dated.  Such a factor notwithstanding, the book provides a satisfying freshness not given in much more self-conscious social research.  Wolff is not reluctant to let interpretation be shaped by faith claims of the text under study, a lesson now surely to be relearned from this magisterial teacher.

Walter Brueggemann
Columbia Theological Seminary

Wolff has succeeded in presenting more fully and more clearly than any previous scholar the rich and varied testimony of the O. T. concerning the meaning of man.

Phyllis Bird
Perkins Journal

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