My Major Field Reading List

My Major Field Reading List

As some of you may know, I went through the Ph.D. program in Ancient History at UC San Diego, with a major field emphasis in Ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible. I studied under excellent teachers (including David Noel Freedman, Richard Elliott Friedman, William H. C. Propp, Alden Mosshammer, Thomas Levy, and David Goodblatt). I thought I’d share with you the required readings for my major, to give you an idea of the foundations of my knowledge of the subject and in case you want to do some reading yourself, if interested in the subject. Mind you, this is a few years old (I got my Ph.D. in 2006), but most of these are important and seminal works. So without further ado:


(for minor field or M.A. starred items only)

*I. The Hebrew Bible itself

II. History of the Field

*R. Clements, One Hundred Years of Old Testament Research
J. P. Hyatt, The Bible in Modern Scholarship
D. Knight, The Hebrew Bible and Its Modern Interpreters
M. J. Mulder, ed. Mikra (Corpus Rerum Judaicarum ad NT)
J. Rogerson Old Testament Criticism in the Nineteenth Century
The Cambridge History of the Bible
B. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages
S. L. McKenzie and S. R. Haynes, To Each Its Own Meaning

III. Hebrew Language and Grammar

G. I. Davies, Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions
A. Hurvitz, A Linguistic Study of the Relationship Between the Priestly Source and the Book of Ezekiel
*T. O. Lambdin, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew
W. L. Moran, “The Hebrew Language in its Northwest Semitic Background,” The Bible and the Ancient Near East 54-72
J. Naveh, Early History of the Alphabet

IV. Textual Criticism and Canonization

*F. M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran
S. Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study
P. Kahle, The Cairo Genizah
E. Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
E. Tov, The Septuagint
L. M. McDonald and J. A. Sandars, ed., The Canon Debate

V. Literary Criticism

R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative
E. Auerbach, Mimesis (chapter on Aqedah)
A. Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative
D. M. Carr, Reading the Fractures of Genesis
R. J. Clifford, Fair Spoken and Persuading
*M. Fishbane, Text and Texture
*D. N. Freedman, “Pentateuch,” Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible
D. N. Freedman, The Unity of the Hebrew Bible
*R. E. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible?
R. E. Friedman, The Hidden Book in the Bible
R. E. Friedman, The Bible With Sources Revealed
H. Gunkel, The Legends of Genesis
R. Kawashima, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode
*J. Muilenburg, “Form Criticism and Beyond,” JBL 88 (1969) 1-18
M. Noth, History of Pentateuchal Traditions, chs. 1-5 and last
M. Noth, The Deuteronomistic History
W. H. Propp, “The Priestly Source Recovered Intact?” VT 43 (1993) 495-518
*G. von Rad, The Problem of the Hexateuch
R. Rendtorff, The Problem of the Process of Transmission in the Pentateuch
L. S. Schearing and S. L. McKenzie, ed. Those Elusive Deuteronomists
*J. H. Tigay, Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism
P. Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality
G. M. Tucker, Form Criticism of the Old Testament
*R. Whybray, The Making of the Pentateuch

VI. Hebrew Poetry

R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry
D. N. Freedman, Pottery, Poetry, and Prophecy
D. N. Freedman, Psalm 119: The Exaltation of Torah
G. B. Gray, The Forms of Hebrew Poetry
J. Kugel, The Idea of Biblical Poetry
M. O’Connor, Hebrew Verse Structure
*W. G. E. Watson, Classical Hebrew Poetry

VII. Biblical Law

K. Baltzer, The Covenant Formulary
*D. R. Hillers, Covenant: The History of a Biblical Idea
B. M. Levinson, Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation
B. M. Levinson, ed., Theory and Method in Biblical and Cuneiform Law
G. Mendenhall, Law and Covenant in Israel and the Ancient Near East
*M. Noth, The Laws in the Pentateuch
M. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School
M. Weinfeld, “The Covenant of Grant in the OT and ANE,” JAOS 90 (1970) 184-203
R. Westbrook, Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Law

VIII. Prophecy

J. Blenkinsopp, A History of Prophecy in Israel
S. L. Cook, Prophecy and Apocalypticism
*J. Lindblom, Prophecy in Ancient Israel
M. Nissinen, ed. Prophecy in Its Ancient Near Eastern Context
H. H. Rowley, Studies in Old Testament Prophecy
*R. R. Wilson, Prophecy and Society

IX. Writings

J. L. Crenshaw, ed. Studies in Ancient Israelite Wisdom
T. C. Eskenazi, In an Age of Prose
M. V. Fox, A Time to Tear Down and a Time to Build Up
H. Gunkel, An Introduction to the Psalms
S. Mowinckel, The Psalms in Israel’s Worship
*R. Murphy, The Tree of Life
L. G. Perdue, Wisdom in Revolt
C. L. Seow, Ecclesiastes (Introduction)
H. G. M. Williamson, Israel in the Books of Chronicles

X. Israelite Geography and Archaeology

Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible
W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel
R. Coote and K. Whitelam, The Emergence of Israel in Historical Perspective
*W. G. Dever, Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research
*W. G. Dever, Did God Have a Wife?
*W. G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and When Did They Know It?
*W. G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites, and Where Did They Come From?
I. Finkelstein, The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement
N. Gottwald, The Tribes of Yahweh
*T. E. Levy and A. F. C. Holl. Migrations, ethnogenesis, and settlement dynamics: Israelites in Iron Age Canaan and Shuwa-Arabs in the Chad Basin. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 21 (2002) 83-118.
*T. E. Levy, R. B. Adams, and A. Muniz. “Archaeology and the Shasu Nomads – Recent Excavations in the Jabal Hamrat Fidan, Jordan,” in Le-David Maskil: A Birthday Tribute for David Noel Freedman.
*A. Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible
A. Rainey, A Handbook of Historical Geography
A. Rainey, Macmillan Bible Atlas (revised)
E. Stern, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible
relevant articles in the volumes of The Biblical Archaeologist Reader

XI. Israelite History and Historiography

P. Ackroyd, Exile and Restoration
*W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity
J. L. Berquist, Judaism in Persia’s Shadow
E. Bickerman, From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees
J. Bright, A History of Israel
I. Finkelstein and N. A. Silberman, The Bible Unearthed
L. Fried, The Priest and the Great King
B. Halpern, The First Historians
B. Halpern, Emergence of Israel in Canaan
B. Halpern, David’s Secret Demons
*J. H. Hayes and J. M. Miller, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah
*J. M. Miller, J. H. Hayes, Israelite and Judaean History
T. L. Thompson, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives
J. van Seters, In Search of History
*J. Wellhausen, Prolegomenon to the History of Israel

XII. (Ancient) Near East and Bible

W. F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan
A. Alt, Essays on Old Testament History and Religion
*F. M. Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic
*F. Greenspahn, Essential Papers on Israel and the Ancient Near East
W. W. Hallo and W. K. Simpson, The Ancient Near East
R. Oden and H. Attridge, Philo of Byblos
W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites
G. E. Wright, The Bible and the Ancient Near East
Major ANE historical inscriptions
Major ANE myths
Major ANE lawcodes

XIII. Society

O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel
O. Borowski, Every Living Thing
P. Day, Gender and Difference
*H. Eilberg-Schwartz, The Savage in Judaism
T. Levy, The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land (relevant chapters)
L. Stager, “The Archaeology of the Family,” BASOR 260 (1985)
R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel
R. R. Wilson, Genealogy and History in the Biblical World

XIV. Religion, Theology

B. Albrektson, History and the Gods
J. Day, ed., King and Messiah in Israel and the Ancient Near East
H. Frankfort, The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man
D. N. Freedman, Divine Commitment and Human Obligation
Y. Kaufmann, History of the Religion of Israel (tr. Greenberg)
*J. D. Levenson, Sinai & Zion
*J. D. Levenson, Creation and the Persistence of Evil
P. D. Miller et al., Ancient Israelite Religion
*M. S. Smith, The Early History of God or The Origins of Biblical Monotheism
G. E. Wright, God Who Acts or The Old Testament Against its Environment
Z. Zevit, The Religions of Ancient Israel

XV. Miscellaneous

F. Crusemann, The Torah
*S. R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament
O. Eissfeldt, The Old Testament
*R. E. Friedman, “An Essay on Method,” in Le-David Maskil: A Birthday Tribute for David Noel Freedman.
M. M. Homan, To Your Tents, O Israel!
J. Neusner, ed., Judaic Perspectives on Ancient Israel
W. H. C. Propp, Exodus (readable portions)


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