I posted earlier a quote that I liked by Michael Coogan about Old Testament parallels; however, I must admit that I was a little disappointed with the first chapter of this book. From the preface and list of authors, it seems like this will be an excellent volume. In particular, I normally like Coogan. I find his Old Testament volume in the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series to be an outstanding attempt to introduce the Old Testament in a minuscule amount of space. I also enjoy Carol Meyers whose Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context is a classic study. Yet I wish that Coogan would not have gone so much into pre-history here. In the preface, he notes that choosing where to begin and end is difficult, and I agree. This is one of those places that I simply would disagree with the author’s choice.
In addition to the quote I posted earlier, there were one or two other quotable sections in chapter one. The chapter’s bibliography also seems like it would be helpful. One title that piqued my interest was:
Clifford, Richard J. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series, 26. Washington, D. C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 1994.
But overall, I felt like the chapter left a lot to be desired. It was nearly the end of the chapter when Coogan finally got into the first part of Genesis. I do have high hopes for the rest of the text though. I will keep you posted on other chapters that I find interesting.