Open Access Intro to OT

This post concerns my ideas for a particular kind of open-access Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

I recently floated a Tweet (and Facebook status update) that asked around about any open-access Introduction to the Old Testament. I have an idea for such a project, and wanted to see if anything was already out there (knowing pretty well that there is not).

Akma proved (as I knew he would) to be an eager conversation partner, and his responsive post has generated some discussion. I follow up there with some remarks about what I have in mind.

What I plan to try for is an Introduction to the OT that:

  • is freely available online;
  • is historical- and literary-critical in focus (as is a Coogan or a Collins, say; in other words, not a “theological introduction” narrowly reflecting the concerns of faith communities or other readerly social contexts);
  • is authored by a socially diverse body of contributors.

With the “open source” aspect, I mean to respond to a clear need. I would like my own students to have a freely-available, critical Introduction. (I’d actually like them to have several, as well as several open-access Hebrew and Greek grammars, and so on.)

With the authorship and content that I have in mind, I mean to address a situation in the field. During the time that historical criticism was held to be in decline, traditional historical-literary introductions continued to be ceded to the white male authors, while women and people of color wrote works intended to supplement such introductions. Now, though, the recognition of the biblical authors as among the “Others” to whom we try to listen earnestly has prompted some rehabilitation of the historical-critical approaches. It is well past time to have “traditional” historical-literary-critical Introductions to OT that reflect genuine diversity of authorship. (What holds together such an Intro would be a shared commitment to grounding one’s historical-literary claims in publicly-shared evidence and lines of reasoning; what makes it diverse would be the unpredictable range of possible perceptions and assessments regarding that evidence.)

Akma had the excellent idea that such an Intro could be “modular”: after the initial publication, if somebody wanted to offer a supplemental chapter, zie could do so as long as the controlling body agreed that the supplemental work fit the scope and formatting of the project.

I will be writing up an outline delimiting the methods, outline, and scope of the project, and will also be having discussions with possible contributors. I am at a very early stage on this, so you will have to stay tuned a while to hear more about what takes shape.

8 Responses

  1. Best I can offer you is Biblical Training dot org who have posted classes from various semi old timers in a number of seminaries. Your colleagues, Dr. Douglas Stuart and Dr. Paul House have posted an OT and an OT Theo online. The classes can be found at

    The website needs work to make it more accessible (each time they try I think they make it worse! LOL) But most classes have an outline and suggested reading.

    SOTS also carries a number of resources collected in one spot. I’d imagine SBL does too…

    Perhaps this is helpful.

  2. I have nothing of substance to add, except to say that I’d absolutely love such an introduction — have been reading Collins to accompany my own rereading of the OT, and in the hopes of eventually working up to teaching Bible as Lit.

    So please do keep posting!

  3. […] addendum July 26, 2010 tim No comments Brooke has now posted his own take on the project Open Access Intro to OT so perhaps I’ll have to start using OAIOT 😉 Bible, Open Source, Publishing, Teaching […]

  4. […] Facebook page (see his blog Anumma for the belated expression of this in public “Open Access Intro to OT“) that happily was seen by AKMA. And that Mark offered (in The Future for Textbooks Online) […]

  5. […] allowfullscreen=”true”></embed> Who eventually blogged about the topix here: Open Access Intro to OT [↩]My posts, with links to the others I was aware of are here, though with some other mainly […]

  6. […] Open Source Textbook (probably as a prototype for a possible series).  Brooke (another initial primary discussant) seems both willing and more likely to be able (because of easing time-pressure) soon. The other […]

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