Written by two leading Old Testament scholars with wide ranging expertise, this unique introduction describes the historical, social and cultural setting in which the Old Testament was written, and provides a description of the major genres of literature that it contains. it seeks, therefore, to Illuminate the literature of the Old Testament by showing how it was shaped by the events, social structures, and religions and intellectual ideas of the ancient civilizations and cultures in which it was produced. Unlike most introductions, this book does not build largely on the traditional formats. Rather than a conventional canonical-theological approach, it offers an approach for those interested in the Old Testament as a monumental cultural achievement. It is therefore ideal for students of ancient history and religion in general as well as theology, and requires a minimum of prior knowledge or expertise.