From Epic to Canon
History and Literature in Ancient Israel
In From Epic to Canon, Frank Moore Cross discusses specific issues that illuminate central questions about the Hebrew Bible and those who created and preserved it. He challenges the persistent attempt to read Protestant theological polemic against law into ancient Israel. Cross uncovers the continuities between the institutions of kinship and of covenant, which he describes as "extended kinship." He examines the social structures of ancient Israel and reveals that beneath its later social and cultural accretions, the concept of covenant—as opposed to codified law—was a vital part of Israel's earliest institutions. He then draws parallels between the expression of kinship and covenant among the Israelites and that practiced by other ancient societies, as well as in primitive societies.
About the Author
Frank Moore Cross is the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages (Emeritus) in the Department of Near Eastern Languages at Harvard University. His many books include The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, and, as editor, the Hermeneia series of Old Testament commentaries and Qumran and the History of Biblical Text. In addition, he has received several honorary degrees and prizes, including the William Foxwell Albright Award in Biblical Scholarship, the Israel Museum's Percia Schimmel Prize in Archaeology, and the Medalla de Honor of the University of Madrid.
Distinguished scholar Cross, author of the classic Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, uses excavations at the city of Gerizim, the Daliyeh Papyri and other archaeological finds to give fresh meaning to the reading of the Hebrew Bible... Impeccable scholarship and lucid prose make Cross's book a must-read for Hebrew Bible scholars.
This book is surely destined to become a classic, a crowning achievement to a distinguished life of scholarship.
[ From Epic to Canon] has a unity found in the major scholarly concerns which have characterized Cross's academic career... He has an unerring eye for questions which need to be answered and to which is it important to bring a whole range of scholarly tools, archaeological, historical and literary.
A book of substantive argument, scholarly depth, textured reflection, and elegant presentation.
Cross's study is greatly enhanced by the new evidence that has been discovered including the Dead Sea Scrolls. He carefully examines how these documents influence the way we think about the beliefs and institutions of ancient Israel.
In the study of the Old Testament, perhaps no one has been a better and more stimulating scholar in the past half century than Frank Moore Cross, emeritus professor at Harvard, editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls and author of salient books and articles. Cross is one of the few who commands the whole range of the biblical field, from the second millenium BCE to the Roman period. He has embodied the model of the scholar, who is, as Shakespeare puts it in Henry VIII 'Exceeding wise, fair spoken, and persuading. To those men who sought him sweet as summer.'.