Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition

Stories from CanaanI had not realized there was an update to the already helpful “Stories from Canaan” by Michael Coogan. This update includes the work of Mark Smith (who has been writing THE critical commentary on the Baal Cycle for well over a decade and has compiled the most exhaustive bibliography on Ugaritic studies available). While I quite enjoyed the first edition, I would guess this update (which includes several new texts) offers an updated introduction and continues the tradition of an easily readable translation of these texts which provide a significant entree into the cultural-religious context which ancient Israel found herself.

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

Coogan, Michael D. and Mark S. Smith, eds. Stories from Ancient Canaan. 2nd ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2012. Pp. x + 180. Paper. $25.00.

Context is king. It’s a simple yet profound statement. A word has any number of possible meanings and any given one is determined by the words that surround it (at least at the written level; the meaning of a spoken word can be discerned by paying attention to body language, tone, inflection, etc.). But context refers to more than mere words and the words that surround them; it has reference to situations and circumstances that form the setting for any given event. One of the biggest hindrances to the interpretation of texts, especially ancient texts, is the lack of context. There are just some things that the original readers/hearers of an ancient text would have taken for granted that modern readers have to work…

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