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Buried away in a footnote to Studies in the Cult of Yahweh (1996), Morton Smith laments the days – from about 100 years ago and before – in which Old Testament commentaries regularly examined Greek and Roman parallels to interpret the book of Genesis.

“The earlier commentaries, especially, cite numerous Greek and Roman parallels, reflecting the happier days of Biblical scholarship, before the specialization of ‘ancient near eastern’ studies had entailed ignorance of half the Old Testament’s Umwelt.” (Vol 1, p. 235, no. 37)

Morton Smith

If we accept that “a text can be read only in connection with, and in opposition to other texts” (Gian Conte), then in effect Morton is saying that, for the last century, Old Testament scholars have largely missed the boat.

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