Reception History

Reception history refers to how the biblical texts have been received throughout history, not only within Christian and Jewish circles, but also how it has made its way into mainstream music, art, literature, and politics. Think of Rembrandt’s interpretation of the return of the prodigal son, Bob Dylan’s transformation of biblical images into music, or American presidential speeches that co-opt Scripture to influence public opinion. The field of reception history is still developing. Thus, scholars may approach it differently—some focusing on contemporary and mainstream cultural manifestations while others attending to history of interpretation within faith communities. This site will highlight aspects of both with particular attention to the latter. The resources below are undergoing development and suggestions for additions are welcome. Click on the link you want or scroll down to see all.

ANCIENT ISRAEL (c. 1200 B.C.E – 200 B.C.E.)

I include two sections here: 1) inner-biblical reception history within the Old Testament and 2) ancient Near Eastern texts. ANE texts are useful for examining how the biblical authors received and incorporated ideas from the broader cultural context.


Fishbane, Michael. Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. (For a brief and free essay on the topic by Fishbane see also “Inner-Biblical Exegesis: Types and Strategies of Interpretation in Ancient Israel“)

Levinson, Bernard. Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Legal Innovation. Oxford and Boston:  Oxford University Press, 1997.

Levinson, Bernard. Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel.  Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. (This book includes a helpful bibliographic essay).



Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia (updated list of titles)

Arnold, Bill T. and Bryan E. Beyer, eds., Readings from the Ancient Near East: Primary Sources for Old Testament Study. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002.

Hallo. W.W. and K. Lawson Younger, eds. The Context of Scripture, vol. I-III. Leiden and New York: Brill, 1997-2002.

Nissinen, Marti, C.L. Seow, and Robert K. Ritner. Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.

Pritchard, J.B. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3d ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. (some of these translations may be improved by more recent translations)

Roth, Martha T. Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, 2nd ed. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 1997.

Sparks, Kenton L.  Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005.

Walton, John H. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989.


Sources of Early Akkadian Literature

State Archives of Assyria (Neo-Assyrian bibliography)

Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, Flood, Gilgamesh and Others, revised. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Foster, Benjamin R. Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akka­dian Literature, 2nd ed. Potomac, MD: CDL Press, 1996.

 Glassner, Jean-Jacques. Mesopotamian Chronicles. Edited by Benjamin Foster. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

Nissinen, Martti. References to Prophecy in Neo-Assyrian Sources. State Archives of Assyria Studies, 7; Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1998.

Parpola, Simo. Assyrian Prophecies. Helsinki: University of Helsinki Press, 1997.


Allen, James, P. The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts. Atlanta: SBL, 2005.

Breasted, James Henry. Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents From the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, vol, I-V. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1906-07.

Foster, John. Hymns, Prayers, and Songs : An Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Lyric Poetry. Edited by Susan Tower Hollis. Atanta: SBL/Scholars Press, 1996.

Kitchen, Kenneth A. Ramesside Inscriptions: Translations, vol. I-VI. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993-2012.

Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. I-III. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973-1980

Murnane, William J.Texts from the Amarna Period in Egypt. Atlanta: SBL, 1995.

Simpson, W. Kelly Simpson, ed. The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 3d edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.

Strudwick, Nigel C. Texts from the Pyramid Age. Atlanta: SBL, 2005.

Wente, Edward F. Letters from Ancient Egypt. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.

Hebrew/Aramaic (extra-biblical)

Ahituv, Shmuel. Echoes From the Past: Hebrew and Cognate Inscriptions from the Biblical Period. Jerusalem: Carta, 2008.

Dobbs-Allsop, F.W. Hebrew Inscriptions: Texts From the Biblical Period of the Monarchy with Concordance. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Lindenberger, James M. Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters, 2nd ed. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 2003.


Beckman, Gary M. Hittite Diplomatic Texts. Atlanta: Scholars Press/SBL, 1999.

Hoffner, Harry A. Jr. Hittite Myths, 2nd ed. Atlanta: Scholars Press/SBL, 1991.

Singer, Itamar. Hittite Prayers. Atlanta: Scholars Press/SBL, 2002.


The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature

Black, Jeremy, ed. The Literature of Ancient Sumer. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Michalowski, Piotr. Letters from Early Mesopotamia. Atlanta: Scholars Press/SBL, 1993.

Vanstiphout, Herman. Epics of Sumerian Kings. Atlanta: SBL, 2003.


De Moor, Johannes. An Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit. New York: Brill, 1987.

Del Olmo Lete, Gregorio. Canaanite Religion According to the Liturgical Texts of Ugarit. Translated by Wilfred G.E. Watson. Bethesda: CDL Press, 1999.

Pardee, Dennis. Ritual and Cult at Ugarit. Edited by Theodore J. Lewis. Boston: Brill, 2002.

Parker, Simon B., ed. Ugaritic Narrative Poetry. SBL Writings from the Ancient World Series 9. Scholars Press, 1997.

Wyatt, Nick. Religious Texts from Ugarit: The Words of Ilimilku and his Colleagues. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.


Old Testament Apocrypha

Old Testament Pseudepigrapha

The Online Critical Pseudepigrapha

See also:

Najman, Hindy. Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 77. Leiden: Brill, 2003.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS (c. 200 B.C.E. – 80 C.E.)

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library (digital images of the scrolls; translations will be added eventually) See also: Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

Vermes, Geza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 7th ed. London: Penguin, 2012.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia. The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English, 2nd ed. Leiden and New York: Brill, 1996.

Martinez, Florentino Garcia and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Study Edition, vol I & II. Leiden and New York: Brill, 1997/1998. (this includes Hebrew and Aramaic transcriptions in addition to the English translations)

Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg and Edward Cook. The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (revised). New York: HarperCollins, 2005.

See also:

Charlesworth, J.H. The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls, vol 1: The Hebrew Bible and Qumran. North Richland Hills, TX: BIBAL Press, 2000.

David, Nora, Armin Lange, Kristin De Troyer, Armin Lange, and Shani Tzoref, eds. The Hebrew Bible in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 239. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2012. (Note: the first chapter can be read here).

PHILO AND JOSEPHUS (c. 20 B.C.E. – 100 C.E.)

Works of Philo

Works of Josephus


Table of Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament (includes LXX and Masoretic translations)

Blue Letter Bible (another list of specific citations as well as allusions)

See also:

Beale, G.K. and D.A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.

EARLY CHRISTIAN (100 C.E. – 600 C.E.)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Church Fathers (and other early Christian writings)

Commentary Literature (bibliography of English translations up to 1600)

Early Christian Writings

Guide to Early Church Documents

RABBINIC (c. 220 C.E. – 1300 C.E.)

Online Resources for the Study of Rabbinic Literature

Sacred Text Archive

Mishnah (partial; 18 Tractates). See also Tractate Sanhedrin with Tosefta


Babylonian Talmud

Rashi’s Commentary

See also:

Strack, H.L. and Gunter Stemberger. Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, 2nd ed. Translated and edited by Markus Bockmuehl. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.

MIDDLE AGES (c. 600 C.E. – 1350 C.E.)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Commentary Literature (bibliography of English translations up to 1600)

Glossa Ordinaria (Latin; prominent medieval study Bible)

Medieval Latin Texts

Nicholas of Lyra, Postilla super totam Bibliam (Latin; see also Postilla litteralis et moralis)

Thomas Aquinas, Scripture commentaries (various)


Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Selected Works of Martin Luther

Commentary Literature (bibliographies of English translations up to 1600 and 1600-1700)

Anna Barbauld (1743-1825). Devotional Pieces Compiled from the Psalms and the Book of Job: To Which Are Prefixed Thoughts on the Devotional Taste, on Sects, and on Establishment

MODERNISM TO PRESENT (c. 1800 C.E. – present)

IN PROGRESS. Commentary on the Old Testament during the past 200+ years is an overwhelming ocean. This section will focus primarily on particular works during this time period that strike me as noteworthy or interesting.


Online Text Library (links to numerous texts including Septuagint, Rabbinic literature, etc.)

Sacred Texts (Christianity)

McKim, Donald K, ed. Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters (revised). Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2007.

Taylor, Marion Ann, ed. Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.