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.