In the latest edition of this classic work, Knight presents a thorough history and analysis of the exegetical method known in Hebrew Bible studies as tradition history or traditio-historical criticism, the capstone of the historical-critical methods. Beginning in the seventeenth–nineteenth centuries with early notions that some form of oral tradition may have preceded the writing of biblical literature, scholars from the start of the twentieth century forward became increasingly intrigued with the idea that the creative period for much of the material lay in the long and intricate process of tradition growth rather than in the actual writing stage. The unfolding of scholarship in this field took distinctive forms in various contexts, especially in Scandinavian research, which is here assessed in light of many untranslated studies. This third edition, largely reproducing the original publication from 1973, is augmented by an epilogue arguing that several methods and issues developed in the period since the 1970s have now problematized past traditio-historical work in unavoidable yet also stimulating ways.
Douglas A. Knight is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture at Vanderbilt University. The author and editor of numerous books and articles, he currently serves as general editor of the Westminster John Knox series Library of Ancient Israel.