Ancient stories invoking contemporary questions and providing insight for an uncertain future
The End of the Beginning presents a chapter-by-chapter interpretation of Joshua and Judges, based on the author’s translation. Johanna van Wijk-Bos accompanies the reader through the story of Israel from the entry into Canaan up to the time of Samuel. van Wijk-Bos weaves together the memories of ancient Israel’s past into a story that speaks to the traumatic context of postexilic Judah.
The books of Joshua and Judges were written for education, edification, and entertainment. Some of the stories may exhilarate us, some may appall; all will speak to the imagination if we let them. They show a people forging a path forward into an uncertain future in the hope that God will forgive past failures and begin again with them. Christians enter the stories of Israel’s past as outsiders, while at the same time claiming a bond with the same God. We expect more from the text than lessons of the past intended for a different people. These are not our stories, but we too hope for insight and for a guiding word in our own uncertain future.
This is the first volume of A People and a Land, a multi-volume work on the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings.
Johanna W. H. van Wijk-Bos taught as Professor of Old Testament at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary from 1977-2017. She serves the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) as ordained pastor and is deeply engaged with issues of equity in terms of gender and race. A prolific author, her other books include Making Wise the Simple: the Torah in Christian Faith and Practice and Reading Samuel: A Literary and Theological Commentary.