An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, by S.R. Driver

| Updated: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 | Tagged: ot introduction, ot, introduction.

This substantial and learned introduction captures the state of critical studies of the Old Testament at the turn of the 20th C. It went through nine revised editions, and is still available as a reprint. Driver’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes it this thus:

…[O]f all his books the Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament (1891; 9th edn, 1913) had the widest influence in scholarly circles. Characteristically Driver did not accept the so-called Graf–Wellhausen theory of the Pentateuch, which identified and dated sources for the books of Moses, until he had worked over the field for himself. Between 1882 and 1889, however, he became convinced, and in the Introduction he explained and cautiously endorsed this transformation of Old Testament studies. To enthusiasts Driver’s moderation seemed disappointing; in general, however, the book was welcomed as authoritative, and it was singularly well timed. It remains the best account of the documentary hypothesis in English.

There are seventeen (!) different copies available at, and oddly, the most downloaded version is of the fourth edition. There are three good copies of the latest (9th, 1913) edition, with my preferred copy being the scan from the University of Toronto.