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Liberty Baptist Theological SeminaryANCIENT NEAR EASTERN THEMES IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGYBY JEFFREY J. NIEHAUS – A CRITICAL INTERACTIONSubmitted to Dr. Gary E. Yatesin partial fulfillment of requirements for THEO 695 byElke B. SpeliopoulosDowningtown, PAMarch 1, 2010
In the past decades, there have been a number of archaeological finds that have aidedresearchers in learning about the theology of the people groups surrounding the Israelites. In
 Ancient Near Eastern Themes in Biblical Theology,
Jeffrey J. Niehaus takes his readers on anexcursion into the world of Israel’s surrounding neighbors’ belief systems based on these finds.He shows how comparative elements can be identified in Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian,Sumerian and Hittite writings to those found in the pages of the Scriptures.However, Niehaus’ approach does not easily allow the reader to reach the conclusions heintends for them to find. While making a strong point of the similarities of the various texts of neighboring to biblical writings, Niehaus fails to convince that there is enough textual distinctionto see God’s transcendent work in contrast to the gods of Israel’s neighbors.
 Niehaus, who since 1982 has served as professor of Old Testament at Gordon-ConwellTheological Seminary
, focuses his writing on the comparative elements within both biblical andANE texts. He does so by focusing on a number of topics to cross-examine similarities or differences within the texts of Israel’s neighbors to comparative biblical texts.The initial chapter provides a background to the reader about various attempts to classifythe data at hand. Niehaus differentiates between two entirely separate methodologies: theexperimental method and the comparative method. The latter is where Niehaus spends most of his time and which he has broken down into two large subcategories: the first attempts tocategorize biblical texts into “categories of myth and legend”
, the second interprets myth andlegends of pagan origin in light of biblical truth. Niehaus is clearly promoting the latter, yet takes
1. Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminar, Faculty Information: Jeffrey J. Niehaus, (accessed March 1, 2010).2. Jeffrey J. Niehaus,
 Anicent Near Eastern Themes in Biblical Theology
(Grand Rapids, MI: KregelPublications, 2008), 15.