On The Literary Quality Of The Old Testament

"Palestine itself had little natural protection since it was only a narrow strip of settled territory along the seacoast. It formed a natural highway for merchants, visitors, pilgrims, and invaders moving between the great city-states in Mesopotamia and Egypt. Being mountainous for the most part, it could support only a modest population which could not hope to compete with the massive numbers that could be summoned from Egypt to Mesopotamia. Being an international crossroads probably led directly, however, to the high literary culture found in the Old Testament. Biblical authors seem to have known well the beliefs and writings of other nations, but they also produced a quality of writing and thought unequaled in the ancient world."

Lawrence Boadt, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, p. 36

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