A selection of essays from the world of the late, noted, and influential German Old Testament scholar is offered in this volume. The basic approach taken in the essays is that of tracing the consolidation and shaping of oral tradition into a written literature. Alt accounts for the rise of Israel as a people and then as a state as the consequence of the uniting of the various tribes in the worship of Yahweh. This religious factor, and the very ancient and distinctive body of religious practice underlying it, leads to the formation of the people, rather than economic, geographic, or cultural circumstances. In this respect, Israel represents in itself a distinctive phenomenon among the races and national groupings of mankind. The essays deal with the rise of the tradition of ""The God of the Fathers,"" the origins of Israelite law, and the historical development of Israel from the settlement in Palestine through the monarchy in Israel and Judah before their captivity. The book will be most welcomed by scholars and especially by students lacking facility with the German language. In this translation the essays can be read, also, by any reader seriously interested in the backgrounds of the Old Testament. The erudition is notable; the style orderly and alive.