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The cultures of the great empires of the ancient Near East from Egypt to Mesopotamia influenced Israel's religion, literature, and laws because of Israel's geographic location and political position situation. Anyone who wishes to understand the Old Testament texts and the history of ancient Israel must become familiar with the history, literature, and society of the surrounding kingdoms that at times controlled the region. Brief in presentation yet broad in scope, Ancient Near East will introduce students to the information and ideas essential to understanding the texts of the Old Testament while clarifying difficult issues concerning the relationship between Israel and its neighbors. Abingdon Essential Guides fulfill the need for brief, substantive, yet highly accessible introductions to the core disciplines in biblical, theological, and religious studies.