In 1968 an article by Dr M.A. Beek, professor of Old Testament at the University of Amsterdam since 1974 emeritus) entitled ‘Verzadigingspunten en onvoltooide lijnen in het onderzoek van de oudtestamentische literatuur’ (Saturation Points and Undeveloped Lines in Research in the Literature of the Old Testament) appeared in the Dutch periodical Vox Theologica (Vol. 38,2-14). In this article he pointed out that the current approach with its special attention to possible textual origins had reached its limits and that new directions must be taken.
At this time a number of theologians, among whom were several students of Beek as well as Beek himself, were already attempting to find these new directions. Since this new ‘school’ was centered in Amsterdam, as far as the Netherlands was concerned, it became known as the ‘Amsterdam School’. It is not an homogeneous group as its ‘members’ work along different lines. Following the footsteps of Miskotte one may be pursuing biblical-theological interests, another concentrates exclusively on ‘the grammar of the text’, while a third advocates a new approach to the Old Testament as a historical source.
Nevertheless they share certain basic views:
1. The bible texts in their final stage – seen in the immediate and broader contexts – are the determining factor for their exegesis.
2. They try to read the texts as ‘contemporaries’ to all hearers and students of the texts, past or present, Jews and Christians alike.
3. Following M. Buber and F. Rosenzweig they favour an ‘idiolect’ translation of the Bible in which the form of the original text is retained in the (Dutch) version as nearly as possible since they believe that form and content are most closely related.
In order to present the results of their new research to fellow scholars and other interested persons it was decided to publish this series Amsterdamse Cahiers voor Exegese en Bijbelse Theologie (Amsterdam Papers on Exegesis and Biblical Theology).
Since there is a live interest outside the Netherlands for what is stirring among the members of the so-called Amsterdam School – as is apparent from the American and Israeli contributions – English summaries of the Dutch language articles in Nos. 1 and 2 have been added.