As is often the case with such invitations, John Barton's request to me for a contribution to this volume represented a challenge to think seriously about how each of us was viewing the topic, and about how best to tackle it in the present context. In the original letter inviting me to submit a chapter, the editor explained that the volume would attempt to cover the principal approaches to the Bible in the modern 'critical' era. Conscious as he was of the continuation of older methods and approaches, 'whether naive in the sense of simply untouched by criticism, or anti-critical and conscientiously opposed to criticism', he was anxious that Jewish and Christian conservatism, including fundamentalist interpretations, should receive attention. Given that Christian conservatism was likely to be discussed in other chapters, he thought it would be good if the chapter I was being invited to write could be 'preponderantly Jewish in its concerns'. He was hoping for an article that not only covered the field but represented personal opinions, not just 'bland consensus'.