This book has been on my TBR list for quite a while and, at last, I got around to read it. An Introduction to the Old Testament, by Longman and Dillard, is actually a theology textbook, so expect to be challenged when you read it. What I enjoyed about the book is that it discusses each book of the Old Testament in a different chapter and that each chapter follows the same basic format. Each chapter (book) starts with a bibliography that includes commentaries, articles, etc. before moving on to the historical background, critical views and approaches, a literary analysis, and ends with an “approaching the New Testament” summary.
The blurb on the book also states that the book includes “callouts, charts, and graphs… written with an eye on understanding the nature of Old Testament historiography. This upper-level introduction to the Old Testament offers students a solid understanding of three key issues: historical background, literary analysis, and theological message”. The Longman and Dillard also cautions: “While ignorance of the historical context of the Bible threatens a correct understanding of the Bible, a second major danger confronts the reader. This danger is the imposition of contemporary Western values on the historical writings of the Old Testament. It is thus of great importance that we not only describe the value of a historical approach to the Old Testament but also explore the nature of Old Testament historiography” (2006:18).
However, if you are looking for more cultural insights while reading the Old Testament, I would rather advise you to read the Archaeological Study Bible. This volume, however, does give a very thorough introduction for those who are either just beginning their studies or who are just curious and would like to read a more in-depth introduction.