It is difficult to imagine a critical, scholastic, introductory textbook to the entire Hebrew Bible (and deuterocanonical texts) that could do a better job than this. The book tops out at just over 600 pages, which is somewhat daunting, but well-worth a studious read. There is only so much that can be done in an introductory textbook without becoming overwhelming. I believe the book found it's way to that boundary between too much and not enough. Inevitably, with a book of this quality, criticisms might tend to become nit-picky. The "illustrations" gathered together in the center of the textbook are lackluster, few in number, and rather common. Anyone with a real interest in the Hebrew Bible or the ancient Near East will be familiar with most of the objects and places pictured. They could at least have presented color photographs. Even better, they could have included a CD with a large archive of photographs to flip through as you read--which brings us to the included CD. I've always felt that including the textbook on an accompanying CD was rather pointless. It's probably done to claim an added value for the product and substantiate an increase in price. Fortunately, you can find the book steeply discounted on places like Amazon.com and then toss the CD without regret (except, perhaps, for the increase in environmental waste). But even if having the book on CD was a welcome option, the publisher chose to discriminate against a large number of its customers by making the work accessible only through a Windows-based operating system. The CD will not load, install, or run on Linux or (I assume) Mac. Being a Linux user, therefore, I found the CD doubly worthless. As a lover of the Tetrateuch, I was thrilled at how much space and time was committed to Genesis and the first half of Exodus. Unfortunately, the rest of the Tetrateuch suffered. The last half of Exodus as well as Numbers receive, perhaps, the poorest treatment in the entire textbook. Leviticus, thankfully, was not treated so unjustly, but it's treatment still suffered. My biggest complaint is the biased judgment calls that Collins weaves subtly or not-so-subtly through the entire work. He repeatedly inserts factual judgments on ideas or arguments which he either has not presented evidence for or had previously discussed only as a possible way of viewing things. I found myself repeatedly writing the word "why?" in the margin or making some sort of note where Collins proceeded upon an assumption or argument that I found rather thin or unconvincing. It is clear that Collins attempts to bypass his own biases by giving time and attention to various arguments and evidences, but he is not consistent. Perhaps Collins felt the need when dealing with sacred literature to guard against the abuses of Fundamentalism. But since when was he the guardian of the text? Overall, the book comes highly recommended. One cannot fail to receive a great deal of critical, theological, and historical insight, while building a solid foundation in their study of the Hebrew Bible.