With the experience of two World Wars, the German-speaking world began to turn "anti-Old Testament" as anti-Semitic feeling grew. Disturbed by this, Rad turned to the study of the Old Testament and gradually started to bring back its message.
His lively papers achieved a renewal of interest and research in Old Testament studies. Along with Martin Noth, he applied research into the Pentateuch's oral tradition to the explanation of its origin.
Gerhard von Rad and his wife are buried in Heidelberg's "Handschusheim Cemetery". On their gravestone is minimalist artwork depicting Jonah emerging from the great fish, an Old Testament symbol of resurrection.
A new methodological approach for OT theology, one that deserves to be put in a class by itself, is that of Gerhard von Rad. His OT theology needs to be understood as the theology of the historical and prophetic traditions.
In his theology, with its challenge of previous methodologies and with its new proposals, von Rad (1901-71) inaugurated a new epoch in the study of Old Testament theology. He argued against any organization of Old Testament theology along the lines of central concepts, pervasive topics, assumed structures of Israelite thought or world of faith, or systematic theological categories which had been characteristic, in one way or another, of all the theologies of the twentieth century since this was to impose an alien structure on the material.
Gerhard Von Rad has been a regular contributor to Old Testament studies since 1929, although his main works were published between 1947 and 1960. His major writings include his studies on Deuteronomy; his commentary on Genesis; his two volumes of Theology of the Old Testament and a representative selection of his essays, extending from 1931 through 1964, which were translated and published as The Problem of the Hexateuch and other Essays in 1966, though the bulk of these were written in the late 1940s.
Bibliography of some of the writings of von Rad
Das Alte Testament Deutsch (ATD), Tlbd.2/4, Das erste Buch Mose, GenesisISBN 3-525-51112-4 (This textbook series of detailed theological commentaries on individual books of the bible translates as "The Old Testament [in] German"; the volume is on the book of Genesis)
Weisheit in Israel ASIN B000E1Q3CY ("Wisdom in Israel")
Theologie des Alten Testaments (Einführung in die evangelische Theologie) ASIN B0007JBBTI ("Theology of the Old Testament"/ series title: "Introduction into 'evangelisch'[e] theology" ["evangelisch" in German is used in a similar sense as "Protestant" in English, but has other connotations; hence it is not directly translatable; it usually refers to lutheran or closely related faith and theology, or Christians adhering to it)
Basileia (Bible Key Words from Gerhard Kittel's Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament) ASIN B000BGT0RW
Kaiser Taschenbücher, Bd.1, Theologie des Alten Testaments. Die Theologie der geschichtlichen Überlieferungen Israels. ISBN 3-579-05002-8 ("Kaiser [publisher's name] pocketbooks, vol.1, "Theology of the Old Testament. Theology of the historical tradition of Israel")
Das Alte Testament Deutsch (ATD), Tlbd.8 : Das fünfte Buch Mose (Deuteronomium) ISBN 3-525-51136-1 (the volume on the book Deuteronomium of the series mentioned above)
Erinnerungen aus der Kriegsgefangenschaft, Frühjahr 1945ISBN 3-7887-0507-8 ("Memories of a prisoner of war, spring 1945")
^von Rad, Gerhard, Wisdom in Israel, SCM Press, London, Fifth Impression, 1985, von Rad dedicates the English version to his colleagues at the University of Lund and at the University of Wales for receiving him into their midst
^Premasagar, Victor, Interpretive Diary of a Bishop - Indian Experience in Translation and Interpretation of some Biblical Passages, The Christian Literature Society, Chennai, August 2001, pp. 8-10