In scholarship, and this has been true for a very long time, we are tempted to privilege newer research. There are good reasons for this. Old assumptions ought to be questioned, new material evidence ought to be considered, we ought to learn from interdisciplinary and previously ignored voices, etc. This, of course, does not mean that newer is better, only that rethinking old problems tends to be a good thing.
I learned recently that Prof Dale Allison instructs his students to find a ratio between old and new research to guide their reading. For example, you might decide to read one old book for every three new books, or one old article for every four new articles. I thought that this is an interesting way into the problem of media saturation. After all, it is impossible to read everything that is published. Even if you're able to read everything in your given field of research, the interdisciplinary nature of academia is means that you must discern which books to leave on the shelf. The danger, of course, is that books that are dated land at the bottom of the priority list.
A friend of mine just picked up Robert Alter's The Art of Biblical Narrative. This book was first published in 1981 (the same year that Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes to win his first World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, in case you forgot). This book is a must read for anyone who cares about the Bible. But unless it has been assigned to you in a class, you probably wouldn't know how important it is. Or consider the exciting new work on Jesus' parables being done by Amy-Jill Levine and Ruben Zimmermann (et al.). I would highly recommend the books produced by these fine scholars. But not if I thought that it meant that the masterful work of Klyne Snodgrass was in danger of being grandfathered. This book was published as recently as 2008 but fathers become grandfathers at an alarming rate these days. Given the ever-present danger of forgetting the scholarship of just a few years ago, one wonders whether the work of Joachim Jeremias will continue to be read. I think that the "Allison Rule for Reading" might help in this regard.
So I put it to you: what are some good books or articles in biblical studies that are "old" but should be prioritized on the reading lists of young scholars?