Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?
Other Editions: HardcoverThis book addresses one of the most timely and urgent topics in archaeology and biblical studies -- the origins of early Israel. For centuries the Western tradition has traced its beginnings back to ancient Israel, but recently some...
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Other Editions: HardcoverThis book addresses one of the most timely and urgent topics in archaeology and biblical studies -- the origins of early Israel. For centuries the Western tradition has traced its beginnings back to ancient Israel, but recently some historians and archaeologists have questioned the reality of Israel as it is described in biblical literature. In "Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?" William Dever explores the continuing controversies regarding the true nature of ancient Israel and presents the archaeological evidence for assessing the accuracy of the well-known Bible stories.Confronting the range of current scholarly interpretations seriously and dispassionately, Dever rejects both the revisionists who characterize biblical literature as "pious propaganda" and the conservatives who are afraid to even question its factuality. Attempting to break through this impasse, Dever draws on thirty years of archaeological fieldwork in the Near East, amassing a wide range of hard evidence for his own compelling view of the development of Israelite history.In his search for the actual circumstances of Israel's emergence in Canaan, Dever reevaluates the Exodus-Conquest traditions in the books of Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, and 1 & 2 Samuel in the light of well-documented archaeological evidence from the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Among this important evidence are some 300 small agricultural villages recently discovered in the heartland of what would later become the biblical nation of Israel. According to Dever, the authentic ancestors of the "Israelite peoples" were most likely Canaanites -- together with some pastoral nomadsand small groups of Semitic slaves escaping from Egypt -- who, through the long cultural and socioeconomic struggles recounted in the book of Judges, managed to forge a new agrarian, communitarian, and monotheistic society.Written in an engaging, accessible style and featuring fifty photographs that help bring the archaeological record to life, this book provides an authoritative statement on the origins of ancient Israel and promises to reinvigorate discussion about the historicity of the biblical tradition.
A respected archaeologist's engaging, revealing take on ancient Israel For centuries the Western tradition has traced its origins back to ancient Israel. But recently some historians and archaeologists have questioned the historical truth of Israel as it is described in biblical literature. Are the biblical accounts of Israel's origins, the memorable stories of the Exodus and Conquest, "historical" at all in the modern sense? This fascinating book by leading authority William Dever examines the controversies and the archaeological evidence behind the well-known Bible stories. Writing for general readers but dealing with very real problems in biblical studies, Dever rejects both the revisionists who characterize biblical literature as "pious propaganda" and the conservatives who are afraid to even question its factuality. Through his exhaustive examination of the archaeological evidence, he instead seeks to approach the biblical text and the external data with no preconceptions, singling out where the two lines of evidence converge. A thorough yet readable examination of a much-debated subject -- of relevance also to the current Israeli-Palestinian situation -- this book is sure to reinvigorate discussion of the origins of ancient Israel.
William G. Dever (Ph.D., Harvard University) is professor emeritus of Near Eastern archaeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has served as director of the Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem, as director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and as a visiting professor at universities around the world. He has spent thirty years conducting archaeological excavations in the Near East, resulting in a large body of award-winning fieldwork.
Prof.Dever is the author of What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel,Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel and Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?
Koorong -Editorial Review.