The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts

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Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2001-01-01
Publisher(s): Simon & Schuster
List Price: $26.00

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In the past three decades, archaeologists have made great strides in recovering the lost world of the Old Testament. Dozens of digs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon have changed experts' understanding of ancient Israel and its neighbors -- as well as their vision of the Bible's greatest tales. Yet until now, the public has remained almost entirely unaware of these discoveries which help separate legend from historical truth.

Here, at last, two of archaeology's leading scholars shed new light on how the Bible came into existence. They assert, for example, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never existed, that David and Solomon were not great kings but obscure chieftains, and that the Exodus never happened. They offer instead a new historical truth: the Bible was created by the people of the small, southern nation of Judah in a heroic last-ditch attempt to keep their faith alive after the demise of the larger, wealthier nation of Israel to the north. It is in this truth, not in the myths of the past, that the real value of the Bible is evident. The circumstanc

Author Biography

Israel Finkelstein is director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University Neil Asher Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium and is a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine

Table of Contents

Prologue: In the Days of King Josiah 1(3)
Introduction: Archaeology and the Bible 4(23)
PART ONE The Bible as History?
Searching for the Patriarchs
Did the Exodus Happen?
The Conquest of Canaan
Who Were the Israelites?
Memories of a Golden Age?
PART TWO The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel
One State, One Nation, One People? (c. 930--720 BCE)
Israel's Forgotten First Kingdom (884--842 BCE)
In the Shadow of Empire (842--720 BCE)
PART THREE Judah and the Making of Biblical History
The Transformation of Judah (c. 930--705 BCE)
Between War and Survival (705--639 BCE)
A Great Reformation (639--586 BCE)
Exile and Return (586--c. 440 BCE)
Epilogue: The Future of Biblical Israel 315(4)
Appendix A: Theories of the Historicity of the Patriarchal Age 319(7)
Appendix B: Searching for Sinai 326(3)
Appendix C: Alternative Theories of the Israelite Conquest 329(11)
Appendix D: Why the Traditional Archaeology of the Davidic and Solomonic Period Is Wrong 340(5)
Appendix E: Identifying the Era of Manasseh in the Archaeological Record 345(2)
Appendix F: How Vast Was the Kingdom of Josiah? 347(7)
Appendix G: The Boundaries of the Province of Yehud 354(2)
Bibliography 356(17)
Index 373

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