What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, May 10, 2001 - History - 313 pages
For centuries the Hebrew Bible has been the fountainhead of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Today, however, the entire biblical tradition, including its historical veracity, is being challenged. Leading this assault is a group of scholars described as the "minimalist" or "revisionist" school of biblical studies, which charges that the Hebrew Bible is largely pious fiction, that its writers and editors invented "ancient Israel" as a piece of late Jewish propaganda in the Hellenistic era.

In this fascinating book noted Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever attacks the minimalist position head-on, showing how modern archaeology brilliantly illuminates both life in ancient Palestine and the sacred scriptures as we have them today. Assembling a wealth of archaeological evidence, Dever builds the clearest, most complete picture yet of the real Israel that existed during the Iron Age of ancient Palestine (1200 600 B.C.).

Dever's exceptional reconstruction of this key period points up the minimalists' abuse of archaeology and reveals the weakness of their revisionist histories. Dever shows that ancient Israel, far from being an "invention," is a reality to be discovered. Equally important, his recovery of a reliable core history of ancient Israel provides a firm foundation from which to appreciate the aesthetic value and lofty moral aspirations of the Hebrew Bible.

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User Review  - MissWoodhouse1816 - LibraryThing

In his book What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel, Dever presents in an extremely lucid manner what will turn ... Read full review

What did the biblical writers know, and when did they know it?: what archaeology can tell us about the reality of ancient Israel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Dever (archaeology and anthropology, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson) rigorously challenges revisionists who deny any historical basis for an "ancient Israel" as portrayed in the Old Testament. This ... Read full review


The Bible as History Literature and Theology
The Current School of Revisionists and Their Nonhistories of Ancient Israel
What Archaeology Is and What It Can Contribute to Biblical Studies
Getting at the History behind the History What Convergences between Texts and Artifacts Tell Us about Israelite Origins and the Rise of the State
Daily Life in Israel in the Time of the Divided Monarchy
What Is Left of the History of Ancient Israel and Why Should It Matter to Anyone Anymore?

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About the author (2001)

William G. Dever 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.

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