Inhabiting the Promised Land: Exploring the Complex Relationship between Archaeology and Ancient Israel as Depicted in the Bible [Paperback]

Margreet L. Steiner (Author)

ISBN: 9781789253306 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 192p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w

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Inhabiting the Promised Land


For many people it is clear: the actions and beliefs of Ancient Israel are described in the Bible. The stories about its peoples and kings, struggles and wars, deities and shrines, are supposed to have been told and retold throughout the ages and recorded in ancient archives. At a certain moment in time these stories have been assembled in the Bible which becomes history. However, from the 19th century at least, scholars have doubted the historical reliability of many biblical stories, and archaeological research has hardly been able to confirm their historicity.

The aim of this book is to describe the often-complicated relationship between archaeology and the Bible. It is not a book on `biblical archaeology’, and archaeology is not used to illustrate the biblical stories, let alone to prove that the Bible is right. On the contrary, it focuses on the information that archaeology can provide of the lives and beliefs of the ancient peoples that inhabited the land in which the Bible was written, and on the question of how this information relates to the biblical stories. It aims at providing some examples of how this interplay of archaeology and biblical stories works, and how to interpret the discrepancy that may exist between the results of archaeological research and the biblical narrative. It thus offers an introduction into the field from the standpoint of an archaeologist.

The book is intended for the general public, and will also be of interest to biblical scholars, historians and teachers, as well as archaeologists in other fields. It differs from the average non-scholarly book on this subject in that it is more personal, more eclectic, more archaeological. Reviews of the Dutch edition praise the passionate style and the way it focuses on the scientific process of researching problems, instead of on finding answers and presenting the solution.

Table of Contents

List of figures
1. In search of … archaeology and the Bible
2. In search of … Abraham and his descendants
3. In search of … Saul and the days of the Judges
4. In search of … Goliath, the Philistine
5. In search of … David and Solomon
6. In search of … Jezebel and the House of Omri
7. In search of … Mesha of Moab
8. In search of … Jehoiachin and the Exile
9. In search of … the prophet Balaam
10. In search of … the goddess Asherah
11. In search of … the temple of Jerusalem
Further reading

Reviews & Quotes

"A good acquisition for archaeology collections."
Shmuel Ben-Gad
Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews (24/02/2020)

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