Cover image for Critical Issues in Early Israelite History Edited by Richard S. Hess, Gerald Klingbeil, and Paul Ray Jr

Critical Issues in Early Israelite History

Edited by Richard S. Hess, Gerald Klingbeil, and Paul Ray Jr

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ISBN: 978-1-57506-804-6

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Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement

Critical Issues in Early Israelite History

Edited by Richard S. Hess, Gerald Klingbeil, and Paul Ray Jr

The origin of the Israelites is one of the most frequently discussed issues among archaeologists and biblical scholars. Only a few decades ago, biblical stories such as the Conquest were heralded as confirmed by archaeology. But in the 1970s, Thomas L. Thompson and John Van Seters were in the vanguard of a movement among scholars that was intent on reassessing the historical reliability of the biblical narratives. This reassessment gained momentum during the 1980s and 1990s; today, the mainstream opinion is that there was no Conquest, and the Israelites, if they can be identified as a national entity or as a people, did not arrive in Canaan by means of a military conquest.

 

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The origin of the Israelites is one of the most frequently discussed issues among archaeologists and biblical scholars. Only a few decades ago, biblical stories such as the Conquest were heralded as confirmed by archaeology. But in the 1970s, Thomas L. Thompson and John Van Seters were in the vanguard of a movement among scholars that was intent on reassessing the historical reliability of the biblical narratives. This reassessment gained momentum during the 1980s and 1990s; today, the mainstream opinion is that there was no Conquest, and the Israelites, if they can be identified as a national entity or as a people, did not arrive in Canaan by means of a military conquest.

For three days in March 2004, a group of scholars met to consider the state of the question and to provide a response to the predominant academic skepticism, a response that considers the biblical text to be an important datum in the construction of the history of the people of Israel. To do so, the authors of the papers read at the conference take into account both biblical and extrabiblical literary evidence, as well as the contributions of archaeology, to describe as completely as possible what may be known about the early history of Israel. Critical Issues in Early Israelite History publishes the papers read at this conference in the hope that the result will be a balanced portrayal of this watershed event based on all of the currently available evidence.

Textual Studies

The Rhetorical Structuring of the Joshua Conquest Narratives K. Lawson Younger Jr.

The Jericho and Ai of the Book of Joshua Richard S. Hess

Merenptah’s Reference to Israel: Critical Issues for the Origin of Israel Michael G. Hasel

The Persian Period and the Origins of Israel: Beyond the “Myths’ Efraín Velázquez II

Archaeological Studies, Broader Context

Classical Models for the Appearance of Israel in Palestine Paul J. Ray Jr.

The Appearance of Israel in Canaan in Recent Scholarship Patrick Mazani

“Between North and South”: The Archaeology of Religion in Late Bronze Age Palestine and the Period of the Settlement Gerald A. Klingbeil

The Context of Early Israel Viewed through the Archaeology of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria Mark W. Chavalas

Archaeological Studies, Regional Contexts

The Survey of Manasseh and the Origin of the Central Hill Country Settlers Ralph K. Hawkins

Israelite Settlement at the Margins of the Northern Hill Country: Connections to Joshua and Judges from Tell Dothan Daniel M. Master

Rewriting Philistine History: Recent Trends in Philistine Archaeology and Biblical Studies Steven M. Ortiz

The Search for Joshua’s Ai Bryant G. Wood

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