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  1. The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel (Archaeology and biblical studies Book 17)
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  2. The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel (Archaeology and biblical studies Book 17)

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Three decades of dialogue, discussion, and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, ancient Israelite history, and Hebrew Bible over the question of the relevance of the biblical account for reconstructing early Israel’s history have created the need for a balanced articulation of the issues and their prospective resolutions. This book brings together for the first time and under one cover, a currently emerging “centrist” paradigm as articulated by two leading figures in the fields of early Israelite archaeology and history. Although Finkelstein and Mazar advocate distinct views of early Israel’s history, they nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data, the biblical traditions, and the ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for Iron Age Israel. The results of their research are featured in accessible, parallel syntheses of the historical reconstruction of early Israel that facilitate comparison and contrast of their respective interpretations. The historical essays presented here are based on invited lectures delivered in October of 2005 at the Sixth Biennial Colloquium of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism in Detroit, Michigan.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

In this collection, two prominent Israeli archaeologists share their credo and philosophy as well as their views on the history of early Israel. They are not far apart. Both make it clear that they differ from revisionists or minimalists like Philip Davies and Thomas Thompson and also from the biblical school founded by William Albright. Finkelstein calls his position the center between those extremes.

The view from the center is that the Deuteronomistic History, Torah, and many prophets were compiled and edited in the late monarchy, not in the post-exilic or Hellenistic periods as revisionists claim. This view also maintains that there is historical value in the biblical historical accounts. Finklestein makes it clear that he cannot go along with revisionists who maintain that much of the Hebrew Bible was invented out of thin air. He says: "It is unthinkable that the biblical authors invented stories only in order to serve their aims. Had they done that they would... Read more
Good quest
It is very useful for academic purposes. However, Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Amihai Mazar evocate the moderated-critical approach to the ancient texts of the Hebrew Bible. The dialogue between both approaches (even within a moderated-critical perspective) establishes reflexion in order to provoke analysis. The "Quest for the Historical Israel" maintains a very balanced view on archaeological evidence and data. It reflects the tension between Bible and Archaeology of the Bible Lands and its history.

In general, and according to this book, ancient Israelites were a mixture of canaanites with other races that developed its culture and religion in Canaan two millennia B.C.E. (approximately).

In regard to the Pentateuchal narratives, it proposes a telescopic view on ancient history. The more ancient the narratives are, the folktales got more distorted through oral transmission. However, they preserved vague memories of the ancient past. The book... Read more
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