This is a biblical history of Israel that takes the biblical text seriously while also taking into consideration non-biblical sources and remaining attentive to what disciplines like anthropology and sociology suggest about the past. Part one sets the volume in context, reviewing the history of the history of Israel and current arguments against writing a history of Israel in which the Bible plays a central role; Part two is the history itself.
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Customer Reviews for A Biblical History of Israel
Review 1 for A Biblical History of Israel
Date:January 13, 2005
I have enjoyed having this volume to go over again in my mind the whole course of the debate about archaeology and the Bible and how the two can interact. Used together with Kitchen's book on the background of the OT, this can be a very helpful book for students and pastors studying to keep up with advances in knowledge. I could imagine using this book, in sections, with classes of seminarians or undergraduates to help guide discussions and show them how scholars reason. This would be very useful for making them independent readers of academic works after graduation.
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Review 2 for A Biblical History of Israel
Date:March 5, 2004
The most valuable part of this book is the first four chapters on methodology. This is a graduate-level book that deals with specific issues (literary and archaeological) related to using the Bible as a source for Israels history. The first section on methodology deals heavy blows to the contingent of modern scholars who dismiss the Old Testament as a reliable source of historical information. It even tackles more moderate scholarship which feels free to pick and choose which individual elements are of historical worth. Provan wrote most of the chapters (notably the first three) and his style is well-reasoned, clear and quotable. Long wrote three of the chapters including an excellent (and up-to-date) treatment of the conquest and judges period. Longman wrote two chapters. I highly recommend this book as a follow-up to Eugene Merrills Kingdom of Priests. Whereas Merrill focuses on the historical storyline (carefully considering chronology and correlating Israels history to that of her contemporaries), Provan et al spend their time on the literary nature of the text and the results of archaeology. (Note: this is not an archaeology text.) The methodology section comprises about 100 pages of the book, the history section about 200 pages, and the remaining 120 pages or so are devoted to endnotes (an unnecessary inconveniencewhy not footnotes?), a Scripture index, a scholars cited index, and a topical index. The book is set in about size 9 font and has decent margins for those of us who like to jot down comments in the text.