The Quest for the Historical Israel
Three decades of dialogue, discussion, and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, Israelite history, and Hebrew Bible on the question of the reliability of the biblical account of Israel’s history have made a balanced articulation of the issues and their resolution a desideratum. This book brings together for the first time under one cover the currently emerging “centrist” paradigms articulated by Finkelstein and Mazar, two leading figures in the field of early Israelite history and archaeology. Articulating distinct views of Israelite history, the two perspectives presented here nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data, the biblical traditions, and ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for ancient Israel of the Iron Age. The results of their research are featured in an accessible dual-authored synthesis of the historical reconstruction of ancient Israel. The parallel histories readily facilitate comparison and contrast of the interpretations proposed by the authors.
These lectures were delivered at The Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism’s Annual Colloquium. Detroit, October 2005.
SBL – Archaeology and Biblical Studies, 17
Amihai Mazar is Professor of Archaeology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Eleazar Sukenik Chair in the Archaeology of Israel). His ongoing projects include a series of publications in the Qedem series on the Tel Batash (Timnah) excavations and the Beth Shean Valley Archaeological Project. He is the author of Archaeology of the Land of the Bible (Anchor Bible Reference).
Brian B. Schmidt is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient West Asia at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Israel’s Beneficent Dead: Ancestor Cult and Necromancy in Ancient Israelite Religion and Tradition (Eisenbrauns).