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From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legendsby Avigdor Shinan
Synopses & Reviews
In this innovative guidebook Julie Baretz takes readers to twenty-one off-the-beaten-path locations in Israel where Bible stories are said to have happened. At each site she sets the scene by relating the historical context of the event, then follows with the biblical text itself and her own lively commentary. Captivating and complex Bible characters bring the locations to life as they face social, ethical, and spiritual dilemmas not unlike our own today. Baretzand#8217;s narratives draw on history, archaeology, academic scholarship, and rabbinic literature for interpretations that enhance the meaning of the biblical events. Each story is told in the voice of Baretz as the tour guideand#8212;knowledgeable yet informal and friendly.
The Bible on Location traces the chronology and narrative arc of the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The book begins with the Israelitesand#8217; arrival in the land of Israel (following the exodus from Egypt and the forty years of wandering) and continues over more than six hundred years, until the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon to their homeland.
Baretzand#8217;s descriptions are accompanied by colorful maps and photographs that put actual and armchair visitors in the middle of the action. Each location reveals a new episode in the biblical narrative and provides inspiration and commentary that will enhance visits to the various sites.
The ancient Israelitesand#160;believed things that the writers of the Bible wanted them to forget: myths and legends from a pre-biblical world that the new monotheist order needed to bury, hide, or reinterpret.
Ancient Israel was rich in such literary traditions before the Bible reached the final form that we have today. These traditions were not lost but continued, passed down through the ages. Many managed to reach us in post-biblical sources: rabbinic literature, Jewish Hellenistic writings, the writings of the Dead Sea sect, the Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and other ancient translations of the Bible, and even outside the ancient Jewish world in Christian and Islamic texts. The Bible itself sometimes alludes to these traditions, often in surprising contexts.
Written in clear and accessible language, this volume presents thirty such traditions. It voyages behind the veil of the written Bible to reconstruct what was told and retold among the ancient Israelites, even if it is and#8220;not what the Bible tells us.and#8221;
About the Author
Avigdor Shinan is the Yitzhak Becker Professor of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous books in Hebrew on rabbinic literature, Jewish liturgy, and the Aramaic translations of the Bible.
Yair Zakovitch is the Emeritus Father Takeji Otsuki Professor of Bible Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a professor of Jewish Peoplehood at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya. He is the author of numerous books in Hebrew on biblical literature and ancient interpretation of the Bible.
Valerie Zakovitch is a translator and editor of works in Jewish studies and the humanities.
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