Synopses & Reviews
In this groundbreaking work that sets apart fact and legend, authors Finkelstein and Silberman use significant archeological discoveries to provide historical information about biblical Israel and its neighbors.
In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts.
Challenging the fundamentalist readings of the scriptures and marshaling the latest archaeological evidence to support its new vision of ancient Israel, The Bible Unearthed offers a fascinating and controversial perspective on when and why the Bible was written and why it possesses such great spiritual and emotional power today.
John Shelby Spong author of Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality A bold and provocative book, well researched, well written, and powerfully argued. It challenges many of the assumptions developed by the literal religious minds of the ages, opening traditional possibilities to new conclusions.
Jonathan Kirsch Los Angeles Times A brutally honest assessment of what archaeology can and cannot tell us about the historical accuracy of the Bible...presented with both authority and panache.
Baruch Halpern author of The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History The boldest and most exhilarating synthesis of Bible and archaeology in fifty years. This powerful, provocative polemic remaps the history of Israel and explains when, why, and how kings descended from David rewrote that history to serve their political and ideological ends. It is the first archaeological overture to the birth of biblical history.
David Noel Freedman editor of the Anchor Bible series Readable and Revolutionary. Finkelstein and Silberman have staked out an advanced position in some of the most controversial areas of biblical and archaeological research in our day. Boldly and provocatively, the authors challenge much of the received wisdom and confident assumptions of many in this discipline, and check off the hot-button points in sequence: the Patriarchs (forget it, or them); Moses and the Exodus (no evidence); the whole period of the Judges; the Monarchy, united or otherwise. In short, there is little to be said about Israel or Judah until the ninth century bce. In the end, a reconstruction and reconstitution of these ancient kingdoms is sharply etched and dramatically delineated once the debris of centuries (both ancient and modern) has been cleared. For those who like to be wakened in the morning with a spray of cold water, this book is highly recommended.
Baruch Halpern author of The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History The boldest and most exhilarating synthesis of the Bible and archaeology in fifty years.
Challenging the fundamentalist readings of the Scriptures and marshaling the latest archaeological evidence to support its new vision of ancient Israel, "The Bible Unearthed" offers a fascinating and controversial perspective on when and why the Bible was written and why it possesses such great spiritual and emotional power today.
About the Author
Israel Finkelstein is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is a leading figure in the archaeology of the Levant and the laureate of the 2005 Dan David Prize in the Past Dimension -- Archaeology. Finkelstein served for many years as the Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and is the co-Director of the Megiddo Expedition. He is the co-author, with Neil Silberman, of The Bible Unearthed (Free Press, 2001) and the author of many field reports and scholarly articles.Neil Asher Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium. He is a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine and the author of The Hidden Scrolls: Christianity, Judaism, and the War for the Dead Sea Scrolls; The Message and the Kingdom; and Digging for God and Country, among other books.
Table of Contents
Prologue: In the Days of King Josiah
Introduction: Archaeology and the BiblePART ONE
The Bible as History?
- Searching for the Patriarchs
- Did the Exodus Happen?
- The Conquest of Canaan
- Who Were the Israelites?
- Memories of a Golden Age?
The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel
- One State, One Nation, One People? (C. 930-720 BCE)
- Israel's Forgotten First Kingdom (884-842 BCE)
- In the Shadow of Empire (842-720 BCE)
Judah and the Making of Biblical History
- The Transformation of Judah (C. 930-705 BCE)
- Between War and Survival (705-639 BCE)
- A Great Reformation (639-586 BCE)
- Exile and Return (586-C. 440 BCE)
Epilogue: The Future of Biblical Israel
Appendix A: Theories of the Historicity
of the Patriarchal Age
Appendix B: Searching for Sinai
Appendix C: Alternative Theories of the Israelite Conquest
Appendix D: Why the Traditional Archaeology of the
Davidic and Solomonic Period Is Wrong
Appendix E: Identifying the Era of Manasseh
in the Archaeological Record
Appendix F: How Vast Was the Kingdom of Josiah?
Appendix G: The Boundaries of the Province of Yehud