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What Did the Biblical Writers Know & When Did they Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel
William G. Dever

0802847943 Retail Price: $25.00
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Format: Hardcover, 313pp.
ISBN: 0802847943
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co
Pub. Date: May 2001

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From The Publisher:

For centuries the Hebrew Bible has been the fountainhead of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Today, however, the entire biblical tradition, including its historical veracity, is being challenged. Leading this assault is a group of scholars described as the "minimalist" or "revisionist" school of biblical studies, which charges that the Hebrew Bible is largely pious fiction, that its writers and editors invented "ancient Israel" as a piece of late Jewish propaganda in the Hellenistic era.

In this fascinating book noted Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever attacks the minimalist position head-on, showing how modern archaeology brilliantly illuminates both life in ancient Palestine and the sacred scriptures as we have them today. Assembling a wealth of archaeological evidence, Dever builds the clearest, most complete yet of the real Israel that existed during the Iron Age of ancient Palestine (1200-600 B.C.).

ever's exceptional reconstruction of this key period points up the minimalists' abuse of archaeology and reveals the weakness of their revisionist histories. Dever shows that ancient Israel, far from being an "invention," is a reality to be discovered. Equally important, his recovery of a reliable core history of ancient Israel provides a firm foundation from which to appreciate the aesthetic value and lofty moral aspirations of the Hebrew Bible.


William Dever, a master of the world of Syro-Palestinian archaeology and history, has written a masterpiece.
—Lawrence E. Stager

Dever is one of the very best archaeologists of the Near East, and everything he writes needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness.... Required reading.
—David Noel Freedman

A helpful introduction to the world of Syro-Palestinian archeology and its possible interaction with biblical studies.
—Publishers Weekly


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About the Author

Professor of Near Eastern archaeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is a well-known figure on the archaeological scene in the Near East, having spent 30 seasons there excavating, and is a former Director of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. He is the author of many books, including four volumes on the excavations at Gezer (1970-1984).

Table of Contents

1The Bible as History, Literature, and Theology1
2The Current School of Revisionists and Their Nonhistories of Ancient Israel23
3What Archaeology Is and What It Can Contribute to Biblical Studies53
4Getting at the "History behind the History": What Convergences between Texts and Artifacts Tell Us about Israelite Origins and the Rise of the State97
5Daily Life in Israel in the Time of the Divided Monarchy159
6What Is Left of the History of Ancient Israel, and Why Should It Matter to Anyone Anymore?245

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