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At the center of this book lies a fundamental yet unanswered question: under which historical and sociological conditions and in what manner the Hebrew Bible became an authoritative tradition, that is, holy scripture and the canon of Judaism as well as Christianity. Reinhard G. Kratz answers this very question by distinguishing between historical and biblical Israel. This foundational and, for the arrangement of the book, crucial distinction affirms that the Israel of biblical tradition, i.e. the sacred history (historia sacra) of the Hebrew Bible, cannot simply be equated with the history of Israel and Judah. Thus, Kratz provides a synthesis of both the Israelite and Judahite history and the genesis and development of biblical tradition in two separate chapters, though each area depends directly and inevitably upon the other. These two distinct perspectives on Israel are then confronted and correlated in a third chapter, which constitutes an area intimately connected with the former but generally overlooked apart from specialized inquiries: those places and "archives" that either yielded Jewish documents and manuscripts (Elephantine, Al-Yahudu, Qumran) or are associated conspicuously with the tradition of the Hebrew Bible (Mount Gerizim, Jerusalem, Alexandria). Here, the various epigraphic and literary evidence for the history of Israel and Judah comes to the fore. Such evidence sometimes represents Israel's history; at other times it reflects its traditions; at still others it reflects both simultaneously. The different sources point to different types of Judean or Jewish identity in Persian and Hellenistic times.
The Legacy of Israel in Judah's Bible undertakes a comprehensive re-evaluation of the Bible's primary narrative in Genesis through Kings as it relates to history. It divides the core textual traditions along political lines that reveal deeply contrasting assumptions, an approach that places biblical controversies in dialogue with anthropologically informed archaeology. Starting from close study of selected biblical texts, the work moves toward historical issues that may be illuminated by both this material and a larger range of textual evidence. The result is a synthesis that breaks away from conventional lines of debate in matters relating to ancient Israel and the Bible, setting an agenda for future engagement of these fields with wider study of antiquity.
There was probably only one past, but there are many different histories. As mental representations of narrow segments of the past, 'histories' reflect different cultural contexts and different historians, although 'history' is a scientific enterprise whenever it processes representative data using rational and controllable methods to work out hypotheses that can be falsified by empirical evidence. A History of Biblical Israel combines experience gained through decades of teaching biblical exegesis and courses on the history of ancient Israel, and of on-going involvement in biblical archaeology. 'Biblical Israel' is understood as a narrative produced primarily in the province of Yehud to forge the collective memory of the elite that operated the temple of Jerusalem under the auspices of the Achaemenid imperial apparatus. The notion of 'Biblical Israel' provides the necessary hindsight to narrate the fate of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah as the pre-history of 'Biblical Israel', since the archives of these kingdoms were only mined in the Persian era to produce the grand biblical narrative. The volume covers the history of 'Biblical Israel' through its fragmentation in the Hellenistic and Roman periods until 136 CE, when four Roman legions crushed the revolt of Simeon Bar-Kosiba.
A handbook for biblical scholars and historians of the Ancient Near East William G. Dever offers a welcome perspective on ancient Israel and Judah that prioritizes the archaeological remains to render history as it was—not as the biblical writers argue it should have been. Drawing from the most recent archaeological data as interpreted from a nontheological point of view and supplementing that data with biblical material only when it converges with the archaeological record, Dever analyzes all the evidence at hand to provide a new history of ancient Israel and Judah that is accessible to all interested readers. Features A new approach to the history of ancient Israel Extensive bibliography More than eighty maps and illustrations
A view of Persian and Hellenistic Judean communities through theological and socioeconomic lenses Johannes Unsok Ro employs philological, historical, and sociological approaches to investigate the close connections between socioeconomic structures, social inequality, and theological developments in the Judean communities in Persian- and Hellenistic-era Palestine. Ro contends that competing points of view from communities of lay returnees, priestly returnees, and communities of resident Judeans and Samaritans were juxtaposed within the Hebrew Bible, which took shape during the postexilic period. By exploring issues such as the relationship between the shaping of the canon and literacy in the Judean community, the term strangers in the biblical law codes, the socioeconomic structures of Judean communities reflected in the biblical law codes, the development of the theological concept of divine punitive justice, the piety of the poor in certain psalms, and the concept of poverty in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ro illustrates that the communities behind each text and its redactions can be ascertained through sociological and theological lenses. Features Demonstration that a theology of the poor materialized orally among the poor but found written expression among Levites Insight into the socioeconomic and theological concerns of the authorial groups behind various biblical law codes A case that biblical “poverty” sometimes refers to humility and a theologically reflected consciousness of lowliness toward God
This volume of essays draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze this religious diversity in Ancient Israel.
The Hebrew Bible portrays King Manasseh and child sacrifice as the most reprehensible person and the most objectionable practice within the story of 'Israel'. This monograph suggests that historically, neither were as deviant as the Hebrew Bible appears to insist. Through careful historical reconstruction, it is argued that Manasseh was one of Judah's most successful monarchs, and child sacrifice played a central role in ancient Judahite religious practice. The biblical writers, motivated by ideological concerns, have thus deliberately distorted the truth about Manasseh and child sacrifice.

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