In the past three decades, archaeologists have made great strides in recovering the lost world of the Old Testament. Dozens of digs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon have changed experts' understanding of ancient Israel and its neighbours- as well as their vision of the Bible's greatest tales. Yet until now, the public has remained almost entirely unaware of these discoveries which help separate legend from historical truth. Here, at last, two of archaeology's leading scholars shed new light on how the Bible came into existence. They assert, for example, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never existed, that David and Solomon were not great kings but obscure chieftains and that the Exodus never happened. They offer instead a new historical truth: the Bible was created by the people of the small, southern nation of Judah in a heroic last-ditch attempt to keep their faith alive after the demise of the larger, wealthier nation of Israel to the north. It is in this truth, not in the myths of the past, that the real value of the Bible is evident.
Israel Finkelstein is one of the world's foremost biblical archaeologists, the Chairman of the Department of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and the Director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology. Neil Asher Silberman, a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine, is Director of Interpretation for the Ename Centre of Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium. 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.
Contents Prologue: In the Days of King Josiah Introduction: Archaeology and the Bible PART 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? PART TWO 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) PART THREE 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 Bibliography Index