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The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel: 5 (Ancient Near East Monographs) [Paperback]

Israel Finkelstein

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting history through archaeology 19 Dec 2013
By Petros Koutoupis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a long time fan of Finkelstein's work and appreciate his approaches to a better understanding of the history of Israel. Finkelstein focuses on the archaeology first and if it complements any Biblical texts, then that is even better. He does not approach the topic the other way around which sadly has been the method of choice since archaeology was first conceived. The only reason why archaeology became what it is today was to prove the Bible true (that is after the treasure hunting phase).

With that in mind, he provides the reader with clearer dates (mostly based on radio carbon methods and extra-biblical sources) on settlement layers of various northern locations. It becomes clear that the northern empire reached each peak as far north as Aram and into Aramean Damascus territory, as far south into Judah, and also as far southeast and into Moab during the Omride dynasty. This is when commerce and general trade took off making this dynasty the most influential of the time. Manufacturing wines, oils, to even training/exporting Egyptian (Nubian) horses.

Prior to the Omrides, we can see evidence of cult places established at Shiloh and Bethel until eventually centralized in Samaria. During the Omride dynasty, writing started to take off and eventually showed up generations later to the south (Judah). During this time of Israelite glory, Judah was not as populated. This didn’t occur until the Neo-Assyrians swept through and the Israelite refugees migrated south.

It was then that an identity for the children of Israel came to be. And while there is no reason to doubt a Davidic king since, archaeology has shown that the Judahite monarchs come from the House of David but a Unified Monarchy under the leadership of David & Solomon and ruled from Jerusalem would not have been likely. It was more likely that Omri and Ahab served as a model for this.

Finkelstein then focuses on the most likely stories from the Pentateuch that would have survived from Israel and into Judah to later be redacted and canonized into the books we have come to know today.

I did enjoy this book and for those that enjoy this kind of stuff, I highly recommend it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, straightforward read 2 Jan 2014
By E.L.B. - Published on Amazon.com
This is basically a low-chronology synthesis on the history of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Of course Finkelstein believes the United Monarchy of David and Solomon is a fiction of the Judean monarchy after the northern kingdom was dissolved by the Assyrians. The Israelites developed statehood not on the basis of a model provided by a political power centered first in Judah, but independently from and before the latter.

Much of what is here can be found in Finkelstein & Silberman 2001 and Finkelstein & Silberman 2006, but Finkelstein ignores Judah in this work and focuses on the history and achievements of the north, suppressed both in the Hebrew Bible and much of modern scholarship. The work is also documented.

Very important for this archeological synthesis are a variety of new radiocarbon dates, correlated with critical analysis of biblical and nonbiblical texts, especially the Amarna letters and the list of Sheshonq's subjugated cities in Palestine and Transjordan in the 10th century, which Finkelstein associates with Saulide activity (the biblical chronological data being unreliable).

The development of the Israelite state represents the fruition of a pattern of aggressive expansion by strongmen notably documented in the Amarna letters, and repeated throughout history after the decline of the hegemony of a major power in the region (e.g., Egypt). The Omrides were the first to achieve full statehood in the 9th century.

Finkelstein also explains the development of two biblical traditions: the Jacob patriarchal traditions and the exodus tradition. These are both stories of northern provenience. I was not convinced of his explanation of the exodus, however, which he connects (as a northern tradition prior to its Judahite appropriation) to the Sheshonq campaign and freedom from Egypt traditions from the lowlands. But he does show the problems with alternative attempts to pinpoint it in history. Still, in my view, the best theory remains that of D. B. Redford.

Time and future discoveries will tell whether Finkelstein's view will prevail. An excellent, straightforwardly argued book.
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a wealth of information in this book by ... 24 July 2014
By Doug Jantz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is a wealth of information in this book by Dr Finkelstein. He knows his stuff and this is an invaluable source
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