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The Oxford History of the Biblical World Hardcover – 4 Mar 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; First Printing edition (4 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195087070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195087079
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 4.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 906,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This is a significant contribution to the field, and will be very helpful to students of biblical studies, and for others who seek an up-to-date and comprehensive "history of the biblical world". (Joseph Sobb, Journal of Religious History Feb 2001)

About the Author

Michael David Coogan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
By the time the nation of Israel emerged as a political entity in the late thirteenth century BCE, Near Eastern urban civilization had already grown ancient-more than two millennia old. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 27 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Archaeology, for much of the past few centuries, has set out to 'prove' the Bible. More recently the pendulum has swung the other way, in which some scholars have attempted to 'disprove' the Bible. Much archaeology and historical research is still biased, but fortunately it has become scholarly practice to at least admit one's biases as a prelude to making assertions and posing theories. Also, a greater objectivity in many regards has been infused into historical research, so that those texts that seem to be predominantly slanted in one direction or the other tend to be given less credibility (particularly as, for instance, if someone sets out 'to prove' the Bible, what they are usually doing is attempting to do is to prove their interpretation or specific reading of the Bible, rather than the Bible itself).
All of this is preamble to my review of this latest work. Volumes can be (and have been) written in discussion of the effect of biased research on scholarship. This is discussed in the preface. `Within the last decade, some scholars have adopted what has come to be called a minimalist approach to ancient Israel. In its most extreme form, this approach discounts the Bible as a credible witness because of the ideological bias of its historical narratives and because they were written centuries after the times they purport to describe.'
Michael Coogan, editor of this volume, disapproves of the dominance of extreme minimalism, and strives with his contributors to take account carefully and critically the Biblical accounts along with all other data.
This is a well-researched book. The contributors include Wayne Pitard, Carol Redmount, Lawrence Stager, Jo Ann Hackett, Carol Meyers, Edward Campbell, Jr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike Sadler on 2 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As suggested by the title of this review, I am not a historian. I have, however, read and enjoyed a large number of history books from around this period, such as The Histories (Penguin Classics), The History of the Peloponnesian War (Classics), Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization etc. (all recommended, by the way).

The first thing to say is that this is not a single 'book', but a series of overlapping treatises, or papers. As such, they differ in style and accessibility from section to section.

Many of the earlier and later chapters are clear and rely on little foreknowledge, but some of the middle chapters make continuous references to the old testament, and seem to expect either an encyclopedic knowledge of the work, or to have it open beside you. This may be fine for a dedicated scholar, but for an 'informed layman' it is a bit of an ask. These sections start to read like a commentary, rather than a self-standing work.

The balance between narrative and technical details also varies. Although an insight into the archaeological details can be very interesting, some authors provide more details than can easily be followed by a layman, and this can interrupt the flow of the narrative.

The sections overlap and repeat each other. This can be quite helpful, as it reinforces the reader's memory.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Taekwon on 16 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably very good for an amateur historian rather than general interest ; it needs studied rather than read
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Inga-lena Thurin on 10 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dear SIrs: I got an invitation on my email today addressed to my mother Inga-Lena Thurin about a book that I paid for myself and bought myself in my own name John Nahaliel. It is an excellent book and I bought it becasue I had borrowed it from the library in Göteborg nearly 10 years ago bought to reread it. Why do you send a review request to my mother. She has not read it? Sincerely, John Nahaliel
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 30 reviews
85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
Get the hardcover edition, not the paperback 7 Nov. 2003
By Voldomer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This truly is an excellent resource, as discussed by other reviewers. Unfortunately, though, the paperback version is not just a reprint of the hardback in floppy covers. Instead, many of the visual features that contribute so much to the appeal of the hardback edition have been removed. Admittedly several remain, including a section of color plates in the middle of the book, but one who is familiar with the hardback likely will be disappointed by the paperback.
106 of 109 people found the following review helpful
The perfect textbook of Biblical history 14 Jan. 2000
By Andrew K. Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If I ever had to teach a course in Biblical history, this would be the required text. I would also assign Coogan's excellent "The Oxford Companion to the Bible" (B. Metzger & M. Coogan, eds.; Oxford UP: 1993) as supplemental reading. While "The Oxford Companion" is a one volume encyclopedia of general historical and theological Biblical topics, the "Oxford History" affords the most detailed and systematic (and illustrated) treatment of Biblical history and archaeology of the two. The two works complement each other very well.
"The Oxford History of the Biblical World" is a single volume work of outstanding scholarship and clarity. Thirteen chapters comprise the text (the prologue and epilogue are just as informative as the substantive chapters), each written by prominent experts in ancient Near-Eastern history. There is a consistent unity throughout the chapters despite their disparate authorships. Each chapter is thoroughly steeped in the history, geography, economics, culture and religion of the period. Lavish attention is given to the most current archaeological and etymological findings. There are also copious references to and excerpts of the most important secular texts of the period.
This solid foundation of scholarship gives the work a first-class objectivity. Both traditional and modern conclusions are explored in depth. While certain facts may give rise to multiple conclusions, the authors invariably make plain all available evidence for the reader.
The volume is richly illustrated. Most pictures are in black and white, but with excellent resolution. The 26 beautiful color plates are in the middle of the book. Among the illustrations are diagrams and photos of current archaeological excavations, excellent maps of varying themes and useful tables and charts. Font size is 11 point and 1.5 spaced.
The editors and contributors make Biblical history extremely accessible to the lay reader. This volume, however, does not have footnotes. It does have a select bibliography at the end of each chapter. The text flow is smooth and easy to follow.
No Bible historian should be without it!
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
A world apart, yet part of us 16 July 2003
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Archaeology, for much of the past few centuries, has set out to 'prove' the Bible. More recently the pendulum has swung the other way, in which some scholars have attempted to 'disprove' the Bible. Much archaeology and historical research is still biased, but fortunately it has become scholarly practice to at least admit one's biases as a prelude to making assertions and posing theories. Also, a greater objectivity in many regards has been infused into historical research, so that those texts that seem to be predominantly slanted in one direction or the other tend to be given less credibility (particularly as, for instance, if someone sets out 'to prove' the Bible, what they are usually doing is attempting to do is to prove their interpretation or specific reading of the Bible, rather than the Bible itself).
All of this is preamble to my review of this latest work. Volumes can be (and have been) written in discussion of the effect of biased research on scholarship. This is discussed in the preface. `Within the last decade, some scholars have adopted what has come to be called a minimalist approach to ancient Israel. In its most extreme form, this approach discounts the Bible as a credible witness because of the ideological bias of its historical narratives and because they were written centuries after the times they purport to describe.'
Michael Coogan, editor of this volume, disapproves of the dominance of extreme minimalism, and strives with his contributors to take account carefully and critically the Biblical accounts along with all other data.
This is a well-researched book. The contributors include Wayne Pitard, Carol Redmount, Lawrence Stager, Jo Ann Hackett, Carol Meyers, Edward Campbell, Jr., Mordechai Cogan, Mary Joan Winn Leith, Leonard Greenspoon, Amy-Jill Levine, Daniel Schowalter, and Barbara Geller. As Coogan says in his introduction,
Coogan's analysis begins with the pre-history of the Syro-Palestinian region (something often neglected in such studies); from there, it expands to include Egypt and the fertile crescent. The historic timeline includes the pre-history, Bronze Age, Egyptian influences, the eras of Judges and early monarchy, the divided kingdoms, the conquest and exile, the Persian period, the Hellenistic period, the time of the Roman occupation, and finally the emergence of Christianity and the differing trajectories of Christianity and Judaism in the Roman Empire.
By academic standards, this text is generous with photographs, drawings, and maps (but it is by no means the high-gloss, coffee-table sort of book).
This is an important recent contribution to the important task of providing context for the Bible and the development of the three great Middle Eastern religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. `The Bible is one of the foundational texts of our culture of of the three major monotheistic traditions... It is a complex document--a set of anthologies, in fact. Thus, to fully understand the Bible requires a knowledge of the contexts in which it was produced, the many cultures of the ancient Near East and the ancient Mediterranean--the biblical world.'
The scope is vast and wide-ranging, covering thousands of years and a wide geographical area, incorporating several different cultures and languages. Each chapter in this volume can be read as a stand-alone article, but each is best served in relation to the others. Each also contains a selected bibliography for further reading and research. In addition to covering more traditional topics of historical and archaeological interest, articles address social concerns, the role of women, urban/rural tensions, and incorporate many of the latest discoveries.
Worthy of the Oxford Press.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Up-to-Date and Tremendously Informative 2 Sept. 2000
By Dr. John Switzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a textbook on introductory biblical studies or as a personal resource, this volume is a winner. With its maps, diagrams, photographs and insightful writing, this volume is indispensable for those who want to understand where biblical-historical research is going these days. The Bible did not develop in a vacuum, and this fine volume will offer the necessary insights for understanding those forces and situations that shaped the Jewish and Christian scriptures. The chronological appendix is especially helpful as it divides the cited historical developments into multiple regions. More than a dozen experts combined their insights to produce this volume and it is perfectly suited as an introductory or mid-level college text.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A Phenomenal Resource 31 Aug. 2001
By E. L. Weinhold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a student of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, this book has become one of my most used reference. Each chapter is written by archaeologists and biblical historians that are renowned for their work. It covers the Biblical lands from their early beginnings, into the Bronze and Iron Ages, and ends with the Roman Period. The most attention is paid to the Hebrew Bible sections, specifically Bronze and Iron Age. I found the references to Philistines, and ancient Israelite women particularly helpful in my research.
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