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The Rise of Ancient Israel: Symposium at the Smithsonian Institution October 26, 1991 [Paperback]

Hershel Shanks , William G. Dever , Baruch Halpern , P. Kyle McCarter

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to Mid-East archaeology 24 Aug 2003
By Inna Tysoe - Published on
I read the magazine "Biblical Archaeology" frequently and therefore thought I knew a bit about Middle Eastern archaeology--until I read this book.
It is packed with facts and debates by the most prominent archaelogists in the field. The amazing thing (to me, an historian by training) is that there is fundamental agreement on the facts. All agree, for example that the Merneptah Stele (a tablet dated at 1212 BCE) exists, that it is Egyptian in origin, and that the Egyptian pharaoh (then the most powerful man in the world) considered the conquest of the land and people Israel the most important feat of his reign. The tablet says as much. But why was defeating Israel so important? A lively debate rages.
Likewise all agree that a people called Hyksos came into Egypt and eventually became its rulers starting about 1800 BCE. Yet Hyksos is a Greek term and there is precious little consensus about who these people were. (Aside from the fact that they were Canaanites of some sort.)
All agree that there are stones bearing characters that can be read if one is fluent in Hebrew in what was called Raddana once (but is today called Ramallah) but a debate rages about whether these are signs of a "widespread" Israeli literacy or of a "privileged" class. All agree that Israeli pottery, houses, and artifacts are different from the general Canaanite ones and that ancient Israelites were very active traders because their artifacts have been found all over the Middle East and beyond. Yet there is an interesting debate about just what was it that made the Israelites different from Egyptians and other Canaanites.
There too is a very active debate about whether Egyptian style houses made their way to ancient Israel or the other way around. And that's just scratching the surface.
In short, if you want to know a bit about ancient Israel and Middle East and about the archaelogical debates about both, this is the perfect book to start you on an endlessly exciting road!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview 26 July 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was great because it presents the various opinions and current arguments of how ancient Israel became Israelites. The various theories were briefly presented.
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is worth reading multiple times 1 Sep 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased the Kindle version after reading this book at my church library because the information is worth reading multiple times. There are not many history books on ancient Israel that I have liked, but this one is solid and in to the point. There is a lot of comparison with the canonical versions in Judges and Joshua and various interpretations of archaeological data to date. Don't pass this up if you are studying Israel for lay or professional ministry even if it is not assigned reading.
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to Biblical archeology 22 Jun 2014
By DAVID J. KARLEN - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent review of Biblical archeology and the history and development of Israel. The authors separate what we have learned from the archeological record vs the biblical narrative. I found this book to be very illuminating and I highly recommend it to any one interested in ancient religions and cultures.
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvelous work 25 Feb 2014
By Nicholas Finke - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a record of a symposium about what the archaeology of Bronze and Iron Age Palestine can or cannot tell us about the origins of the nation of Israel. There is a fairly wide range of opinion expressed. The great merit of this book is that the scholarly opinions presented are supported by enough data, but not too much. For all that it contains a very academic conversation, it is still quite readable for a non specialist reader such as myself. I strongly recommend it.
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