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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original and best history of Israel (... probably)
John Bright achieved a staggering and wonderful feat in putting this history of Israel together.

`The history of Israel is the history of a people which came into being... as a league of tribes united in covenant with Yahweh... [but]... we... begin our story with the migration of Israel's ancestors some centuries earlier...' (from Bright's Forward)...
Published on 3 Aug 2006 by Chris Of The OT

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars an old edition of a good book
This is an excellent book, but i did not realise when I bought it - (perhaps that was why it was cheap!) that there are about 4 editions since this one.
Therefore I feel that I cannot use it for serious study in case it is out of date
Published 18 months ago by Jean Wyatt


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original and best history of Israel (... probably), 3 Aug 2006
By 
Chris Of The OT (South West of England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: History of Israel (Westminster AIDS to the Study of the Scriptures) (Paperback)
John Bright achieved a staggering and wonderful feat in putting this history of Israel together.

`The history of Israel is the history of a people which came into being... as a league of tribes united in covenant with Yahweh... [but]... we... begin our story with the migration of Israel's ancestors some centuries earlier...' (from Bright's Forward)

So we have:
Prologue: The Ancient Orient Before 2000 B.C. (to provide `perspective')
Part One: The Age of the Patriarchs
Part Two: The Exodus, Conquest of Canaan and Tribal League
Parts Three and Four: The Monarchy, Divided Kingdoms and the end of Israel and Judah
Part Five: Exile and Return
Part Six: The end of the Old Testament period to the Maccabean revolt and introduction to early Judaism

Bright's `History...' has rightly become a widely acclaimed classic. The scope and attention to detail are amazing with all the biblical, historical and archaeological elements explored thoroughly. Though Bright's approach may be considered a little old fashioned nowadays the whole still stands impressively amongst other histories. (For instance, Hayes and Miller's `A History of Ancient Israel and Judah', which is better laid out.)

But this fabulous work is presented in the most basic format: a main heading in title case, sub-headings in italics prefixed with a number, further sub-headings also in italics with a prefix letter. No variation in indentation, type face or line spacing makes this much harder work to read than it should be. The publishers have allowed four successive editions (and over forty years with sales exceeding 100 000 copies) to pass with no alteration to the presentation. I was especially miffed to find that the fourth edition offers no revision over the third AT ALL (except a short introduction and an even shorter appendix by W. P. Brown).

That said, this is still a wonderful title and I love both my copies. I heartily recommend it, while earnestly hoping that the publishers will update the presentation for the fifth edition (e.g. Lion Publishing)!

EDIT (2009):
I have recently read A History of Israel in Old Testament Times by Siegfried Herrmann. Though I decry the dreadful formatting of Bright's `History', it is still so satisfyingly readable. It was only the first or second theological book I ever read so nearly all the concepts and vocabulary were new to me, and sometimes difficult.

I have done a huge amount of OT related reading since then and continue to be amazed at how very good Bright's work is: the whole sense of journey which Bright takes the reader on now seems almost romantically or mystically wonderful. I remember thinking as I was reading it, "It's like he was there!"

I have the revised edition (1972) and a fourth edition (2001) and there is very little difference between them; even page numbers usually match precisely. The third edition (1981) is preferred, however, as it's cheap and exactly the same as the fourth (see above!). Now though, it's even better because the Logos Bible Software people have digitised it: a purchase I definitely intend to make in the future.

I first read John Bright's `History of Israel' around 2003 and the only reason I have not read it again is because I'm a dreadfully slow reader and there are so many books... But I will read it again - and am looking forward to it. :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good if dense to read, 15 Mar 2011
By 
The Earl Of Kimberley "Lord John" (Bucks, England) - See all my reviews
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If yiou need background on Israel in Old Testament times, this book gives you just that. Don't expect an easy read, but a good reference book with enough to use when studying.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In DEPTH..., 3 Nov 2000
A History of Israel is an in depth (and I mean DEPTH) journey back into time. Taking the reader back to the very edge of the mists of prehistory, John Bright then lays out, in a point by point fashion, the whole sweep of time in the near east up until the appearance of a certain Galilean who forever changed the world.
A History of Israel is very in depth, very packed with useful information. Bright has written a wonderful book. It did (as most history books are likely to) set off my anti-scholarship allergy a few times. However, it is very worthy of being read.
I give this book a very high recommendation. Bright's presentation is clear, at certain points even lively. It thoroughly deals with the developments in each time period. It delivers the reader to one heck of a destination-one of eternal significance-that beautiful moment in time where the Messiah asked a very pointed question that many are still in need of answering: "Who do you say that I am?"
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4.0 out of 5 stars sound material, 24 Dec 2013
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a good book, very comprehensive. Perhaps bitten off more than I can chew with this one as it's densely packed with lots of info and detail! I haven't read from beginning to end as its not the sort of book that lends itself to that type of reading, but certainly dipping in and out it seems sound.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just as expected, 27 Nov 2013
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We had high expectations for this book. I arrived on time and my husband was ever so delighted to get it. Quality was perfect!
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2.0 out of 5 stars an old edition of a good book, 4 Jan 2013
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This is an excellent book, but i did not realise when I bought it - (perhaps that was why it was cheap!) that there are about 4 editions since this one.
Therefore I feel that I cannot use it for serious study in case it is out of date
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've found so far on Old Testatment History., 27 Mar 2002
By A Customer
Deep scholarship and a real repect for the Bible combine to provide a very inspiring book.
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History of Israel (Westminster AIDS to the Study of the Scriptures)
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