The History of Ancient Israel: A Guide for the Perplexed provides the student with the perfect guide to why and how the history of this most contested region has been studies, and why it continues to be studied today. Philip R. Davies, one of the leading scholars of Ancient Israel in recent years, begins by examining the relevance of the study of Ancient Israel, giving an overview of the sources and issues facing historians in approaching the material.
Davies then continues by looking at the various theories and hypotheses that scholars have advanced throughout the 20th century, showing how different approaches are presented and in some cases how they are both underpinned and undermined by a range of ideological perspectives. Davies also explains the rise and fall of Biblical Archaeology, the ‘maximalist/minimalist' debate. After this helpful survey of past methodologies Davies introduces readers to the current trends in biblical scholarship in the present day, covering areas such as cultural memory, the impact of literary and social scientific theory, and the notion of ‘invented history’. Finally, Davies considers the big question: how the various sources of knowledge can be combined to write a modern history that combines and accounts for all the data available, in a meaningful way. This new guide will be a must for students of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by a world-class set of research and study tools. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Philip Davies deftly cuts through the current debates among researchers of ancient Israel and Judah. He evaluates the varieties of ancient historiographical literature in and outside the Bible, peels back the many layers of meaning that the deceptively simple label of “Israel” conceals within it, and surveys contemporary research methods for building a comprehensive portrait of the people behind that label. This book is a must read for anyone who hopes to understand both the narratives of the Bible and the ancient realities that these narratives sometimes reveal and sometimes shield from their readers.
—K. L. Noll, Brandon University, Canada
A splendid guide to studying the history of ancient Israel. Davies seeks a balance between describing the great works of the past, the present state of the question, and prospects for the future. He rightly spends some time on explaining, “What is history?”-that is, how does the modern historian approach the writing of history? He also clarifies the essential question of why we cannot write the history of ancient Israel simply by telling the Bible story with perhaps a few inscriptions and a little archaeology thrown in. The importance of integrating the social sciences, as well as archaeology, into the modern writing of history is given an appropriate emphasis. The final section on “constructing” a history is illustrated by discussing the strengths and weaknesses of several recent approaches. This make an excellent textbook for any class on the history of Israel, not to mention serving as a guide and introduction for anyone interested in the subject.
—Lester L. Grabbe, University of Hull, UK
A lucid account of the history of the nation of Israel … readable, informative … I am pleased to have this book on my shelf and no doubt I will refer to it again and again.
Philip R. Davies is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK.