This book is a solid exposition of the relationship between the ancient near eastern world and ancient Israel. Contrary to popular conceptions that biblical literature was a response to the post-exilic condition, Kitchen demonstrates that in the light of the explosion of knowledge on the ancient near east it has become impossible to maintain critical and minimalist positions on the history and development of Israel and its religion. If one does decide to hold such a view, Kitchen explains that doing so makes Israel the only ancient nation incapable of transmitting its history and having elaborate religious rituals, which we now know were common characteristics of ancient civilizations from even before the time of Moses. Kitchen further explains that the modern minimalist views were born out of 19th century German critical theory, at a time when such knowledge of the ancient world simply did not exist. As a result, such scholars had to perform their research in a “historical vacuum,” and thus reconstructed the history of ancient Israel which has turned out, in the light of later research, to totally contradict the “”rest of the entire ancient near east.” The momentum of this 19th century research, Kitchen explains, has carried on into the 20th (and 21st) centuries, coloring the views of many modern archaeologists and Old Testament scholars. This book is very important in the light of recent literature on the subject.
“bc), recounting the triumph and creative work of Marduk god of Babylon, and the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 17th century bc and later), whose hero Gilgamesh was told of the flood by its sole survivor.” (Page 26)
“If written documents from the site or elsewhere make it possible to tie in destructions and ‘rebuilds’ with known history, then the archaeological and literary histories supplement each other.” (Page 11)
“During the later 19th century, rationalistic Old Testament scholarship in Germany decided that the Old Testament accounts of Hebrew history did not fit ‘history’ as it ‘should’ have happened, according to their preconceived ideas. Therefore, its leading representatives rearranged the Old Testament writings (including imaginary divisions of these) until Old Testament history, religion and literature had been suitably manipulated to fit in with their philosophical preconceptions. Far and away the most accomplished advocate of this ultimately arbitrary method was Julius Wellhausen, brilliantly exemplified in his Prolegomena to the History of Israel, first published in 1878 (in English, 1885), and in his article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica then.” (Pages 56–57)
“Sadducees who accepted the ancient written Law, but not all the orally-transmitted interpretations and” (Page 128)
“Essenes who maintained their own separate communities and” (Page 128)
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