This volume provides a series of contributions on the crucial aspects relating to the Bible and the Late Bronze Age period. The volume is introduced with a background essay surveying the main areas of history and current scholarship relating to Late Bronze Age Palestine and to the Egyptian New Kingdom (Dynasties 18-20) domination of the region, as well as the question of the biblical account of the same geographical area and historical period.
Specific chapters address a range of key concerns: the history of Egypt’s dealing with Canaan is surveyed in chapters by Grabbe and Dijkstra. The Amarna texts are also dealt with by Lemche, Mayes and Grabbe. The archaeology is surveyed by van der Steen. The Merenptah Stela mentioning Israel is of considerable interest and is discussed especially by Dijkstra. This leads on to the burning question of the origins of Israel which several of the contributors address. Another issue is whether the first Israelite communities practised egalitarianism, an issue taken up by Guillaume, with a response by Kletter.
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Grabbe’s treatment of the LBA [Late Bronze Age] in Canaan, always a provocative topic to address for biblical historians, Egyptologists and archaeologists, provides a worthy contribution to the ongoing discussion of this fascinating, but complex historical period.
Lester L. Grabbe is professor emeritus of Hebrew Bible and early Judaism at the University of Hull. He is founder and convenor of the European Seminar in Historical Methodology. A recent book is Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know it?