Early History of the Israelite People: From the Written and Archaeological Sources

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BRILL, 1992 - History - 489 pages
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Through a review of historical scholarship of the past century, and an analysis of data drawn from archaeological excavations and surveys and from written and historical records from the late second and early first millennium, the author reconstructs the historical basis of Israel's origins within the contexts of geography, anthropology, and sociology. Thompson argues that none of the traditional models for the origin of biblical Israel in terms of conquest, peaceful settlement, or revolution are viable. The indigenous nature of the Israelite people has roots that lead back to the late Neolithic period. The Iron I period is not the period in which the origins of Israel are to be sought. Rather the geographical and regional expansion of settlements in this period reflects an economic response to drought conditions that affected the entire East Mediterranean basin. The ninth and eighth century states of Samaria and Jerusalem had separate and independent origins rooted in the development of a Mediterranean economy and an expansion of trade brought about by Assyrian interests. The development of the ethnic concept of biblical Israel with its roots in the United Monarchy finds its context in history first at the time of the Persian renaissance guided by the theological concepts of 'exile' and 'restoration.' Finally, Thompson argues that biblical Israel is historically the creation of the tradition itself in the Persian period and attempts to outline both a historical context and an interpretative matrix for the Bible.

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A thoroughly interesting and accomplished study of ancient Palestine / Israel / Judea based firmly on the principle of taking only archaeological findings and contemporary texts and inscriptions prior ... Read full review


HistoricalCritical Research and Extrabiblical Sources
Social Anthropology and the History of Palestine
HI Historicity and the Deconstruction of Biblical Historio
New Departures towards in Independent History of Israel
Semites of Greater Palestine
Mediterranean Economy
The Late BronzeIron Age Transition
Israel and Ethnicity in Palestine
of Population Transportation
The Formation of Ethnicity
An Independent History of Israel

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About the author (1992)

Thomas L. Thompson, is Associate Professor of Old Testament, Marquette University in Milwaukee, and author of "The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives" (1974). More recent publications are "The Origin Tradition of Ancient Israel" (1987), and "Toponymie Palestinienne" (1988).