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    The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel (Paperback) By (author) Thomas L. Thompson

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    DescriptionThe Jewish people's historical claims to a small area of land bordering the eastern Mediterranean are not only the foundation for the modern state of Israel, they are also at the very heart of Judeo-Christian belief. Yet in The Mythic Past, Thomas Thompson argues that such claims are grounded in literary myth, not history. Among the author's startling conclusions are these:* There never was a "united monarch" of Israel in biblical times* We can no longer talk about a time of the Patriarchs* The entire notion of "Israel" and its history is a literary fiction.The Mythic Past provides refreshing new ways to read the Old Testament as the great literature it was meant to be. At the same time, its controversial conclusions about Jewish history are sure to prove incendiary in a worldwide debate about one of the world's seminal texts, and one of its most bitterly contested regions.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Mythic Past

    Title
    The Mythic Past
    Subtitle
    Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Thomas L. Thompson
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 432
    Width: 134 mm
    Height: 198 mm
    Thickness: 32 mm
    Weight: 540 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780465006496
    ISBN 10: 0465006493
    Classifications

    B&T Book Type: NF
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.1
    BIC E4L: HIS
    BIC subject category V2: HBLA
    Ingram Spring Arbor Market: Y
    BISAC V2.8: REL006210
    B&T General Subject: 690
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25440
    BIC subject category V2: HBJF1
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1FB
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    Ingram Theme: RELI/JUDAIC
    BISAC V2.8: REL072000
    BIC subject category V2: HDDH
    BISAC V2.8: REL040030
    Ingram Subject Code: RF
    B&T Merchandise Category: POD
    Libri: I-RF
    B&T Approval Code: A14770000
    Abridged Dewey: 296
    LC classification: BM
    ECPA Christian Book Category: BSTBIBARC
    DC21: 220.93
    B&T Approval Code: A17603000
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: 1FB
    DC22: 221.9
    Thema V1.0: NHC, NHG, NKD
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1FB, 1QBAL
    Edition statement
    Reprint
    Illustrations note
    black & white illustrations
    Publisher
    The Perseus Books Group
    Imprint name
    BASIC BOOKS
    Publication date
    01 May 2000
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    Thomas L. Thompson is one of the leading biblical archaeologists in the world. He was awarded a National Endowment fellowship, has taught at Lawrence and Marquette Universities in Wisconsin, and currently teaches at the University of Copenhagen, which has one of the most prestigious Biblical Studies programs in the world. His book, The Early History of the Israelite People, a famously controversial book at the time, is now a standard text in the field. He lives in Denmark.
    Review text
    Arguing that the Bible should be read as literature rather than history in the modern sense, biblical archaeologist Thompson (Biblical Studies/Univ. of Copenhagen) sweepingly reassesses the historical evidence for the existence of ancient Israel. Bitter scholarly controversies, fueled by religious belief, have raged for decades about the historical authenticity of such Bible stories as the Garden of Eden, the Flood, and the flight from Egypt. These debates are misconceived, argues Thompson: much of the Bible was never intended to be read literally, or even to be understood as history as modern readers conceive it. Instead, much of the Bible consists of tall stories and other types of literature that, in ancient Jewish society as in other ancient cultures, provided people with an understanding of a common past. Relying on archaeological rather than biblical evidence, the author sketches the ancient economy and society of the people of Palestine. Rather than the unified "kingdom of Israel" depicted in the Bible, he paints a picture of a turbulent tribal Palestine, buffeted by drought, waves of immigrants from the Aegean, and expansionist neighbors. Contrasting this evidence with biblical narratives, shot through as they are with elements of the miraculous and the fantastic, Thompson questions the historicity of such scriptural accounts as the stories of the kingships of Saul, David, and Solomon and the Babylonian exile. Thompson finds magnificent poetry in the Bible, brilliant epic narratives and folktales, and great philosophical and moral writing that raises important questions about the meaning of life and the name of God: "it is only as history that the Bible does not make sense." In rather heavyhanded fashion, Thompson makes a good general point: that many biblical narratives should not be read literally as history; but in his total reliance on archaeology, he may overstate his case somewhat for the ahistoricity of the Bible. (Kirkus Reviews)