People of the Sea: Search for the PhilistinesHardback
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- Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD
- Format: Hardback | 256 pages
- Dimensions: 193mm x 236mm x 28mm | 386g
- Publication date: 1 September 1992
- Publication City/Country: Hemel Hempstead
- ISBN 10: 0025322613
- ISBN 13: 9780025322615
- Illustrations note: Ill.(some col.).18M.
The Philistines are among the most maligned peoples of ancient history. The Bible characterized them as cunning pagan warmongers, the ancient Egyptians as pirates and marauders. In today's language, a "philistine" is an uncouth, uncultured person.Thanks to the work of Trude Dothan and Moshe Dothan, three thousand years of bad press are at last giving way to a wholly different picture of the Philistines. Through their excavations and other studies, these two eminent archaeologists have unearthed startling answers to some of the great mysteries of biblical history, revealing the Philistines as a highly civilized people. They were advanced artisans and craftsmen, sophisticated architects and ecologically minded town planners.One of the Aegean Sea Peoples who settled on the southern coast of Canaan at the end of the twelfth century B.C., the Philistines entered history as the main adversaries of the Israelites, stigmatized by the wicked Delilah and the arrogant Goliath. While the nature of their written language is still a mystery, the nature of their civilization is not. The remains of monumental buildings, a flourishing olive-oil industry, cast bronze, iron, and ivory artifacts, weaving looms, wine presses, and a wide range of artistically distinctive pottery urge us to make a historical reassessment.In People of the Sea, the world's preeminent authorities on Philistine history and culture provide the first popular account of their ground-breaking work. Handsomely illustrated with line drawings, photographs, and maps, the book interweaves a fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Philistines with the first-person experiences of archaeologists at work. The result is a work that not only dramatically changes our understanding of an important and legendary era but also serves to illuminate an ancient civilization long lost to history.
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Time has not been kind to the Philistines. Thanks to sketchy references in the Bible, they're remembered, if at all, as a warlike race of uncouth barbarians notable mainly for producing such villains as Delilah and Goliath. As the archaeologist authors of the fascinating work at hand make clear, however, folkioric perceptions of the Philistines fall well short of gospel truth. Having spent over 30 years investigating one of biblical history's greatest mysteries - the identity of the invaders whose protracted conflict with Israelites made their very name synonymous with brutishness - the Dothans are able to provide a partial portrait of these so-called "People of the Sea." While much remains to be learned of their language and origins, the Philistines were almost certainly part of an exodus from the Aegean Basin during the political/population upheavals that marked the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age. Defeated in battle by Egypt's Ramses III early in the 12th century B.C., the Philistines were settled along the southern coast of Canaan, claiming as their homeland an area extending from Gaza to modern Tel Aviv. On the evidence of the material unearthed at excavation sites throughout the region, the authors conclude that Philistines brought with them an advanced culture that was strikingly enriched by contacts with city-states in every corner of the ancient Mediterranean world. The Dothans have played prominent roles in recent discoveries about the Philistines, and, accordingly, they are remarkably well qualified to combine low-key accounts of their own contributions with those of other scholars (past as well as present) to shed considerable light on a classically lost civilization whose realities have proved greatly at odds with its latter-day image. Authoritative, accessible, absorbing. (Kirkus Reviews)