The Bible Unearthed

The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

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In the past three decades, archaeologists have made great strides in recovering the lost world of the Old Testament. Dozens of digs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon have changed experts' understanding of ancient Israel and its neighbours- as well as their vision of the Bible's greatest tales. Yet until now, the public has remained almost entirely unaware of these discoveries which help separate legend from historical truth. Here, at last, two of archaeology's leading scholars shed new light on how the Bible came into existence. They assert, for example, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never existed, that David and Solomon were not great kings but obscure chieftains and that the Exodus never happened. They offer instead a new historical truth: the Bible was created by the people of the small, southern nation of Judah in a heroic last-ditch attempt to keep their faith alive after the demise of the larger, wealthier nation of Israel to the north. It is in this truth, not in the myths of the past, that the real value of the Bible is evident.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 140 x 214 x 25mm | 311g
  • The Free Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 16 b&w photograohs, maps, line drawings
  • 0684869136
  • 9780684869131
  • 71,832

Table of contents


Prologue: In the Days of King Josiah

Introduction: Archaeology and the Bible


The Bible as History?

Searching for the Patriarchs

Did the Exodus Happen?

The Conquest of Canaan

Who Were the Israelites?

Memories of a Golden Age?


The Rise and Fall of Ancient Israel

One State, One Nation, One People? (C. 930-720 BCE)

Israel's Forgotten First Kingdom (884-842 BCE)

In the Shadow of Empire (842-720 BCE)


Judah and the Making of Biblical History

The Transformation of Judah (C. 930-705 BCE)

Between War and Survival (705-639 BCE)

A Great Reformation (639-586 BCE)

Exile and Return (586-C. 440 BCE)

Epilogue: The Future of Biblical Israel

Appendix A: Theories of the Historicity

of the Patriarchal Age

Appendix B: Searching for Sinai

Appendix C: Alternative Theories of the Israelite Conquest

Appendix D: Why the Traditional Archaeology of the

Davidic and Solomonic Period Is Wrong

Appendix E: Identifying the Era of Manasseh

in the Archaeological Record

Appendix F: How Vast Was the Kingdom of Josiah?

Appendix G: The Boundaries of the Province of Yehud


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Review Text

Baruch Halpern author of The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History The boldest and most exhilarating synthesis of the Bible and archaeology in fifty years.
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Review quote

Baruch Halpern author of The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History The boldest and most exhilarating synthesis of the Bible and archaeology in fifty years. John Shelby Spong author of Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality A bold and provocative book, well researched, well written, and powerfully argued. It challenges many of the assumptions developed by the literal religious minds of the ages, opening traditional possibilities to new conclusions. Jonathan Kirsch Los Angeles Times A brutally honest assessment of what archaeology can and cannot tell us about the historical accuracy of the Bible...presented with both authority and panache.
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About Israel Finkelstein

Israel Finkelstein is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is a leading figure in the archaeology of the Levant and the laureate of the 2005 Dan David Prize in the Past Dimension -- Archaeology. Finkelstein served for many years as the Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and is the co-Director of the Megiddo Expedition. He is the co-author, with Neil Silberman, of The Bible Unearthed (Free Press, 2001) and the author of many field reports and scholarly articles.

Neil Asher Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium. He is a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine and the author of The Hidden Scrolls: Christianity, Judaism, and the War for the Dead Sea Scrolls; The Message and the Kingdom; and Digging for God and Country, among other books.
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Rating details

2,738 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,184)
4 34% (940)
3 16% (441)
2 4% (108)
1 2% (65)
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