Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?
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Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  9 reviews
74 maps and illustrations Addresses one of the most timely and urgent topics in archaeology and biblical studies - the origins of early Israel. Explores the continuing controversies regarding the true nature of ancient Israel and presents the archaeological evidence for assessing the accuracy of the well-known Bible stories.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published May 24th 2006 by William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (first published 2003)
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Eric Wurm
William Dever seeks to analyze archaeology of the "Holy Land" from an objective basis. More than other authors on the topic, he seems to succeed in doing so. His analysis of the evidence suggests that the Biblical narrative was written by people who believed what they were writing but embellished certain aspects. However, just because people believed what they were writing doesn't make it true. The Judeo-Christian narrative is encompassed by documents that contain some truths, some probable fabr...more
Ilya
A number of books on the Hebrew Bible have been published in the 1990s and the 2000s that claim that the early history of the Israelites is a fabrication; The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman is one, but others are much more extreme in their claims. The claims were eagerly picked up by assorted anti-Zionists and Palestinian nationalists; some of the latter claim that Bronze Age Canaanites are their direct ancestors; in 1996 some West Bank Palestinians reenacted a ceremony of worshipi...more
Dave Diaspora
A very well-balanced and thought-provoking book on the origins of the Israelites. It raises a lot of serious questions to the general way I, and many others, have read the certain parts of the OT, while still being balanced. Dever uses the archaeological data as a primary source to see where it and the Old Testament literature "converge" in order to determine Israelite origins.
Matt
The title doesn't leave much room for doubt when it comes to the content of the book. An archaeological survey of what we know about the early Israelites and proposes an interpretation for the data that is highly compelling. Dever also does a good job in providing an overview of competing interpretations and why he disagrees with them. I found this book as it was highly referenced by Karen Armstrong in the Great Transformation (which I loved) and so I was already predisposed to Dever's interpret...more
Sidney Davis
This takes a rather academic scholarly historical-critical approach to the of the Biblical narrative upon which the current historiography of the State of Israel is based. One will have to come face to face with the facts and with the fiction in the naked presentation and examination of the empirical evidences and the facts on the ground. One will have to decide whether the truth is better than the fiction.
Matt
The "science" behind determining where the Bible and the "Jews" really came from is only emerging within the last 20 years or so. The results have ramifications that, if understood, would drastically alter the world-view of billions of people. The findings of this body of knowledge are too challenging and too hard to understand, however, and I think it will take a generation or two or three for people to catch up.
Keith
Aug 06, 2011 Keith added it
Mainly an updated take on archaeological finding and interpretations concerning the origins of Israel. If you're looking for something which confirms the full biblical narrative of the exodus, this wouldn't be the book for you. A good read, though i think the final verdict is still out and we are looking at an incomplete picture.
Marjorie
Well-written, thoughtful, and respectful study of the origins of the Tanach and the Jewish people. It will NOT be appreciated by fundamentalists and very Orthodox Jews. I found Dever's arguments persuasive.
Wyatt Houtz
Helpful criticism of miller and hayes. Still deficient. Good discussion of archeology.
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