David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition
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David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The exciting field of biblical archaeology has revolutionized our understanding of the Bible -- and no one has done more to popularise this vast store of knowledge than Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, who revealed what we now know about when and why the Bible was first written in The Bible Unearthed. Now, with David and Solomon, they do nothing less than help us to...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Free Press (first published January 31st 2006)
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Lee Harmon
A Finkelstein book will be controversial; let’s establish that up front. And because there exists very literal archaeological evidence outside the Bible story of Judah’s first kings, speculation will be a natural result of any such study. We know absolutely nothing from history about Saul and precious little about David and Solomon; in fact, the evidence is so sparse that a few scholars still doubt the existence of all three.

Finkelstein and Silberman don’t doubt, but neither are they able to pro...more
The Books of Samuel and Kings in the Bible give a list of kings (and one queen) of the Davidic dynasty, and the length of reign of each; the penultimate Judean king Jeconiah's release from the Babylonian captivity is also mentioned in Babylonian archives, which we can date, which makes it possible to date all the reigns, if we take the Biblical regnal lengths at face value. If we do this, then David and Solomon reigned in the 10th century BCE. It is entirely possible that a chieftain named David...more
Avraham Anouchi
Finkelstein and Silberrman undertook a controversial task in writing this book. Fact and fiction have plagued biblical scholars for decades if not centuries. The battle between Biblical maximalists and minimalists continues. If judged but its written style, the book deserves a 5-star rating, but considering its rejection of Biblical descriptions of the titled kings, I elected to go with 4-stars.

A case in point is the famous Sheshonuq-I relief from the temple of Amun at Karnak in upper Egypt. Ev...more
The authors (both archaeologists, Bible scholars and, incidentally, religious Jews) explain the context in which the Old Testament's Deuteronomistic History came to be compiled.

The Deuteronomistic History is understood as comprising the Old Testament 'historical' books of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. It started off as 10th century BCE collections of already-ancient myths, folklore and ballads; these oral legends were probably first compiled around the late 8th century BCE by...more
The authors have put together research from a variety of disciplines to explore the Biblical stories of David and Solomon. They clearly present their findings.

While I was aware that the stories were spread over a number of books, I was not aware that the presentation changed. I presume that the story I learned in Sunday School was the one in Chronicles.

Like the Biblical record of Jesus, the records of David and Solomon were written at minimum 100 years after the events. I had never thought to qu...more
Once again, the duo of Israel Finklestein and Neil Asher Silverman upset the applecart of Biblical assumptions, this time looking at who King David really was. What is great about this team is that they stick to facts and make it clear when they are speculating. They also are not afraid to contradict the Bible or to expose its contents as pure mythology when they can prove it. But they also point out where the Bible is accurate as well, so the reader gain confidence in their impartial judgement....more
I enjoyed this book when I read it. It offers a very good analysis of David, his early life which the author speculates looked more like a warlord or brigand than a devoted servant of Saul. I also liked the general thesis that much of the court life drama of Davids life was drawn from the court legends of the northern Kingdom rather than the early days of Judah and Jerusalem. The second half of the book on Solomon is more scattered and less well documented or written, though I think that was als...more
Bob Breckwoldt
A well written, easy to follow account of David and Solomon and what according to Finkelstein we know of them. By which he means little, but not nothing (he is no minimalist). What we know is very different from the account in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. All being of a later date and including much that archaeologically relates to over a 100 years later (advocated by the dating that comes from the argument for low chronology) and therefore reflects life not when David and Solomon were around b...more
I read this book contemporaneous with my studies of Samuel and Kings. I found it eye opening. While scholars may disagree with some of Finkestein's and Silberman's conclusions, I believe the overall setting and flavor of the times within the aforementioned biblical books is better understood after reading David & Solomon. God's role in the wars and development of Judaism during this time has always carried (for me) a thread of disingenuity. Adding a modern archaeological perspective to the B...more
A detailed consideration of what archeology, biblical texts and scholarship, and historical records tell us about these two figures, why they were represented in the bible as they are, whether they are historical figures (the authors say yes, but not as seen in the bible), and why they have been so influential in Western and Abrahamic history. For me, the authors' "The Bible Unearthed" is the more fascinating read, as it covers the whole Hebrew Bible; the stories of David and Solomon have never...more
Alecia Hansen
Superbly written. Controversial to say the least. If, however, the reader can break away from Hebrew tradition enough to examine the text with an open mind they will be in for an examination of how the Davidic times can be placed within a historicity view. I truly enjoyed the read. Warning though if you examine ancient Israel with a largely biblically based structure this book may be controversial.
Matthew Sutton
a more focused version of modern biblical archaeology findings concerning David and Solomon. thought-provoking and well argued.
Mar 05, 2011 Sharkcrow marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-reading
Have read bits and pieces, will go back and read the whole thing when I have time - fascinating reading.
Dec 15, 2012 MsCrowshaw marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-reading
Have read bits and pieces, will go back and read the whole thing when I have time - fascinating reading.
Eh. I've read better. And the Bible -- which is nothing like literature -- is a better read.
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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 Si...more
More about Israel Finkelstein...
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel: Invited Lectures Delivered at the Sixth Biennial Colloquium of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, Detroit, October 2005 The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel: The Forgotten Kingdom The Archaeology Of The Israelite Settlement التوراة اليهودية مكشوفة على حقيقتها

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