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The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology And The Myth Of Israel

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The 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. In another book, the author delves into the ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 6th 2000 by Basic Books (first published 1999)
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Andrew
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting account of how much of the Bible is fabricated or doesn't reflect the historical and archeological record. Great mix of history, religion and science.
Stephie Williams
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
It seems that Thompson presents very good evidence for the nonexistence of Israel before late 8th century BCE based on archaeologoical studies and some textual as well. That means no historical patriarchs, Moses, David and Solomon, plus the united kingdom. So according to him the use of the Bible for historical research is wrong or misleading at best.

What seems interesting to me is that he in no way talks of god's nonexistence. He sees the Bible as mainly theological. The Bible is a set of
...more
Sidney Davis
We are looking for the origins of Israel as we know it from the Bible, yet we are unable to confirm any biblical narrative as historical until we first have a separate, independent history with which we might compare the Bible's account. This books confirms that to date, there is no separate, independent history with which we might compare the Bible's account.
Naomi Ruth
This book explores the idea of separating archaeology and history from the Bible and looking at the Bible only through a literary lens. I really liked that the author made a point to explain that the Old and New Testament are part of a consistent whole and had a whole section about how European our concept of the Bible has become because of Christianity and Medieval tradiations (especially because of Augustine). A lot of interesting things to think about, considering how very little we actually ...more
Michael Moats
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
well written and easy to read. the author does an excellant job supporting the central concept. basically debunks those who have attempted to use the bible as a history text. clearly demonstrates how archeology has proven beyond any doubt that the bible is actually a collection of non historical stories.

his thesis does not detract from the value of these stories but does place them in context and purpose.
Salodie Jean
can someone remind me on what page Thompson writes " The bible is a language of high literature, of story, of sermon and of song. It is a tool of philosophy and moral instruction" please
Marti Martinson
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Deep, dense, demanding, and difficult. The author has nothing against religion, but he demolishes (quite successfully) a literal reading of the Bible AND the "history" of Israel; he also destroys a liberal interpretation. He is like Alan Watts or Bishop John Shelby Spong on academic steroids. This book, along with Watts' Myth and Ritual in Christianity and Assmann's Egyptian Moses, reinforces the truth that God will not be contained be the covers of any book written by us.

Prepare to be
...more
Paul O'Brien
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
A brilliant exegesis of the subject matter. However, the book overstresses the role of literary fabrication in the ancient world and leaves little if no room for actual history. Thus even when the biblical account (which, I agree, is for the most part an ideological construction) is corroborated by extra-biblical documentation, the latter is rechanneled into a discussion on recurrent literary themes and is rejected. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of the volume is convincing.
Desira
Aug 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is educational, and in parts fascinating. However, it is a subject more near and dear to my spouses heart than my own and I struggled with long dull sections, which took too much time to drive a point home. But definitely offers a great perspective on biblical history.
Lauren
A controversial book written by one of the leading minimalists, Thomas Thompson.
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