Article

Introduction: General Problems of Studying the Text of the Bible in order to Reconstruct History and Social Background

Keith W. Whitelam

in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199237777
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199237777.003.0014

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Introduction: General Problems of Studying the Text of the Bible in order to Reconstruct History and Social Background

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Many scholars share the view that the Hebrew Bible offers the best, or the only, avenue through which to access Israel's past. Yet our standard histories of ancient Israel are a curious mixture of part prolegomena, part commentary on the biblical text, and part historical reconstruction. They are not narrative histories – synthetic treatments describing, analysing, and explaining the historical process. This article discusses the problems in reconstructing Israelite history, focusing on debates over how to evaluate the biblical traditions as historical sources, the lack of evidence and the falsification principle, and the impact of archaeological investigations.

Keywords: ancient Israel; biblical history; biblical scholarship; Hebrew Bible; Israelite history

Article.  6113 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Christianity

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