Chapter

Method in the Application of Biblical Source Material to Historical Writing (with Particular Reference to the Ninth Century <span class="smallCaps">bce</span>)

MARC ZVI BRETTLER

in Understanding the History of Ancient Israel

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264010
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734946 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264010.003.0015

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Method in the Application of Biblical Source Material to Historical Writing (with Particular Reference to the Ninth Century bce)

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This essay discusses how biblical texts that may reflect events of the ninth pre-Christian century may be used to reconstruct select ‘real’ events of that century. Using several examples, it reflects on method, namely, the problems that these texts present to the modern historian of ancient Israel. The modern historian of ancient history should approach the texts dealing with the ninth century in the same way he or she would approach earlier or later periods. This essay considers two types of texts: those that explicitly mark themselves as primarily didactic, and those that are marked as symbolic. The texts from the first group are from the Psalms, while Jonah, Job, and Ruth comprise the second group. There may be other sources beyond Kings that need to be considered for reconstructing the history of the ninth century, including Chronicles and the Pentateuch. Different Mesopotamian sources mention kings of Israel and Judah, usually in the context of the offering of tribute.

Keywords: Psalms; Kings; ancient Israel; history; biblical texts; ninth century; Chronicles; Judah; Jonah; Pentateuch

Chapter.  13120 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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