This volume brings together essays by leading scholars from North America, Europe, and Israel who have drawn on literary analysis of the biblical text as well as archaeology, anthropology, and sociology to make significant contributions to our understanding of the history and religion of ancient Israel.
An introduction by the editors summarizes issues that have emerged over the past generation, including competing positions as to the reliability of the biblical accounts and the relevance of archaeological evidence; it also places the essays that are reproduced in the following pages into this larger context. The first section of essays then offers several that present different views as to the methodology for reconstructing the history of ancient Israel. Subsequent sections examine issues pertaining to what the Bible depicts as the patriarchal period, the exodus from Egypt and occupation of the Promised Land, the united monarchy and its subsequent division, and the Babylonian exile and return. The final section includes essays that explore Israelite religion, focussing on fundamental beliefs and practices as well as relationships to the religions of neighboring cultures.