Understanding Ancient Israel (Free PDF)

A book recently published by Oxford is currently available for free download in pdf format. 

Understanding the History of Ancient Israel is edited by H. G. M. Williamson and sells for $99, but you can download the individual chapters in restricted pdf format without charge.

As you can see from the list of chapters below, there is quite a mix of archaeologists and biblical scholars.  It is an interesting reality that archaeologists typically are more conservative than biblical/historical scholars.  On the more conservative side are Mazar, Younger, and Lemaire.  Those sometimes identified with the “minimalist” perspective include Whitelam and Davies.  All will be thought-provoking, no doubt.

As far as I can tell, there are a couple of downsides to the offer.  1) You have to download each chapter separately, and each one requires about five clicks.  (It worked a little faster for me in IE than Firefox.)  2) The pdf files are all locked so that you can’t combine them into a single file (or otherwise copy any of the text; commenting and printing is allowed).  I’m guessing that the publisher is offering this as a service to the larger public who wouldn’t purchase this book.  Some will discover through this that the book is worth purchasing.  It seems like a win-win situation to me, and I am appreciative to the publisher for doing this.

  • H. G. M. Williamson: Preface; List of Abbreviations
  • J. W. Rogerson: Setting the Scene: A Brief Outline of Histories of Israel
  • Keith W. Whitelam: Setting the Scene: A Response to John Rogerson
  • Hans M. Barstad: The History of Ancient Israel: What Directions Should We Take?
  • Philip R. Davies: Biblical Israel in the Ninth Century?
  • Lester L. Grabbe: Some Recent Issues in the Study of the History of Israel
  • T. P. Wiseman: Classical History: A Sketch, with Three Artefacts
  • Chase F. Robinson: Early Islamic History: Parallels and Problems
  • Amélie Kuhrt: Ancient Near Eastern History: The Case of Cyrus the Great of Persia
  • David Ussishkin: Archaeology of the Biblical Period: On Some Questions of Methodology and Chronology of the Iron Age
  • Amihai Mazar: The Spade and the Text: The Interaction between Archaeology and Israelite History Relating to the Tenth–Ninth Centuries BCE
  • Christoph Uehlinger: Neither Eyewitnesses, Nor Windows to the Past, but Valuable Testimony in its own Right: Remarks on Iconography, Source Criticism and Ancient Data-processing
  • M. J. Geller: Akkadian Sources of the Ninth Century
  • K. Lawson Younger, Jr: Neo-Assyrian and Israelite History in the Ninth Century: The Role of Shalmaneser III
  • André Lemaire: West Semitic Inscriptions and Ninth-Century BCE Ancient Israel
  • Marc Zvi Brettler: Method in the Application of Biblical Source Material to Historical Writing (with Particular Reference to the Ninth Century BCE)
  • Graeme Auld: Reading Kings on the Divided Monarchy: What Sort of Narrative?
  • Rainer Albertz: Social History of Ancient Israel
  • Bernard S. Jackson: Law in the Ninth Century: Jehoshaphat’s ‘Judicial Reform’
  • Nadav Na’aman: The Northern Kingdom in the Late Tenth–Ninth Centuries BCE

Oxford has more on the book here.  The short description reads:

In popular presentation, some treat the Bible as a reliable source for the history of Israel, while others suggest that archaeology has shown that it cannot be trusted at all. This volume debates the issue of how such widely divergent views have arisen and will become an essential source of reference for the future.

HT: Tell es-Safi/Gath Weblog


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