The Bible Unearthed
is a balanced, thoughtful, bold reconsideration of the historical period that produced the Hebrew Bible. The headline news in this book is easy to pick out: there is no evidence for the existence of Abraham, or any of the Patriarchs; ditto for Moses and the Exodus; and the same goes for the whole period of Judges and the united monarchy of David and Solomon. In fact, the authors argue that it is impossible to say much of anything about ancient Israel until the seventh century B.C., around the time of the reign of King Josiah. In that period, "the narrative of the Bible was uniquely suited to further the religious reform and territorial ambitions of Judah." Yet the authors deny that their arguments should be construed as compromising the Bible's power. Only in the 18th century--"when the Hebrew Bible began to be dissected and studied in isolation from its powerful function in community life"--did readers begin to view the Bible as a source of empirically verifiable history. For most of its life, the Bible has been what Finkelstein and Silberman reveal it once more to be: an eloquent expression of "the deeply rooted sense of shared origins, experiences, and destiny that every human community needs in order to survive," written in such a way as to encompass "the men, women, and children, the rich, the poor, and the destitute of an entire community." --Michael Joseph Gross
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Baruch Halpern author of The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History
The boldest and most exhilarating synthesis of the Bible and archaeology in fifty years.
John Shelby Spong author of Here I Stand: My Struggle for a Christianity of Integrity, Love, and Equality
A bold and provocative book, well researched, well written, and powerfully argued. It challenges many of the assumptions developed by the literal religious minds of the ages, opening traditional possibilities to new conclusions.
Jonathan Kirsch Los Angeles Times
A brutally honest assessment of what archaeology can and cannot tell us about the historical accuracy of the Bible...presented with both authority and panache.