Countless books have been written about ancient Israel. But this work is the first mainstream history of ancient Israel to be published in English in 40 years. It also differs from previous scholarship by attempting to prove an alternative, archaeological based history, or as the title has it, a “portrait.” I am a veteran of more than 50 years of fieldwork and research in the archaeology of Israel, with hundreds of publications. Even so, I believe that a portrait is the best that I, or anyone, can offer.
The distinguishing feature of this book is the employment of a rich array of archaeological data on ancient Israel and her neighbors as the primary evidence for illustrating the origins, the settlement horizon, and the monarchy, ca. 1300-586 BCE. In each chapter the biblical texts are brought into the picture only secondarily, and then only to compare and contrast their idealistic narratives with the “real-life” portrait that archaeology now provides.
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