Israel's Past in Present Research: Essays on Ancient Israelite Historiography

By Howard, David M., Jr. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 2000 | Go to article overview

Israel's Past in Present Research: Essays on Ancient Israelite Historiography


Howard, David M., Jr., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Long, V. Philips, ed. Israel's Past in Present Research: Essays on Ancient Israelite Historiography. Sources for Biblical and Theological Study 7. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1999, xx + 612 pp., $37.95.

Long, one of evangelicalism's premier historiographers, has organized a superb collection of essays on the study of Israel's history. In keeping with the SBTS series, the essays have all appeared previously; the contributions of this volume are (1) their collection in one place (and Longs expertise in selecting the essays is a contribution to the field on its own merits), and (2) Longs overview essays that introduce each of the book's five parts, along with his concluding essay in Part 6. Essays are included from critics very skeptical of any element of historicity in the Biblical narratives, as well as from scholars much more sympathetic to the Biblical text's accuracy.

Part 1, "Israel's Past in Present Research," has three essays, in two sections: (i) The Path to the Present: "The History of the Study of Israelite and Judaean History: From the Renaissance to the Present," by John H. Hayes (pp. 7-42); (ii) The Present Lack of Consensus: "The New Biblical Historiography," by Mark Zvi Brettler (pp. 43-- 50); "The Paradigm Is Changing: Hopes-and Fears," by Rolf Rendtorff (pp. 51-68).

Part 2, "The Historical Impulse among Israel's Neighbors," has three essays: "Biblical History in Its Near Eastern Setting: The Contextual Approach," by William W. Hallo (pp. 77-97); "Biblical and Prebiblical Historiography," by H. Gazelles (pp. 98-- 128); "Israelite and Aramean History in the Light of Inscriptions," by A. R. Millard (pp. 129-140).

Part 3, "Israel's History Writing: Its Multiplex Character," has nine essays, in three sections: (i) Antiquarian: "The `Historical Character' of the Old Testament in Recent Biblical Theology," by John J. Collins (pp. 150-169); "Joshua's Campaign of Canaan and Near Eastern Historiography," by John Van Seters (pp. 170-180); "What Do We Know about Ancient Israel?" by R. N. Whybray (pp. 181-187); "`Ancient Israel' and History: A Response to Norman Whybray," by Philip R. Davies (pp. 188-191); "Truth and Reality in the Historical Understanding of the Old Testament," by Gerhard Maier (pp. 192-206); (ii) Aspectual: "History as Confession of Faith-History as Object of Scholarly Research: On One of the Basic Problems of the History of Israel," by J. Alberto Soggin (pp. 207-219); "The Old Testament's Understanding of History in Relation to That of the Enlightenment, by Claus Westermann (pp.

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