Out of the Desert? Archaeology and the Exodus/Conquest Narratives

Out of the Desert? Archaeology and the Exodus/Conquest Narratives

Out of the Desert? Archaeology and the Exodus/Conquest Narratives

Out of the Desert? Archaeology and the Exodus/Conquest Narratives

Excerpt

There long has been a need for a book-length assessment of the relationship between archaeological evidence from Egypt and Palestine and the biblical stories of an Israelite exodus from Egypt and conquest of Canaan. Earlier works, such as those of J. W. Jack (1925) and H. H. Rowley (1950), have been outdated for many years. Many relevant new archaeological discoveries have been made throughout the Near East in the last two or three decades. In addition, studies by Donovan Courville (1971), John Bimson (1978), Ian Wilson (1985), Hans Goedicke (1987), and others have suggested historical and archaeological correlations for the Exodus and Conquest period that are very different from those that have been generally accepted in the past. Yet no work has discussed this new evidence and critically evaluated the revisionist theories against the more traditional views.

Moreover, despite the large number of works appearing on the Exodus and Conquest over the last few years, none has tried to understand these events as part of the larger social and cultural collapse that was taking place throughout the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Bronze Age. Hittitologists, specialists in the archaeology of Greece, Egyptologists, Assyriologists, and biblical archaeologists have largely ignored one another as they sought to explain the changes taking place in the areas of their own interests. But turmoil, crisis, population movements, and social conflict pervaded the eastern Mediterranean world. Surely, these events were related. It is clear that the Exodus and settlement of Palestine need to be seen in historical context as part of this wider upheaval. That is why I have written this book.

The subjects discussed below obviously are of interest to a number of people besides archaeologists and biblical scholars. Many students . . .

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