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The Bible Unearthed

Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

In the past three decades, archaeologists have made great strides in recovering the lost world of the Old Testament. Dozens of digs in Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon have changed experts' understanding of ancient Israel and its neighbours- as well as their vision of the Bible's greatest tales. Yet until now, the public has remained almost entirely unaware of these discoveries which help separate legend from historical truth. Here, at last, two of archaeology's leading scholars shed new light on how the Bible came into existence. They assert, for example, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob never existed, that David and Solomon were not great kings but obscure chieftains and that the Exodus never happened. They offer instead a new historical truth: the Bible was created by the people of the small, southern nation of Judah in a heroic last-ditch attempt to keep their faith alive after the demise of the larger, wealthier nation of Israel to the north. It is in this truth, not in the myths of the past, that the real value of the Bible is evident.

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Israel Finkelstein is a professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University. He is a leading figure in the archaeology of the Levant and the laureate of the 2005 Dan David Prize in the Past Dimension -- Archaeology. Finkelstein served for many years as the Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and is the co-Director of the Megiddo Expedition. He is the co-author, with Neil Silberman, of The Bible Unearthed (Free Press, 2001) and the author of many field reports and scholarly articles.

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Neil Asher Silberman is director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium. He is a contributing editor to Archaeology magazine and the author of The Hidden Scrolls: Christianity, Judaism, and the War for the Dead Sea Scrolls; The Message and the Kingdom; and Digging for God and Country, among other books.

  • Publisher: Free Press (September 16, 2002)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780684869131

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.