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Archaeology and the Bible: Reflections on Historical Memory in the Deuteronomistic History

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Chapter Summary

This chapter surveys the question whether archaeology can point out early memories in the Deuteronomistic (Dtr) literature relating to the time period from the late thirteenth to late tenth centuries B.C.E., a time frame which may be defined as 'protohistoric' in terms of Israelite history. Results of research on three major Iron Age societies - of the hill country, of Philistia, and of the anaanite enclaves - apparently fit the socio-economic and political profile of the country as reflected in the books of Judges and Samuel. The chapter poses a question of what extent do the long and detailed literary narratives on Saul, David, and Solomon, though written hundreds of years after the tenth century B.C.E., retain memories of realities rooted in that century. Conservative approaches until the 1980s were largely based on the biblical narrative, while archaeological discoveries were presented as confirming this narrative.

Keywords: anaanite enclaves; archaeological discoveries; Biblical narrative; Deuteronomistic (Dtr) history; hill country; Philistia



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