Adventures in Bookland: Archaeology of the Bible by Jean-Pierre Isbouts

Coffee-table book of Biblical archaeology. Beautifully produced, with a great deal of reasonably useful material about the wider historical and archaeological context, but written with a definite although veiled Biblical minimalist view. That’s the view, adopted by some scholars, that there is essentially no, or very little, historical value in the Bible. They see it as a theological, cultural and political document, reflecting purely the realities of the times when the various books of the Bible were written, with an assumption that they were written much after the events that they supposedly record. Thus the stories of David and Solomon and the United Monarchy are not a history of what actually happened but an invented genealogy and hence rationale for much later kings. While a strong strand in Biblical archaeology, it’s by no means the only one, but there’s very little in this book to suggest that there any other interpretations of the evidence beyond those presented here. Somewhat disappointing.


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