By Lester L. Grabbe

A couple of histories of Israel were written over the last few a long time but the fundamental methodological questions should not continuously addressed: how will we write any such historical past and the way will we be aware of whatever in regards to the background of Israel? In old Israel Lester L. Grabbe units out to summarize what we all know via a survey of assets and the way we all know it through a dialogue of method and by means of comparing the proof. Grabbes target isn't to supply a background as such yet relatively to collecttogether and research the fabrics priceless for writing this type of background. His method for this reason permits the reader the liberty, and equips them with the basic methodological instruments, to exploit the precious and wide-ranging proof awarded during this quantity to attract their very own conclusions. the main uncomplicated query concerning the background of historical Israel, how can we recognize what we all know, ends up in the basic questions of the learn: What are the resources for the historical past of Israel and the way will we assessment them? How will we lead them to communicate to us throughout the fog of centuries? Grabbe specializes in unique assets, together with inscriptions, papyri, and archaeology. He examines the issues excited by historic technique and offers with the foremost concerns surrounding using the biblical textual content while writing a heritage of this era. historic Israel makes an unique contribution to the sector but in addition presents an enlightening evaluation and critique of present scholarly debate. it could accordingly function a instruction manual or reference-point for these short of a catalog of unique assets, scholarship, and secondary experiences. Its easy constitution and Grabbes readability of fashion make this ebook eminently available not just to scholars of religious study and historical background but additionally to the lay reader.

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Although put in a particularly stringent manner by the postmodernists and their predecessors such as Nietzsche, the question of epistemology has been discussed at length by historians through the centuries. 2. The idea that past historians worked in a positivistic mechanical fashion, to produce what they saw as objective descriptions of 'what actually happened', is a caricature. The history of historical writing is one of self-critique (or at least criticism of the past generation), questioning of rules and attempts to come to grips with an oftendifficult profession.

At this time a radical questioning undermined the two major assumptions that had undergirded historical work from Thucydides to Braudel: the correspondence theory of history and the view that human intentions were the basis of human actions. This fundamental questioning came from what has broadly been called 'postmodernism', though in fact a great many different considerations - philosophical, literary, linguistic, anthropological, feminist - fed into the debate on historical methodology. The view now championed by some was that objective historical inquiry was not possible.

1), but it was known long before that. 1). Yet S. Sandmel (1979) drew attention to a tendency 21 ANCIENT ISRAEL we all live with: to rely on the 'comfortable theory'. What he pointed out was the extent to which we as scholars - and despite our implied adherence to critical thought - tend to gravitate toward those theories or views that we find most congenial: 'A comfortable theory is one which satisfies the needs of the interpreter, whether theological or only personal, when the evidence can seem to point in one of two opposite directions' (Sandmel 1979: 139).

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