In this companion volume to his bestselling Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? Lester L. Grabbe provides the background history of the main ancient Near Eastern peoples and empires: Babylonia, Assyria, Urartu, Hittites, Amorites, Egyptians.
Grabbe's focus is on Palestine/Canaan and covers the early second millennium, including the Middle Bronze Age and the Second Intermediate Period and Hyksos rule of Egypt. Grabbe also addresses the question of a 'patriarchal period'. The main focus of the book is on the second half of the second millennium: Late Bronze and early Iron Age, the Egyptian New Kingdom, the Amarna letters, the Sea Peoples, the question of 'the exodus', the early settlements in the hill country of Palestine, and the first mention of Israel in the Merenptah inscription. Archaeology and the contribution of the social sciences both feature heavily, as does inscriptional and iconographic material. As such this volume provides a fascinating portrayal of ancient Israel and this definitive work by one of the world's leading biblical historians will be of interest to all students and scholars of biblical history.
Lester Grabbe has once again provided us with a well-researched and judiciously argued volume, this time laying out for us an excellent summary of the cultural backgrounds for the rise of 'Israel'. Masterfully weaving together historical, biblical and archaeological sources, Prof. Grabbe presents an overview of the cultural and historical background of 2nd millennium BCE Canaan and its environs, the region in which biblical Israel and Judah formed during the early Iron Age. Advanced students of archaeology, Bible and ancient Near Eastern Studies will find this an excellent resource to understand the genesis of Israel and Judah. Highly recommended! * Professor Aren Maeir, Bar-Ilan University, Israel * Lester Grabbe worked through the History of Ancient Israel like an archaeologist, from the top strata down. Three volumes on the Persian and Hellenistic periods were followed by a by a magisterial study of the Iron Age monarchies, and now, finally, on Israel's beginnings in the Late Bronze Age. Both YHWH and Israel are first attested in this period. This fact is undeniable and calls for proper consideration, which it amply receives in the sober and comprehensive manner which we learnt to appreciate in Grabbe's previous books. * Ernst Axel Knauf, University of Bern, Switzerland *