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Israel in EgyptThe Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition$
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James K. Hoffmeier

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130881.001.0001

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Israel’s Early History in Recent Scholarship

Israel’s Early History in Recent Scholarship

(p.3) 1 Israel’s Early History in Recent Scholarship
Israel in Egypt

James K. Hoffmeier

Oxford University Press

The Israelites' exodus from Egypt has been considered to be a historical event central to the formation of ancient Israel as a nation and its faith. The historicity of this event was affirmed by John Bright as recently as 1981 in the third edition of A History of Israel. Bright claims these periods never existed. One is forced to ask why the central event in Israel's history has so quickly lost its credibility in the eyes of many leading scholars. A number of factors have been responsible for this decline and the present crisis: the collapse of the Albright–Wright synthesis of the “conquest” of Canaan by Joshua and the Israelites; the demise of the Wellhausenian, regarding the composition of the Pentateuch and the traditional dating of those sources; and the redefining of historiography or history writing in the Bible. This chapter briefly sketches how these developments took place and how they set the stage for the present investigation.

Keywords:   Israelites, exodus, Egypt, Israel, John Bright, History of Israel, Albright–Wright synthesis, Canaan, historiography, Bible

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