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History and Ideology in the Old TestamentBiblical Studies at the End of a Millennium$
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James Barr

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198269870.001.0001

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The History of Israel

The History of Israel

(p.59) 4 The History of Israel
History and Ideology in the Old Testament

James Barr

Oxford University Press

Older scholarship, though ‘critical’, commonly took it that the core narrative of the Old Testament, from David to the return from exile, was basically reliable as an historical source. Newer ‘revisionist’ scholarship disputes this: for it, this narrative has little or no contact with events that happened. Rather, it expresses the ideology of parties of a far later time and their quest for power. Archaeology, increasingly important, is appealed to from both sides. Traditional critical history stuck too closely to the Bible's point of view: true history should be not of Israel but of all the populations. There never was any ‘Ancient Israel’ , shaped as it is delineated in the Bible.

Keywords:   Lemche, revisionism, Whitelam

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