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Understanding the History of Ancient Israel$
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H. G. M. Williamson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264010

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264010.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Setting the Scene: a Response to John Rogerson

Setting the Scene: a Response to John Rogerson

(p.15) 2 Setting the Scene: a Response to John Rogerson
Understanding the History of Ancient Israel


British Academy

John Rogerson's review of works on the history of ancient Israel from Humphrey Prideaux to Martin Noth is a fine illustration of Ecclesiastes' observation (1.9): ‘What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun’. The current debates on the history of Israel are often presented as part of some paradigm shift or, at the very least, a new and savage phase in the study of Israelite history. The publication of recent works such as A Biblical History of Israel by Provan et al. and Kenneth Kitchen's On the Reliability of the Old Testament take us back to the starting point of Rogerson's paper and the work of Prideaux before the development of biblical studies as a critical discipline in the nineteenth century. Norman Cantor's observations on the invention of the Middle Ages by twentieth-century scholarship are just as applicable to biblical scholarship and its pursuit of ancient Israel.

Keywords:   John Rogerson, ancient Israel, history, Kenneth Kitchen, Old Testament, biblical studies, Norman Cantor, Humphrey Prideaux, Martin Noth, Middle Ages

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