Among the most recent and prominent are Thomas L. Thompson, Early History of the Israelite People (Brill, 1992); Philip R. Davies, In Search of Ancient Israel (Sheffield Academic Press, 1992) John Van Seters, Prologue to History (Yale Univ. Press, 1992); and Gösta W. Ahlström, History of Ancient Palestine (Sheffield Academic Press, 1993).


William F. Albright (1891–1971) was the dean of biblical archaeologists of his time.


According to the documentary hypothesis, the first four books of the Pentateuch, or Torah, were created through a combination of three major narrative sources. The three sources are the J or Yahwist source (which starts with the Eden story in Genesis 2–3), the E or Elohist source (which includes the story of the binding of Isaac) and the P or Priestly source (which starts in Genesis 1, then resumes in Genesis 5). J and E were combined first; P was combined with J and E afterward, perhaps by the time of the Book of Deuteronomy. For a summary, see Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (Summit, 1987).


For information on the Merneptah Stela (also called the Israel Stela), see the following articles in Biblical Archaeology Review: Frank J. Yurko, “3,200-Year-Old Picture of Israelites Found in Egypt,” BAR 16:05; and Anson F. Rainey, “Rainey’s Challenge,” BAR 17:06. See also “Frank Moore Cross—An Interview, Part 2: The Development of Israelite Religion,” BR 08:05.



F.H. Cryer, “On the Recently-Discovered ‘House of David’ Inscription,” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 8 (1994), pp. 14–15. After defending the suggestion at length, Cryer concludes, “For the record, I doubt that the inscription is a forgery,” citing Joseph Naveh’s expertise in epigraphy and the “nuance…surrounding the language of the inscription.” Cryer, however, also attempts to downdate the inscription to the eighth or seventh century B.C.E.


See David Noel Freedman and Jeffrey C. Geoghegan, “‘House of David’ Is There!” BAR 21:02.


This affliction originates in the insecurity of professionals who, like the American Bar Association, attempt to limit access to their professions. Like attorneys, professional scholars do this in two ways: by writing obscurely and by insisting on ticket-punching that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. The pretense is a maintenance of standards. The idea is to discourage competition—not so much from people who lack technical knowledge as from those who have it.


The main proponents are Thomas L. Thompson, J.W. Flanagan, D.W. Jamieson-Drake and Philip Davies. For a far better and actually constructive example of the method, see John S. Holladay, Jr., “Religion in Israel and Judah Under the Monarchy: An Explicitly Archaeological Approach,” in Ancient Israelite Religion. Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross, eds. Patrick D. Miller, Paul D. Hanson and S. Dean McBride (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987).


See Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (New York: Summit Books, 1987).


See Jeremy Bernstein, “Julian. 1918–1994,” American Scholar (Spring, 1995).


See, for example, Baruch Halpern, “Settlement of Canaan,” Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), with bibliography. Interestingly, in the handful of sites where archaeologists have are notable for their almost complete absence from what we would normally identify as Israelite levels.


For the Mesha Stela, see the following articles in the May/June 1994 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review: André Lemaire, “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” BAR 20:03; “Translation of the Mesha Stela” and “Can You See the Letters?” sidebars to “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” BAR 20:03. For the Tel Dan inscription, see the following articles in Biblical Archaeology Review, “‘David’ Found at Dan,” BAR 20:02; Davies, “‘House of David’ Built on Sand: The Sins of the Biblical Maximizers,” BAR 20:04; and Freedman and Geoghegan, “‘House of David’ Is There!” BAR 21:02.


See David Ussishkin, “King Solomon’s Palace and Building 1723 at Megiddo,” Israel Exploration Journal 16 (1966).


We find the same phenomenon for Nabonidus at Teima and various Assyrian kings, such as Sargon, at Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad).


The same might be true at Beth-Shean V, but special problems, including the ongoing presence of Egyptian elements, attach to the site.


See William F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1942); The Archaeology of Palestine (Baltimore: Penguin, 1961; originally published 1949); and From the Stone Age to Christianity (Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 2nd ed., 1957).


John Bright, A History of Israel (Philadelphia: Westminster, 3rd edition, 1981).


George E. Mendenhall, “Biblical History in Transition” in G. Ernest Wright, ed., The Bible and the Ancient Near East (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961); see also Mendenhall, “Ancient Oriental and Biblical Law,” Biblical Archaeologist 17 (1954), and “Covenant Forms in Israelite Tradition,” Biblical Archaeologist 17 (1954).


Ephraim A. Speiser, Genesis, Anchor Bible Series (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964).


Kenneth A. Kitchen, “The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History?” in Queries & Comments, BAR 21:02; see also Ronald S. Hendel, “Finding Historical Memories in the Patriarchal Narratives,” BAR 21:04.


Niels P. Lemche and Thomas L. Thompson, “Did Biran Kill David? The Bible in the Light of Archaeology,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 64 (1994).


To put the matter simply, the two words are in construct—what T.O. Lamdin has called “close juncture:” byt by itself, means “house”; byt in front of dwd, means “the house of [David].” The determined noun, governed by the genitive proper noun, acquires considerable meaning in a construct relationship. This, and the fact that byt could not have stood alone, is the reason the word-divider is missing in the inscription (see Freedman and Geoghegan, “‘House of David’ Is There!” BAR 21:02).


For information on Israelite kings, see the following articles in Biblical Archaeology Review: Ephraim Stern, “How Bad Was Ahab?” BAR 19:02; Tammi Schneider, “Did King Jehu Kill His Own Family?” BAR 21:01; André Lemaire, “Royal Signature: Name of Israel’s Last King Surfaces in a Private Collection,” BAR 21:06; and Dan Gill, “How They Met: Geology Solves Long-Standing Mystery of Hezekiah’s Tunnelers,” BAR 20:04.


In “Did Biran Kill David?” for example, Lemche and Thompson write: Avraham Biran’s and Joseph Naveh’s editio princeps “distorted what could have been a discussion of the inscription…into an appeal for a fundamentalistic reading of the Bible.” Of E. Puech’s very competent treatment, they write: “Here is a very learned example of how not to proceed with inscriptions.”


In “Text and Artifact: Two Monologues?” (in a forthcoming volume of essays, ed. Larry Silberstein and David Small [New York Univ. Press]), I argue that the main purpose of 2 Samuel is to acquit David of charges of serial murder, of which he was very likely guilty—which implies that the book stems from David’s the early part of Solomon’s.