This work is composed of three outstanding lectures about the emergence of the ancient Israelites and their religion presented at a symposium held at the Smithsonian Institution in the fall of 1991. Professors William Dever, Baruch Halpern, and P. Kyle McCarter Jr., specialists in the fields of biblical archaeology and Near Eastern studies, present provocative theories on the arrival of the Israelites in ancient Canaan and the provenance of their religion. Did the Israelites enter Canaan according to the books of Joshua and Judges or were they already there as part of the indigenous population? Is there any reality to the biblical account of the Exodus? Where and when did belief in the God Yahweh originate? Edited under the aegis of Shanks, the well-known editor of Biblical Archaeological Review and Bible Review , this work can easily be understood by interested lay readers. Highly recommended for larger collections.