History and the Hebrew Bible
In this collection of essays, Hans M. Barstad deals thoroughly with the recent history debate, and demonstrates its relevancy for the study of ancient Israelite history and historiography. He takes an independent stand in the heated maximalist/minimalist debate on the historicity of the Hebrew Bible. Vital to his understanding is the necessity to realize the narrative nature of the ancient Hebrew and of the Near Eastern sources. Equally important is his claim that stories, too, may convey positivistic historical 'facts'. The other major topic he deals with in the book is the actual history of ancient Judah in the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods. Here, the author makes extensive use of extant ancient Near Eastern sources, both textual and archaeological, and he puts much weight on economic aspects. He shows that the key to understanding the role of Judah in the 1st millennium lays in the proper evaluation of Judah and its neighbouring city states within their respective imperial contexts. A proper understanding of the history of Judah during the 6th century BCE, consequently, can only be obtained when Judah is studied as a part of the much wider Neo-Babylonian imperial policy.
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