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On the Reliability of the Old Testament [Paperback]

By K. A. Kitchen (Author)
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Item description for On the Reliability of the Old Testament by K. A. Kitchen...

Takes strong issue with today's "revisionist" critics and offers a firm foundation for the historicity of the biblical texts.

Publishers Description
For more than two hundred years controversy has raged over the reliability of the Old Testament. Questions about the factuality of its colorful stories of heroes, villains, and kings, for example, have led many critics to see the entire Hebrew Bible as little more than pious fiction. In this fascinating new book, noted ancient historian K. A. Kitchen takes strong issue with today's "revisionist" critics and offers a firm foundation for the historicity of the biblical texts.

In a detailed, comprehensive, and entertaining manner, Kitchen draws on an unprecedented range of historical data from the ancient Near East -- the Bible's own world -- and uses it to soundly reassess both the biblical record and the critics who condemn it. Working back from the latest periods (for which hard evidence is readily available) to the remotest times, Kitchen systematically shows up the many failures of favored arguments against the Bible and marshals pertinent permanent evidence from antiquity's inscriptions and artifacts to demonstrate the basic honesty of the Old Testament writers.

Enhanced with numerous tables, figures, and maps, "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" is a must-read for anyone interested in the question of biblical truth.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   662
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.7" Height: 1.43"
Weight:   2.15 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 9, 2006
ISBN  0802803962  
ISBN13  9780802803962  

Availability  1 units.
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More About K. A. Kitchen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! K A Kitchen is currently Brunner Professor of Egyptology in the University of Liverpool, where he has taught for 38 years. During that time, he has worked extensively in Egypt, recording the texts for the hieroglyphic edition of "Ramesside Inscriptions, I-VIII" (Blackwell, 1969-1990), that is the basis for the "Translations" and "Notes and Comments" volumes now being issued. He has also produced a major book on Egyptian chronology for later Egypt (1100-650 BC), a classic popular "Life and Times" of Ramesses II, and a comprehensive Catalogue of the notable Egyptian collection in Rio de Janeiro; other books on archaeology and the Bible; and recently the first of a series on Ancient (pre-Islamic) Arabia, besides innumerable articles and reviews. He has lectured worldwide in these various spheres of enquiry.

K. A. Kitchen currently resides in Liverpool. K. A. Kitchen was born in 1932 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Liverpool University of Liverpool, UK University of Live.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Old Testament
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testament
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Old Testament > Old Testament
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > Old Testament
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about On the Reliability of the Old Testament?

Not for the uninitiated !  Jan 5, 2007
Excellent book. Concise, reasoned and learned. The authors' opinions about the opponents of the bibles' authenticity are cogent and his devestating attacks on their agendas are, in my opinion, accurate. The only drawback with this book is that if the reader does not have an extensive background in Biblical history/archeology it is a very hard read. Too bad ! A book like this should be available to the average reader.
Middle East History & Chronology  Nov 6, 2006
This book is essential reading for all those interested in near & middle east history/chronology. It is written by a man versed and qualified in history who does not appear to have an axe to grind for/against the historisity of the Old Testament. He does not suffer fools gladly (and there are many of them who sneer at the historicity of the O.T., apparently for a variety of motives).

We have not heard the last of the historicity of the Old Testament or the dating of the ancient civilisations but this book helps define the paramaters of the debate.

A great read.
A classic by Kitchen on the Old Testament's basic accuracy  Oct 21, 2006
The well respected English scholar--Kenneth Kitchen--has penned another masterpiece in this book on the inherent reliability of the Old Testament. This study is characterised by his renowned attention to detail and well supported arguments which caters primarily to the scholar/academician rather than the average lay book reader. The book covers 500 pages on the Old Testament before one reaches his volumnious bibliography which includes the author's incisive commentary.

Kitchen demonstrates that the Biblical Joseph could only have been sold into slavery for 20 shekels in Mesopotamia--as the Bible states--in the 18th or 17th Century BC when the price of slaves averaged this price. (pp.344-345) Hence, his career as Pharaoh's chief Vizier can only be dated to this time--deep within Egypt's Second Intermediate Period during either the Asiatic 14th Dynasty which controlled Egypt's Delta region or the Hyksos era. (c.1648-1540 BC) A later date for Joseph's existence in 15th or 14th Century BC New Kingdom Egypt is ruled out by the fact that the average price of slaves had risen to 30 shekels by 15th and 14th Century BC Mesopotamia. (p.345) Since Joseph was young and healthy at the time his brothers sold him into slavery, he can be expected to have commanded the standard average price of 20 shekels.

Kitchen counters the familiar refrain of Biblical skeptics: "Why [are there] no inscriptions of David's and Solomon's time?" by noting that these problems encompass both the survival of artifacts and official state policy. (p.90) He aptly notes that one must expect any 10th century Jewish texts in Jerusalem and Samaria to have suffered from "repeated changes, destructions and rebuildings" throughout antiquity. The Babylonians "thoroughly destroyed the temple and palace of the 'City of David' in 586 BC" while the massive building projects of King Herod would have removed most remaining traces of Solomonic era stelas or monuments, if any had survived to this time, in Jerusalem.(p.90) At Samaria, archeological excavations have produced "no series of official stone inscriptions either" with the possible exception of one small fragment which "bears the single anodyne word 'asher, [meaning] 'who, which'!" (p.91) However, like Jerusalem, Samaria--the capital of post-Solomon Israel--suffered much damage in 722/720 BC while in Herodian and Roman times, it was completely redeveloped. Furthermore, scholars have not established if Israel's early kings created formal inscriptions on stone during king David or Solomon's reign compared to the unofficial Siloam tunnel inscription which dates to Hezekiah's rule. Kitchen contends that apart from Jerusalem or Samaria, no other Jewish towns merited any major official inscriptions. He plausibly concludes that the lack of attestations for contemporary monuments of David or Solomnonic is not convincing evidence for denying Israel's existence in the early 10th Century BC by noting that there are similiarly minimal surviving documents or inscriptions for Israel's own contemporary neighbours. Only the shattered Tel-Dan stela, a few minor inscribed ivory labels in Assyria and several horse blinkers attests to Hazael's existence as a king of Aram-Damascus. (p.91) In addition, Mesha's stela is the only known document from his reign as a king of Moab; no other Moabite kings are monumentally known by any artifacts aside from one reference thus far. Similiarly "only about three pieces commemorate [the] kings of Ammon" while no monument mentions any of the kings of Edom. (p.91) Consequently, Kitchen reasonably concludes that in this context of minimal surviving historical documents, one can hardly complain about the almost total failure to discover texts belonging to David or Solomon's era. (p.91) It must be stressed that prior to the 1993 discovery of the Tel-Dan stela, the name David was never found in any Near Eastern document. (pp.36-37 & 91) This again speaks to a general paucity of surviving objects concerning Israel or its neighbours in the Levant.

Apart from the reference to the 'House of David' in the shattered ca. 841 BC old Aramaic Tel-Dan stela of Hazael, Kitchen compiles strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that a Palestinian place-name from Pharaoh Shoshenq I's 920's BC Karnak list of conquered Canaanite cities also contains an indirect allusion to David. (p.92-93) He notes that this place-name, located within a group of names clearly located by association to the Negev/South Judah area, reads as "the heights of Dwt." (p.93) The author notes that Dwt cannot be a reference to Dothan since the term lacks a final 'n' character and is "in entirely the wrong context for a north Palestinian settlement." (p.93) Kitchen stresses, however, that an Ethiopian inscription by the Emperor of Axum which dates to the early 6th century AD from southwest Arabia explicitly cites passages from the "Psalms of Dawit"--precisely the "same consonants Dwt as found with [the list of] Shoshenq." (p.91) Kitchen also observes that in the Egyptian translation of foreign names, a 't' could and sometimes did transcribe a Semitic 'd'. He writes: "This occurs in the New Kingdom in such familiar place names as Megiddo (Egyp. Mkt), edre'i (Egyp. 'itr') Adummin (Egyp. itmm), Damascus (Egyp. Tmsq), Dothaim/n (Egypt. Ttyn)." (p.93) The author argues that "there is no reason to doubt a final -d becoming a voiceless t in both Egyptian and Ethiopic (both Afro-Asiatic languages)" and since no other plausible alternative appears forthcoming in reading this place-name, it should be read as simply as the Heights of David located somewhere in the Negev. (p.93) He notes that this would give us a place-name which commemorated David within only 50 years of his death--and in a region where David features prominently during king Saul's time (1 Sam. 24:1; 27; 30;). (p.93) Kitchen concludes that such a place-name is essentially analogous to the "field of Abram" which also occurs in Shoshenq's Karnak list.

Another observation by the author concerns the famous Israel stela which records that Pharaoh Merneptah (1213-1203 BC) crushed a revolt by the cities of Yenoam, Ascalon, Gezer around his fifth regnal year and defeated Israel in turn. Kitchen presciently notes that while one may have expected a new king to face a revolt in more distant regions of the Egyptian Empire such as Phoenicia or South Syria, a revolt by Canaanite cities such as Ascalon or Gezer which were located close to Egypt's border "was not normal." (p.229) He stresses that there must have been specific reasons for the Egyptian campaign and suggests that it was these vassal states' inability to pay their required grain-tax tribute to Pharaoh in a world where the "failure to do so constituted rebellion" in the eyes of the king. (p.229) In this case, if these towns were unable to pay their expected tribute, the reason could have been connected with the marauding bands of Israelites who came down from the Canaanite hills at harvest time and stole the grain crops of these towns. Kitchen notes that a king of Gezer had once been "worsted by Joshua's raiders (Josh. 10:33), and a little later some Judean raiders may have penetrated briefly to Ascalon and its grainfields (cf Judg 1:18)." (p.229) The Egyptians who investigated the source of the trouble would have presumably attempted to expel these new intruders. The author notes that since Merneptah's troops encountered "people who called themselves not Judahites or Benjaminites or Manassites, etc., but Israelites (italics)," the Pharaoh would have logically assumed that they belonged to the nation of "Israel." (p.229) This confirms the antiquity of the term "all Israel" as early as 1208 BC for the people of Israel.

There are many other interesting arguments and revelations in Kitchen's book. But it is safe to say that his book does counter the efforts of Biblical minimalists who challenge the Bible's veracity. Kitchen rightly criticises those scholars who refuse to accept evidence for the clear reference to king Omri in the Tel-Dan stela and notes that certain critics of the Bible have no scholarly training or often harbour untenable views. While the Bible is not perfect--for instance, the late archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered that the city of Jericho was apparently abandoned when its walls reportedly fell before Joshua--its account cannot be doubted as a work of fiction unless there is consistent evidence to the contrary. Other Canaanite cities such as Hazor certainly met a fiery end during the time of the Hebrews entry into the Promised land, as the Bible states.
An extraordinary work !  Mar 26, 2006
Encyclopedic in scope, K.A Kitchen's masterful study of the Hebrew Bible's authenticity must stand as a testament to the ultimate truth of ancient Judaic scripture. Leaving no stone unturned, Kitchen presents an overwhelming abundance of evidence, both textual and archeological, that systematically demolishes the erroneous viewpoints put forward by current revisionist theory.

Almost as though he "lived and experienced" each epoch, Kitchen guides the reader through the realm of biblical antiquity and in so doing he uncovers fact after fact of historical fact that culminates in a massive documentation that stands, unequivocally, to support the veracity of the biblical narratives.

From the call of Abraham, the exodus with Moses, the conquest by Joshua, the united monarchy under David and Soloman through the exile and return, the historicity of the Hebrew Bible can rest firm on it's foundation, no longer to be so easily trampled upon by the agendas of fact-ignoring, irresponsible minimalists. Read Thompson, Lemche, Davies, Finklestein and even "middle of the road" Dever...then read Kitchen...He leaves them in the dust! A scholarly masterpiece, On the Reliability of the Old Testament is the only book you need to confirm the accuracy and ultimate truth of the Hebrew Bible.
Very well done.  Jul 30, 2005
The author is one of the most knowledgable individuals in the world on the subject of the Ancient Near East, and the book contains a wealth of scholarly information and support for the general historical veracity of the Old Testament from a non-fundamentalist standpoint. Well worth reading for those interested in the subject. Also, Kitchen wins the latest point/counterpoint articles in Biblical Archaeology Review (July/August 2005).


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