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Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) [Hardcover]

By Philip J. King (Author) & Lawrence E. Stager (Author)
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Item description for Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Philip J. King & Lawrence E. Stager...

A special edition of the Library of Ancient Israel is based on the latest research to provide an in-depth presentation of the land in ancient times from its domestic life and cultural traditions to its religious practices, in a volume complemented by more than 175 illustrations and photographs.

Publishers Description

This special-edition volume of the Library of Ancient Israel, based on the latest research, presents a vivid description of the world of Ancient Israel, covering such topics as domestic life, the means of existence, cultural expression, and religious practices. With over 175 full-color pictures and illustrations, "Life in Biblical Israel" opens the door to everyday life in biblical Israel for all readers. This volume is perfect for classrooms, coffee tables, and personal use.

Volumes in the Library of Ancient Israel draw on multiple disciplines--such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and literary criticism--to illuminate the everyday realities and social subtleties these ancient cultures experienced. This series employs sophisticated methods resulting in original contributions that depict the reality of the people behind the Hebrew Bible and interprets these insights for a wide variety of readers.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Philip J. King & Lawrence E. Stager has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Choice - 11/01/2002 page 486

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   440
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10" Width: 7.3" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   2.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2002
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Series  Library Of Ancient Israel  
ISBN  0664221483  
ISBN13  9780664221485  

Availability  161 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2017 07:43.
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More About Philip J. King & Lawrence E. Stager

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! King is Professor of Biblical Studies, Department of Theology, Boston College. He has spent more than 3 decades teaching the Hebrew Bible and doing fieldwork in biblical archaeology. He is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Philip J. King currently resides in Boston, in the state of Massachusetts.

Philip J. King has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Library of Ancient Israel

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > History > Asia
4Books > Subjects > History > Middle East > Israel
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Archaeology
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts > Bible > Old Testament
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
9Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference
11Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel)?

Life in Biblical Israel  Oct 23, 2006

Life in Biblical Israel (King & Stager, 2001) is an attempt recreate the daily lives of the common people of Iron Age Israel during the pre-exilic period of 1200 to 586 B.C. The authors draw from a vast array of archeological sources, using the text of the Hebrew Scriptures as the main framework of reference for their presentation of life in Iron Age Israel.

The authors are exceptionally well qualified as they are subject matter experts in archeology, ancient Israelite culture and Biblical literature. Philip J. King is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Boston College, and he is currently Director of the Shelby White-Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications. Lawrence E. Stager is Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, Harvard University. Professor Stager directs the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon in Israel.

Aspects Of Excellence

The text is not written to the layman per se, but presumes a level of academic skill on the part of the reader. That having been said, the section A Day in Micah's Household (King & Stager, 2001, p. 12-19) is a delightful read for the layman and scholar alike. This section is an "...imaginative account of life in Micah's household based on Judges 17-18." (King & Stager, p. 12).

The author's describe the aspects of daily life in meticulous detail. Little of what a common person would do in this exotic and bygone land seems to have been left out. Subjects from weddings to warfare, from baking bread to smelting bronze, are presented in concise synopsis; and always the authors relate the information to the Hebrew Scriptures.

The new insights, into daily life of the biblical Israelite, describe a culture and technology that is much more sophisticated than has often been depicted by non-canonical Church narratives and the secular media. Israel was at the crossroads of the main land route from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Thus Israel was an important segment of the main land bridge linking Europe, Asia and Africa. Judah, however, was a bit off the beaten path of the major international roadways; the Way of the Sea (Via Maris) and the King's Highway (King & Stager, 2001, p. 176). This geographical reality made Israel a strategic military holding, which helps to explain the constant warfare in the region. The roads brought not only conquering armies, but commerce, knowledge and exposure to outside cultures.

The technologies of the Israelites included sophisticated underground water systems of springs, pools, wells, cisterns, and underground tunnels carved in solid rock to supply their cities and agriculture. One of the most famous of these systems is the Gihon Spring which feeds Hezekiah's tunnel and the pools in Jerusalem (2Ki 20:20). International trade often used standardized shipping jars, these so called "Canaanite Jar's" were about thirty liters and were constructed to within a 10% tolerance (King & Stager, 2001, p. 146). The book includes many similar examples of a technology and culture well advanced from the simple nomadic/agricultural Israelite society that is often presented in our modern world.

A Predilection For Denial Of Scriptural Integrity

The authors do not hold to the inerrancy of scripture. They openly subscribe to the JEPD (Jaweh, Elohiym, Priestly and Deuteronomistic) authorship of the Hebrew scripture (King & Stager, 2001, p. 2-3). The authors do make a pretense of attempting to be scientifically objective. Their bias, however, comes out in various comments and presentations, and the book suffers fatally from this prejudice.

When reading an archelogical text that deals with biblical Israel, there is always an expectation of data that appears to discredit Scripture. Such data is seldom problematic to the Christian and Jewish faithful, as scientific "proofs" that repudiate scripture are themselves eventually repudiated as knowledge of the subject advances. The authors give several examples of such "proofs" being repudiated era." ; "... we find a number of correlations of biblical lore, contemporary extra biblical inscriptions, and archaeology that cumulatively lead us to reject the current notions of those critics who consider "biblical Israel" to be a late fiction created in the fourth-second centuries B.C.E. as an expression of the Jewish experience of that era.(King & Stager, 2001, p. 3).
" light of the foregoing, this can now be explained as an injunction for those who have accepted the Egyptian circumcision to "improve" on the ritual by undergoing a thorough removal of the foreskin." (King & Stager, 2001, p. 45).

Disparaging comments like "The preposterous patriarchal ages are the ideal not the reality." (King & Stager, 2001, p. 58) and " an example of fictive kinship, Perez is later identified as an ancestor of David..." can be accepted as an anticipated incubus when reading scientific texts. Unfortunately, the author's comments impugning the veracity of the Hebrew texts add nothing of value to the presentation of the subject matter. Indeed, these often tangential trajectories from the objective to the subjective bring the specter of lurking parochial underpinnings to the conclusions made by the authors.

The authors' stated intent was to elucidate the Biblical texts using contemporary extra biblical text and archaeology (King & Stager, 2001, p. xix). It is impossible to accept that the authors could keep their personal bias out of their postulations if they were unable to keep their personal bias out of their text. This bias is extremely unfortunate, for if the authors had been able to present their data objectively, such information could have been of incalculable value to the Church in understanding and truth testing.

A parochially nuanced presentation of objective data always becomes problematic in the acceptance of any of the postulates of any author.

Most of the work is scholarly and the pictures are informative, but read at your own risk.
too superficial  Jun 2, 2006
I purchased this book hoping to learn more of the daily life of ancient palestine. It is true that the book makes an extensive coverage of this subject ( food and its preparation, cereals, grains... how people dressed, jewelry, family order, houses and villages, etc. ) and with plenty of photographic material (in this the book excels many others ) but nevertheless it doesn't seem sufficient, on almost each of the chapters I was left with the feeling that the book lacked of something, maybe I expected it to be more centered on how life was organized, read the temple and the palace, economy is not really covered either. The style of the writters maybe considered very easy to follow, like if you were reading a tale, this may not necessarily be bad, on the contrary, but you may end wanting it to be more like other scholar works, more "dry". Read carefully the index and some excerpts and decide wether it is what you are looking for or not. Hope this review may help you.
A personal perspective  Feb 20, 2006
Very informative material for the Bible student or even anyone interested in the ancient past of the Holy Land. Good use of Scripture within to highlight archaeological relevance. The only drawback is the authors' subscription to the JEDP theory of Biblical authorship.
Pushes the edge of our knowledge of the Bible and Israel  Mar 5, 2003
There are many gems in this book that will explain otherwise difficult biblical texts. The authors are interested in using the latest archaeological data to shed light on the Scriptures (see, for example, King's earlier commentary on Jeremiah). It will take time for all of the information in this book to make it into popular biblical commentaries (it is cutting edge information, as the authors themselves are active archaeologists). This book is a concentrated collection of journal quality insights written at a popular level.

Before I bought this book, I heard one of the co-authors (Dr. Stager of Harvard) lecture on his contribution to the book. He is a master investigator of the ancient near eastern ideas of temple and garden. Stager brilliantly communicates how Israel's Temple and Garden Story relate to (and are informed by) their original contexts. Adjective fail me, I can only say that his work is staggering.

I would be remiss if I did not make this plug: the pictures alone are worth the price of the book. The book is printed completely on photo quality paper with full color images throughout.

This book is a must have for any student of archaeology, the Bible or Israel.

Review of Life in Biblical Israel  Aug 29, 2002
Though written for the layperson, this book is still an excellent resource for the scholar in Bible, ancient Near Eastern studies, or any study of culture. Life in Biblical Israel describes the setting of the Hebrew Bible, but not in terms of wars, leaders, and elite society. Professors King and Stager recognize, like Fernand Braudel and Annales historians, that a large part of society is often neglected by its own histories. Thus, they seek to describe how that silent majority lived their everyday lives. The authors of Life in Biblical Israel attempt to describe all of the aspects of the lifeways of the Israelites - how they produced their food, built their houses, procured water, defended their cities, organized their society, kept themselves healthy, expressed themselves through clothing, art, and music, and how they interacted with the divine.

For those skeptical of the Bible's credibility, the book may seem to be a simple attempt to draw archaeological correlations, that is artifactual evidence, for Biblical terminology. Certainly, the book does this, but not out of any theological or apologetic attempt to prove the Bible as accurate. Accepting that the archaeological record and the Bible provide two types of descriptions of the same society, King and Stager gather all of the information they can from both sources. The many photographs and drawings in the book show many examples from the archaeological source. A quick glance at the Scriptural Index at the back of the book shows how thoroughly the authors combed the Biblical text. At the same time, the authors use each source to supplement the defficiencies of the other. For example, artifacts can often be identified as to their uses, but they have no names in their native languages, and how they are used is often not known. King and Stager do an excellent job with the details of exactly how the ancient people accomplished what they did.

There have been very few other attempts to so document ancient Israel as a cultural and social entity. Previous works using both the textual and archaeological evidence in concert mostly have focused on one aspect of the culture, usually something relevant to the upper classes or the political or military establishment. Others have subsumed their archaeological and biblical discussion beneath other arguments, in which case they have reduced the amount of evidence and increased the number of conclusions to be drawn. King and Stager, on the other hand, have written a book which deals primarily with the culture of all of Israel as expressed through its material and literary remains; they have no other axe to grind, and they present more data and fewer conclusions. Instead they are working first and foremost to describe as best they can how people lived in the Iron Age in Israel.

This book will serve as an excellent textbook both in archaeology and Bible courses. It can also serve as a reference work both for the layperson and the scholar interested in either subject. Perhaps the best reason to use this book, however, is that it succeeds in its aim of portraying the details of ancient Israelite life. The many illustrations truly enable readers to visualize each aspect of the culture.


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