Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel)

Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager

Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel)
Life in Biblical Israel (Library of Ancient Israel)

Book Details

Categories: OT Archaeology

Book Information

Pages: 440
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Published: 2002
ISBN-10: 0664221483
ISBN-13: 9780664221485

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5 out of 5 based on 3 user ratings
Denver Seminary Journal December 5, 2009 5 5
With color photos and drawings, this is the best discussion of the realia of life in biblical times. [Full Review]
This handsome volume is the eighth in the Library of Ancient Israel series under the general editorship of Douglas A. Knight. The present volume is different in format from the other volumes in the series, thanks to a generous gift from Leon Levi and Shelby White, who have also helped sponsor other projects undertaken by the authors. The numerous color and black and white photographs, drawings, and plans make each topic discussed in this book come alive. Because of the wealth of illustrations and high quality of the paper, a quick browsing through the book gives one the feeling of leafing through a rich album of daily life, a feeling similar to that of handling a coffee-table book. However, looks should not deceive the reader; there is more to this book than just good looks. The authors state that the book is aimed at both the specialist and nonspecialist (xix), so the question for this reviewer is, How successful are they? The book is divided into six main chapters and a short epilogue. Each chapter contains multiple subdivisions, each devoted to the treatment of a much narrower topic. Chapter 1, the introduction, lays the ground for the project, its scope, and limitations. [Full Review]
Philip King and Lawrence Stager have drawn upon their vast knowledge and experienceas biblical scholars and archaeologists to write this book to be used to supplement biblicalstudy. Life in Biblical Israel is a great resource that combines biblical texts, archaeology,and cultural background study to paint a picture, for the modern reader, of the ancientpeople and their life in Israel. This text is one in the series Library of Ancient Israel thatis designed to “investigate several specific topics each in terms of its social dimensionsand processes within ancient Israel” (xvii). King and Stager attempt to outline the mainfeatures of life in the biblical world while relying on a variety of details found in currentsocial-science studies about ancient Iron Age material.King and Stager begin with an introduction explaining the importance of everyday life inIsrael. They discuss archaeological finds in many of the ancient urban and rural areas asthe nation developed from a small community to large city. They also indicate that muchof Israel’s history began in a rural environment and formed much of its character fromthe rhythms of life, such as livestock, festivals, kinship relations, daily routines, and othermundane details of their lives. “Typically readers will scarcely notice them, perhapsbecause they are alien to our own contexts or because they seem to fit our stereotypednotions of the character of life in antiquity” (9). This section ends with a constructednarrative concerning Micah and the Levite (Judg 17–18). [Full Review]

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