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The Legacy of Israel in Judah's Bible


  • Page extent: 398 pages
  • Size: 235 x 155 mm
  • Weight: 0.7 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 221.6/7
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: BS1182.3 .F54 2012
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Narration in the Bible
    • Bible.--Old Testament--Criticism, Narrative

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107024311)

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The Legacy of Israel in Judah's Bible undertakes a comprehensive reevaluation of the Bible's primary narrative in Genesis through Kings as it relates to history. It divides the core textual traditions along political lines that reveal deeply contrasting assumptions, an approach that places biblical controversies in dialogue with anthropologically informed archaeology. Starting from close study of selected biblical texts, the work moves toward historical issues that may be illuminated by both this material and a larger range of textual evidence. The result is a synthesis that breaks away from conventional lines of debate in matters relating to ancient Israel and the Bible, setting an agenda for future engagement of these fields with wider study of antiquity.


Part I. Israel and Judah: 1. Why Israel?; 2. Israel without Judah; Part II. Israelite Content in the Bible: 3. Writing from Judah; 4. An association of peoples in the land (the book of Judges); 5. The family of Jacob; 6. Collective Israel and its kings; 7. Moses and the conquest of eastern Israel; 8. Joshua and Ai; 9. Benjamin; 10. Israelite writers on early Israel; Part III. Collaborative Politics: 11. Collaborative politics; 12. Outside the Near East; 13. The Amorite backdrop to ancient Israel; 14. Israel's Aramean contemporaries; Part IV. Israel in History: 15. The power of a name: ethnicity and political identity; 16. Before Israel; 17. Israel and Canaan in the 13th–10th centuries; 18. Israel and its kings; 19. Genuine (versus invented) tradition.


"In this far-ranging and important book, Fleming acutely analyzes the distinctive features and texts of Israel and Judah. Fleming argues that "Israel" and "Judah" were fundamentally different polities and that knowledge of their differences can help identify originally "Israelite" components of Judah's Bible. Furthermore, Fleming reconceptualizes the history of "Israel" from its premonarchal origins to a succession of royal rulers with different geographic bases (including David in Jerusalem) to Assyrian destruction. Few should leave reading this book without reconsidering long-held assumptions about Israel's history and literature. One of the most important books published in biblical studies in the last decade."
David Carr, Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Union Theological Seminary in New York

"In this remarkable study, Daniel E. Fleming deals with one of the hottest issues in the current study of Ancient (biblical) Israel: the role and impact of Israelite traditions embedded in the Judahite Bible. Fleming storms into the scholarly minefield of the reconstruction of Ancient Israel equipped with formidable ammunition: all four disciplines necessary to prevail - Ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical studies, archaeology, and anthropology. The result is a fascinating study into the time, location, and concerns of the biblical authors. This book is a classic - a must for anyone interested in the Bible and the history of Ancient Israel."
Israel Finkelstein, Tel Aviv University

"Daniel Fleming has a track record of producing extremely well researched publications brimming with insights. His highly original The Legacy of Israel in Judah’s Bible successfully distinguishes genuine northern Israelite traditions that have come down to us in the Hebrew Bible that is itself a product coming from Judean hands. Yet Fleming has much larger goals in mind. This volume is a breath of fresh air that serves as a catalyst for biblicists and historians to look at the Hebrew Bible in dramatically different (even revolutionary) ways when it comes to history."
Theodore J. Lewis, Blum-Iwry Professor and Chair, Department of Near Eastern Studies, The Johns Hopkins University

"For decades the field of biblical studies has been engaged in a series of literary and historical debates regarding the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel, yet there has been little consensus about these subjects. Fleming breaks through this impasse with a remarkably fresh insight into Israel as an association of groups engaged in collective and collaborative politics differing considerably from Judah’s more centralized political life. Fleming also explores several important cross-cultural analogies for Israel’s tradition of collaborative politics from the ancient Near East and traditional societies from Mesoamerica, the American Southwest, and pre-Viking Denmark. For this aspect of his research, Fleming draws heavily on recent theory on power and political organization. This book is a superb piece of scholarship; every chapter marked by deep erudition and engaging insights. No professor or graduate student interested in the Hebrew Bible or ancient Israel can do without it."
Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University

"Scholarly debate about the early history of Israel has run into the sand. Extreme conservatives and radical revisionists shout across each other with little solid gain. The combination of a thoroughly critical analysis of the written sources together with an informed use of archaeological and other sources has been lacking until now. With his major proposal that we should disentangle the account of Israel from the Bible that has come to us from Judah, Fleming has broken this stalemate. While his analysis will no doubt provoke debate, nobody can deny the authority of the scholarship that he displays."
H. G. M. Williamson, Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Oxford

"Fleming offers the reader an important discussion of methodology, insightful historical reconstructions, and arguments for the "genuineness" of early biblical traditions. His approach ultimately represents what Richard Hess calls "critical orthodoxy" in that both the biblical account and critical methodology are given equal footing. Fleming’s mediation of differing interests in reconstructing an ancient Israel will likely spur on countless debates …"
Tad Blacketer, Stone-Campbell Journal

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