From conquest to emergence: An appraisal of the debate over the historical origins of ancient Israel

Johnston, Brian John Vause (2004) From conquest to emergence: An appraisal of the debate over the historical origins of ancient Israel. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The motivation for this dissertation arose when I was an undergraduate studying at Stirling University. Although I studied many different religions at Stirling, I found that the unit that fascinated me most was one entitled 'The Social World of Ancient Israel.' To me, the most interesting part of the course was a section about the historical origins of ancient Israel, I had not realised that there had been, and still was, such an intense debate over Israel's early history. I was extremely familiar with the biblical account of Israel's origins, as I regularly attended Sunday school classes and Bible Studies as a child, but I was unaware that there were so many problems with the Bible's version of Israel's arrival into history. At that time, I decided that I would like to study the historical origins of ancient Israel at a higher level. My purpose in writing this dissertation, is to give a general introduction to the background of the history of the 'origins' debate that would be of use to someone who is relatively new to the subject. With the limited word count that I had to work with, I have selected the features of the debate that I deemed the most important for the newcomer. This did cause a few headaches with what I had to leave out, the Amorite hypothesis and Noth's amphyctiony are just two of the casualties, but I believe that what is included will give the reader good background knowledge of the subject. The main focus of this dissertation is the relationship between the biblical account and what is known from archaeology. Although comparative anthropology is also a major factor, I have not focussed as much on that side of the debate. I have included certain anthropological arguments, but I have not gone into any great detail about the construction of anthropological models, again, this is mainly due to the limited word count. The scope of the dissertation has been limited to cover from the period of the patriarchs through to the establishment of the United Monarchy. I decided to end the investigation at the United Monarchy, as I believe that this is the moment in time where we can start to talk of an Israel as a self-governing sovereign nation. It is at this point that I believe we can start to talk of Israel entering into real history.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Dr. Alastair Hunter.
Keywords: Religious history, archaeology.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-71172
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2021 10:22
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71172

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