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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

Summary

Archaeological findings have radically changed modern scholarly presentation of early Israel, for archaeological evidence has virtually replaced the non-contemporary biblical account for the early period. The Bible is no longer the lens through which the archaeologist interprets the evidence, and biblical scholars have reappraised the value of the biblical texts for the reconstruction of Israel's history (for a discussion of recent ‘minimalism’ among biblical historians see Bartlett 2004). The New Testament period is shorter in span, and its authors are closer to their subject, the gospel writers being two or at most three generations after Jesus. In this field, archaeology has illuminated the details rather than corrected the framework. The exception is the discovery at Qumran and the writings associated with it, which has added a new dimension to our knowledge of Jewish sectarian belief and practice in late Second Temple period, and offered new scope to textual critics. Qumran will be examined in a separate section. It is fair to note that in the last half-century, archaeology has ceased to be concerned with defending the essential historicity of the biblical story, but has sometimes been used for modern political ends, to the equal dismay of its scholarly practitioners.

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Oxford University Press

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