Asher book dating
Some archaeologists such as Eilat Mazar continue to take this "Bible and spade" approach, or, like the journal Bible and Spade, attempt to treat archaeology as a tool for proving the Bible's accuracy, Egypt in the 15th century BC, the time of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan as described in the Book of Joshua according to the Biblical chronology.
Early biblical archaeology was conducted with the presumption that the Bible must be true, finds only being considered as illustrations for the biblical narrative, and interpreting evidence to fit the Bible.Although archaeological results, and Assyrian records, suggest that the Kingdom of Israel was the greater of the two, it is the Kingdom of Judah which is afforded greater prominence by Genesis, whose narratives concentrate on Abraham, Jerusalem, Judah (the patriarch), and Hebron, more than on characters and places from the northern kingdom (Israel); the Bible Unearthed explains this pre-eminence of Yahwist text as an attempt to seize the opportunity, afforded by the destruction of Israel in 720 BCE, to portray the Israelites as a single people, with Judah having (always) had primacy.The book remarks that, despite modern archaeological investigations and the meticulous ancient Egyptian records from the period of Ramesses II, there is an obvious lack of any archaeological evidence for the migration of a band of semitic people across the Sinai Peninsula, except for the Hyksos.The Bible Unearthed begins by considering what it terms the 'preamble' of the Bible—the Book of Genesis—and its relationship to archaeological evidence for the context in which its narratives are set.Archaeological discoveries about society and culture in the ancient Near East lead the authors to point out a number of anachronisms, suggestive that the narratives were actually set down in the 9th–7th centuries: The book comments that this corresponds with the documentary hypothesis, in which textual scholarship argues for the majority of the first five biblical books being written between the 8th and 6th centuries.Judah was flooded with refugees; the population of Israel had been nine times larger than that of Judah, so many small Judean villages suddenly became cities, The social and religious struggles, which obviously would occur with such a large influx of population, are not mentioned by the Bible.
Finkelstein and Silberman argue that the priests of Jerusalem began to promote Yahweh-based monolatry, aligning themselves with king Hezekiah's anti-Assyrian views, perhaps because they believed that Assyrian domination of Israel had caused social injustice, or perhaps because they just wanted to gain economic and/or political control over the newly wealthy countryside; Hezekiah advanced their agenda, banning the worship of deities other than Yahweh, destroying the hilltop shrines, actions which The Bible Unearthed views as preparation for rebelling against Assyria.
an archaeological reconstruction of the distinct histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, highlighting the largely neglected history of the Omride Dynasty and attempting to show how the influence of Assyrian imperialism in the region set in motion a chain of events that would eventually make the poorer, more remote, and more religiously conservative kingdom of Judah the belated center of the cultic and national hopes of all Israel.
the approach and conclusions of The Bible Unearthed are not particularly new.
Although the Hyksos are in some ways a good match, their main centre being at Avaris (later renamed 'Pi-Ramesses'), in the heart of the region corresponding to the 'land of Goshen', and Manetho later writing that the Hyksos eventually founded the Temple in Jerusalem, Finkelstein and Silberman argue that instead of the Israelites conquering Canaan after the Exodus (as suggested by the book of Joshua), most of them had in fact always been there; the Israelites were simply Canaanites who developed into a distinct culture.
Recent surveys of long-term settlement patterns in the Israelite heartlands show no sign of violent invasion or even peaceful infiltration, but rather a sudden demographic transformation about 1200 BCE in which villages appear in the previously unpopulated highlands; these settlements have a similar appearance to modern Bedouin camps, suggesting that the inhabitants were once pastoral nomads, driven to take up farming by the Late Bronze Age collapse of the Canaanite city-culture.
The methodology applied by the authors is historical criticism with an emphasis on archaeology.