Towards a New History of Israel

  • Jan-Wim Wesselius


The status and use of Primary History (the books Genesis – 2 Kings) as a historical source is highly dependent on its literary nature as a unitary work written after 440 BCE, most probably between 440 and 420, the structure of which apparently derives from and refers to the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassus. Another important literary feature is the peculiar use of alternative versions to indicate uncertainty and doubt about the narrative itself, the result of which used to be regarded as proof for the Documentary Hypothesis. The contrasting absence of such alternatives for much of the history of the ninth-sixth centuries BCE as found in the Books of Kings provides a formal indication that it was meant to give a more or less accurate picture of the period.
How to Cite
Wesselius, J.-W. (2001). Towards a New History of Israel. The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, 3. Retrieved from