On The Problems of Reconstructing Pre-Hellenistic Israelite (Palestinian) History

Niels Peter Lemche


The biblical picture of ancient Israel does not fit in,
but is contrary to any image of ancient Palestinian society that can be
established on the basis of ancient sources from Palestine or referring to
Palestine. There is no way this image in the Bible can be reconciled with the
historical past of the region. And if this is the case, we should give up the
hope that we can reconstruct pre-Hellenistic history on the basis of the Old
Testament. It is simply an invented history with only a few referents to things
that really happened or existed. From an historian’s point of view, ancient
Israel is a monstrous creature. It is something sprung out of the fantasy of
biblical historiographers and their modern paraphrasers, i.e., the
historical-critical scholars of the last two hundred years.

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