The contribution of royal inscriptions for a re-evaluation of the book of kings as a historical source

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Abstract

The article examines the corpus of ancient Near Eastern royal inscriptions that refer directly to the histories of Israel and Judah in the late-tenth-ninth centuries BCE as a sample for examining the account of the book of Kings. It indicates that royal inscriptions are indispensable sources for evaluating the authenticity of the biblical history, as well as for tracing the sources available to the Dtr historian. The historian had some written sources, most of them for the history of the kingdom of Judah, on which he based his history of the late-tenth-ninth centuries BCE. But the number of sources at his disposal was small and the amount of material they contained was quite limited. In order to write a linear and continuous history of the two kingdoms, he filled in the many gaps by logical inferences 'borrowed' from the existing sources. Royal inscriptions indicate that some inferences are incompatible with the historical reality. Only by combining the biblical text with all other sources can we try to reconstruct, in spite of the many question marks, the history of the two kingdoms in that early period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalJournal for the Study of the Old Testament
Volume24
Issue number82
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Mar 1999

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