Books on Modern Biblical Scholarship


Who Wrote the Bible? (Richard Elliott Friedman)

An outstanding introduction to modern Biblical scholarship for the general reader. The book names names, actually trying to identify the individuals responsible for the major sources that were combined to form the Bible as we know it.

The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel (Israel Finkelstein)

From the Book Description: "This book presents the first comprehensive history of the northern kingdom and description of the archaeology of northern Israel from the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1350 B.C.E.) until the kingdom's fall in 720 B.C.E. and beyond. It tells the story of the northern kingdom primarily in its formative phases. The narrative is based in archaeology and makes use of the most updated field research, with the addition of what is known from ancient Near Eastern and biblical texts. Finkelstein's thirty years of fieldwork in sites related to the northern kingdom have paved the way for a new understanding of the history and archaeology of ancient Israel."

The Bible Unearthed (Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman)

Like Who Wrote the Bible?, provides an excellent introduction to modern scholarship, with a focus on the meaning of major archaeological discoveries.

From the Book Description: "In this iconoclastic and provocative work, leading scholars Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman draw on recent archaeological research to present a dramatically revised portrait of ancient Israel and its neighbors. They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts."

The Bible with Sources Revealed (Richard Elliott Friedman)

A translation of the Five Books of Moses, in which every word is ascribed to one of the major sources. An outstanding tool for readers seeking to sort out which Biblical authors told which versions of which stories.

How to Read the Bible (James Kugel)

From the Book Description: "In How to Read the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the reader chapter by chapter through the "quiet revolution" of recent biblical scholarship, showing time and again how radically the interpretations of today's researchers differ from what people have always thought. . . .Such findings pose a serious problem for adherents of traditional, Bible-based faiths. Hiding from the discoveries of modern scholars seems dishonest, but accepting them means undermining much of the Bible's reliability and authority as the word of God. What to do? In his search for a solution, Kugel leads the reader back to a group of ancient biblical interpreters who flourished at the end of the biblical period. Far from naïve, these interpreters consciously set out to depart from the original meaning of the Bible's various stories, laws, and prophecies -- and they, Kugel argues, hold the key to solving the dilemma of reading the Bible today."

The Source (James A. Michener)

The classic novel based on the findings from the archaeogical dig at Megiddo (Armageddon). In classic Michener style, the book is woven together from short stories that take place at the same geographic location at various points throughout history. This book is also available in an audio edition.