The Birth of Israel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The biblical story about the origins of Israel begins with patriarchs (Abraham and his family) and then the Exodus and the conquest of the land under Joshua. Many aspects of these narratives raise problems in that they are not always internally coherent, while other components are not verifiable and some seem to clash with the results of archaeological research. Several very different historical theories have been advanced to account for all this, and these are evaluated in the light of recent discoveries. The maximum that can be stated with some confidence about the origins of Israel in the thirteenth century BCE and onward is then cautiously presented, focusing on the emergence of Israel as a distinct group in Canaan and its self-identification vis-à-vis other groups.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford History of the Holy Land
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780192886866
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Abraham
  • Exodus
  • Habiru
  • Israelite settlement
  • Merneptah stele
  • Shasu

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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