It is often the work of biblical literalists to find harmonies and agreements in the scriptural record. Others seek, and celebrate, the differing views of the biblical writers. Freund, professor of archeology, history and Judaic studies, and director of Jewish studies at the University of Hartford, has put together a masterful and eminently readable study of these differences, not to resolve them, but rather to explore the rich traditions that produced these writings. In an invaluable introductory chapter, he leads the reader through the world of biblical archeology, examining the methods of textual criticism and historical research. He then explores the biblical and archeological foundations for our understandings of such notables as Abraham, David, Jesus, Mary and many others. Freund's quest for history brings him also to Qumran and to the search for "the teacher of righteousness." He masterfully studies the rise and centrality of the synagogue system within the Hebrew community. His conclusions may be discomfiting to some, but his commitment to objective research and sound exegesis will surely inspire and inform every reader. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Digging Through the Bible: Understanding Biblical People, Places, and Controversies through Archaeologyby Richard A. Freund
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Many of our religious beliefs are based on faith alone, but archaeology gives the opportunity to find evidence about what really happened in the distant past-evidence that can have a dramatic impact on what and how we believe. Join celebrated archaeologist and rabbi Richard Fruend as he takes readers through digs he has led in the Holy Land, searching for evidence about key biblical characters and events. Digging Through the Bible presents overviews of the evidence surrounding figures such as Moses, Kings David and Solomon, and Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as new information that can help us more fully understand the life and times in which these people would have lived. Freund also presents new evidence about finding the grave of the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and gives a compelling argument about how the Exodus of the Israelites may have taken place in three separate waves over time, rather than in a single event as presented in the Bible. In addition to discussing some of the greatest Biblical controversies of our day, Freund provides a compelling discussion of how to understand these debates and how much information is necessary to form new conclusions about the past. An engaging introduction to the practice of Biblical archaeology, Digging Through the Bible shares information about the Holy Land that can provide a powerful connection between past history and present faith.
Well-known biblical archaeologist Freund (archaeology & Judaic studies, Univ. of Hartford) applies his considerable historical and archaeological knowledge to controversial archaeological claims and their further uses (and abuses) in biblical studies. For him, archaeological data are no more self-evident or self-explanatory than the Bible itself: "The fact that material culture and writings are ancient ... and can be 'discovered' is equated in students' minds as being verifiable, quantifiable, and therefore scientific and true. Nothing could be farther from reality." He shows the subjective influences of historians, theologians, and archaeologists in interpreting their data when seeking to prove (or disprove) the truth of the Bible. Women, for example, are poorly represented textually, and therefore archaeology has limited efficacy for enlightening our view. Conversely, despite historical claims to the contrary, literary and archaeological evidence suggests that synagogues as well as churches practiced incense burning through the fourth century C.E. Well written and researched, this book seems more popular than scholarly in nature. Recommended for religion and popular collections where interest in biblical archaeology is strong.
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Meet the Author
Richard A. Freund is Maurice Greenberg Professor of Jewish History and director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. He is the author of several books on biblical archaeology and has been featured on NOVA, CNN, and the History and Discovery Channels.
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