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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.