The Invention of Ancient Israel by Keith W. Whitelam

The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History
by Keith W. Whitelam

This study shows how the true history of ancient Palestine has been obscured by the search for Israel. The author demonstrates how ancient Israel has been invented by scholars in the image of a European nation state, influenced by the realization of the state of Israel in 1948. The text explores the theological and political assumptions which have shaped research into ancient Israel by Biblical scholars, and contributed to the network of scholarship which Said identified as Orientalist discourse. This study concentrates on two periods from the end of the late Bronze Age to the Iron Age, a so-called period of the emergence of ancient Israel and the rise of an Israelite state under David, to show how classic treatments have invented Israel in the image of a modern European state. It explores the prospects for developing the study of Palestinian history as a subject in its own right, divorced from the history of the Bible. It argues that Biblical scholars, through their traditional view of this area, have contributed to dispossession both of a Palestinian land and a Palestinian past.

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