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The origins and nature of Ancient Israel's culture and society are hotly debated, and show no sign of cooling. But there is much that can be said, and needs to be said if one isto understand not only the debates, but the culture itself. In this book Ancient Canaan and Israel, Jonathan Golden introduces us to this once great and flourishing civilization. Comprehensive in scope, this book provides informative and scholarly introductions to Levantine geography, its historical setting, and an outline of the various cultures that have dominated the Levant throughout history. To accomplish this, Golden also outlines, in historical progression, the various economies, social structures, political entities, religions, and material culture that have influenced and shaped the history of this region.
Where did the Israelites originate? What was the fate of the Canaanites? In this revealing introduction, Jonathan M. Golden tackles these and other hotly debated questions. Drawing on the extensive and often surprising archeological record, he looks at daily life in antiquity, providing rich portraits of the role of women, craft production, metallurgy, technology, political and social organization, trade, and religious practices. Golden traces the great religious traditions that emerged in this region back to their most ancient roots, drawing on the evidence of scriptures and other texts as well as the archeological record. Though the scriptures stress the primacy of Israel, the author considers the Canaanites and Philistines as well, examining the differences between highland and coastal cultures and the cross-fertilization between societies. He offers a clear, objective look at the evidence for the historical accuracy of the biblical narrative, based on the latest thinking among archeologists worldwide.
Jonathan M. Golden is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Caspersen Centers at Drew University.