The Invention of Ancient Israel, the Silencing of Palestinian History Roy Bard



Sheffield PSC last night hosted a talk by Professor Keith Whitelam, author of The Invention of Ancient Israel, the Silencing of Palestinian History and Palestine, the Bible and the Imperial Imagination.
Keith Whitelam’s book has caused some controversy in academic circles, as explained by Simon Targett

Like other sceptics, Whitelam, a soft-spoken Quaker with a Lincolnshire lilt, contends that ancient Israel is an invention of modern scholarship. He believes that the picture of a thriving Iron Age Jewish kingdom headed by David and Solomon is “a fiction”. Unlike other sceptics, he goes one key step further, contending that the scholarly debate has been driven by a dominant “biblical discourse” fuelled by a tankful of “unspoken and unacknowledged” assumptions. The main effect, he says, has been “the silencing of Palestinian history”.
According to Whitelam, the history of Palestine has been distorted by the deference shown to the Hebrew Bible. All the great biblical scholars – from the earliest explorers like Edward Robinson through mid-century biblical specialists like the German Albrecht Alt and the American William Albright, to modern scholars like Israel Finkelstein – have been diverted by the search for ancient Israel, and particularly the Davidic empire. This search, he maintains, has sometimes been underpinned by more controversial political assumptions, which have a bearing on the fraught contemporary politics of the Near East.

The audio provides an interesting introductions to the ideas that Professor Whitelam explores in his book, along with some up to date commentary.

In case you missed it:
Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis: “The Bible Came From Arabia”,
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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