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An Archaeology of Ancient Thought: On the Hebrew Bible and the History of Ancient Israel

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2022

Daniel Pioske*
Georgia Southern University;


The question of how to approach the Hebrew Bible as a source for the histories we write of ancient Israel continues to divide scholars. This study responds to such concerns by pursuing an approach informed by a historicized view of knowledge, or a framework in which the claims we make are understood to be reflective of the eras in which they are realized. What this line of research encourages, I argue, are historical investigations into the underlying modes of knowing that would have contributed to the stories told in the biblical writings. Since knowledge about the past is itself historical, this study contends that it is necessary to situate such claims in time, examining the normative assumptions of an era that establish the parameters by which this knowledge is organized and granted credibility. The epistemic conditions that gave rise to the stories recounted in the Hebrew Bible are as much an object of historical interest, on this view, as the stories themselves for assessments of what evidence they might offer.

© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the President and Fellows of Harvard College

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The history of knowledge can only be written … in terms of conditions and a priori established in time. 1


I am indebted to Elaine James, Paul Kurtz, Andrew Tobolowsky, Ian Wilson, and two anonymous reviewers of this journal for their incisive readings and comments.


1 Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses: Une archéologie des sciences humaines (Paris: Gallimard, 1966) 221.

2 So Fleming remarks at the outset of his study, “The Bible would make a fascinating source, if only we could figure out how to use it as such” (Daniel Fleming, The Legacy of Israel in Judah ’s Bible: History, Politics, and the Reinscribing of Tradition [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012] 3). More recently, Tobolowsky writes, “Therefore, it is the case now as it was twenty years ago that the major vectors of inquiry into ancient Israelite history are how much or how little to believe biblical texts, and how to privilege biblical or extrabiblical evidence respectively” (Andrew Tobolowsky, “Israelite and Judahite History in Contemporary Theoretical Approaches,” CurBR 17 [2018] 33-58, at 34).

3 See, for example, Dever’s recent attempt to move “beyond the texts” for the history of ancient Israel and Judah because of these writings’ “tendentious” and “propagandistic” character (William Dever, Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah [Atlanta: SBL Press, 2017] 5, 18). But others express similar sentiments. Finkelstein’s recent history of the northern kingdom, for example, is written so as to avoid the “poorly told” and “ideologically twisted” stories found in the biblical writings (Israel Finkelstein, The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel [ANEM 5; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2013] 5, 159), and, from a different angle, Faust expresses a desire to develop his history by way of an “agenda uninfluenced by the written sources” (Avraham Faust, Israel’s Ethnogenesis: Settlement, Interaction, Expansion, and Resistance [Approaches to Anthropological Archaeology; London: Equinox, 2006] 5).

4 For a fine overview of this orientation among historians, see Ian D. Wilson, “History and the Hebrew Bible: Culture, Narrative, and Memory,” Brill Research Perspectives in Biblical Interpretation 3.2 (2018) 1-69, at 38-48.

5 Mario Liverani, Israel ’s History and the History of Israel (trans. Chira Peri and Philip Davies; London: Equinox, 2003) 250-362. Cf. E. A. Knauf and Philippe Guillaume, A History of Biblical Israel: The Fate of the Tribes and Kingdoms from Merenptah to Bar Kochba (Sheffield: Equinox, 2016). In some sense, this distinction can be traced to P. Davies’s separation of a “literary” Israel fashioned by the biblical writers from a “historical” Israel recovered by modern historians, with the latter being motivated by “discovering how, and then how far, one might set about recovering history from the literature.” Philip Davies, In Search of “Ancient Israel” (JSOTSup 148; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992) 17, 25.

6 On the pursuit of historical cores and kernels, see, for example, J. Maxwell Miller and John Hays, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (Louisville: Westminster, 1986) 127, 129, 161; Nadav Na’aman, “Prophetic Stories as Sources for the Histories of Jehoshaphat and the Omrides,” Biblica 78 (1997) 153-73; Amihai Mazar, “The Spade and the Text: The Interaction between Archaeology and Israelite History Relating to the Tenth-Ninth Centuries BCE,” in Understanding the History of Ancient Israel (ed. H. G. M. Williamson; Proceedings of the British Academy 143; Oxford: British Academy, 2007) 143-71.

7 Though heirs to earlier thinkers, the seminal works of Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (4th ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), and Foucault’s Order of Things remain touchstones for contemporary discussions surrounding the history of knowledge.

8 Manfred Weippert, “Fragen des israelitischen Geschichtsbewusstseins,” VT 23 (1973) 415-42, at 417-18.

9 Weippert’s essay seeks to understand the “premises, motivation, and methods” behind how the biblical scribes developed their stories about the past, or insights into what Weippert terms the Hebrew Bible’s “Geschichtsbewusstsein” (Weippert, “Fragen,” 416, 418). The conclusions of this study depart substantially from Weippert’s, but a historical interest in how the biblical writers conceptualized the past is indebted to Weippert’s work, among others.

10 John Van Seters, In Search of History: Historiography in the Ancient World and the Origins of Biblical History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983).

11 Van Seters, In Search, 1.

12 Ibid., 1-7, 354.

13 Ibid., 4-5.

14 Ibid., 355.

15 Ibid., 359.

16 Ibid., 359.

17 Ibid., 359.

18 Ibid., 362 (italics added).

19 Eduard Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums ([5] vols.; 4th ed.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1965) 2.2:284.

20 Meyer, Geschichte, 281.

21 Ibid., 284. So Meyer observes the “grotesque manner” in which these “durch und durch profanen Texte dem Judentum und dem Christentum als heilige Schriften gelten” [“thoroughgoing secular texts were considered as sacred scripture in Judaism and Christianity”] (285).

22 Ibid., 283.

23 Ibid., 284.

24 Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature (trans. Willard Trask; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953; repr., 2003).

25 Auerbach, Mimesis, 19.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid., 20.

30 Hermann Gunkel, “Geschichtsschreibung im A.T.,” in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, (ed. Hermann Gunkel; 5 vols.; Tübingen: Mohr, 1909-13) 2:1348-54; Hugo Gressmann, “The Oldest History Writing in Israel,” in Narrative and Novella in Samuel: Studies by Hugo Gressmann and Other Scholars 1906—1923 (trans. David Orton; ed. David Gunn; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991) 9-58.

31 Gunkel (“Geschichtsschreibung,” 1351) marvels at the “amazingly objective” character of biblical storytelling and its “impartiality.” Gressmann, for his part, contends that history writing is defined principally by the political subject matter it pursues: “the eye rests above all on political figures and events, and on the experiences of individuals connected with them.” Gressmann, “Oldest History Writing,” 14.

32 Gunkel, “Geschichtsschreibung,” 1350, 1352; Gressmann, “Oldest History Writing,” 15.

33 Gerhard von Rad, “The Beginnings of Historical Writing in Ancient Israel,” in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (trans. E. W. Trueman Dicken; London: SCM, 1964 [1944]) 166-204.

34 Ibid., 195.

35 Ibid., 203.

36 Ibid., 167.

37 Gunkel, “Geschichtsschreibung,” 1348.

38 Thomas Macaulay, The History of England (1848-61; repr., New York: Penguin, 1979); Jules Michelet, Histoire de France (19 vols.; Paris: Chamerot, 1835-67); Leopold von Ranke, Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation (6 vols.; Leipzig: Duncker und Humbolt, 1842-69).

39 On the rise of histories devoted to ancient Israel in the 19th and 20th centuries, see Jean-Louis Ska, “The ‘History of Israel’: Its Emergence as an Independent Discipline,” in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament III/I: The Nineteenth Century—a Century of Modernism and Historicism (ed. Magne Saeb0; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013) 307-45.

40 Baruch Halpern, The First Historians: The Hebrew Bible and History (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988); Marc Brettler, The Creation of History in Ancient Israel (London: Routledge, 1995).

41 David Damrosch, The Narrative Covenant: Transformations of Genre in the Growth of Biblical Literature (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987).

42 The bibliography is too substantial to cite here, but for representative studies see Diana

Edelman, “Clio’s Dilemma: The Changing Face of Historiography,” in Congress Volume, 1998 (eds. André Lemaire and Magne Saeb0; Leiden: Brill, 1999) 247-55; Nadav Na’aman, The Past that Shapes the Present: The Creation of Biblical Historiography in the Late First Temple Period and After the Downfall (Jerusalem: Arna Hess, 2002 [Hebrew]); idem, Ancient Israel’s History and Historiography: The First Temple Period (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2006); Jens Kofoed, Text and History: Historiography and the Study of the Biblical Text (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2005); André Heinrich, David und Klio: Historiographische Elemente in der Aufstiegsgeschichte Davids und im Alten Testament (BZAW 401; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009); Simeon Chavel, Oracular Law and Priestly Historiography in the Torah (FAT 2/71;Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014); Raymond Person, “Biblical Historiography as Traditional History,” in The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Narrative (ed. Danna Nolan Fewell; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) 73-83.

43 Edward Greenstein, “On the Genesis of Biblical Prose Narrative,” Prooftexts 8 (1988) 347-54; idem, “The Formation of the Biblical Narrative Corpus,” AJS Review 15 (1990) 165-78; Mark Smith, “Biblical Narrative Between Ugaritic and Akkadian Literature: Part I. Ugarit and the Bible,” RB 114 (2007) 5-29; idem, “Biblical Narrative Between Ugaritic and Akkadian Literature: Part II. Mesopotamian Impact on Biblical Narrative,” RB 114 (2007) 189-207.

44 Robert Kawashima, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode (ISBL; Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004) 35-76.

45 Peter Machinist, “The Voice of the Historian in the Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean

World,” Interpretation 57 (2003) 117-37.

46 Adele Berlin, Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1994) 23-82; Yairah Amit, Reading Biblical Narratives: Literary Criticism and the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001) 69-92; Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative (rev. ed.; New York: Basic Books, 2011) 143-62; Tod Linafelt, The Hebrew Bible as Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) 33-36.

47 Van Seters, In Search of History; Halpern, First Historians'; Tomoo Ishida, History and Historical Writing in Ancient Israel: Studies in Biblical Historiography (Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient Near East 16; Leiden: Brill, 1999); Brettler, Creation of History.

48 Brettler is well aware of the problem—it may, he writes, “be best to avoid the term ‘history’ for the Bible and, perhaps, the pre-Hellenistic ancient world.” Nevertheless, Brettler opts to offer an “open-ended” definition of history as “a depiction of a past” so as to evade the constraints modern historical understandings impose on ancient literature. The difficulty with this open-endedness is that it evades the problem of the historical character of historical knowledge, thereby offering an understanding of history that is, somewhat ironically, fundamentally ahistorical. M. Brettler, “The Hebrew Bible and History,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (ed. S. Chapman and M. Sweeney; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016) 109.

49 David Fishelov, Metaphors of Genre: The Role of Analogies in Genre Theory (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993) 19-52; F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, “Darwinism, Genre Theory, and City Laments,” JAOS 120 (2000) 625-30; Carol Newsom, “Spying Out the Land: A Report from Genology,” in Bakhtin and Genre Theory in Biblical Studies (ed. Roland Boer; SemeiaSt 63; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2007) 19-30.

50 Roland Barthes, “The Discourse of History,” in The Rustle of Language (trans. Richard Howard; New York: Hill and Wang, 1986) 127-140, at 127. Ricoeur poses a similar question: “How does history, in its literary writing, succeed in distinguishing itself from fiction?” (Paul Ricoeur,

Memory, History, Forgetting [trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004] 190).

51 On this point, see also Hayden White, “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,” Clio 3 (1974) 277-303; idem, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (2nd ed.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2014) 1-44.

52 Barthes, “Discourse,” 139.

53 Ibid.

54 “Hence, we arrive at that paradox which governs the entire pertinence of historical discourse (in relation to other types of discourse): fact never has any but a linguistic existence (as the term of discourse), yet everything happens as if this linguistic existence were merely a pure and simple ‘copy’ of another existence, situated in an extra-structural field, the ‘real’” (ibid., 138).

55 Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, 277.

56 Ibid., 277.

57 Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology (trans. D.M.G. Stalker; 2 vols.; New York: Harper & Row, 1965) 2:418.

58 Ibid., 427.

59 Ibid., 417.

60 Ibid.

61 Ibid., 418 [italics added].

62 Ibid., 424.

63 Ibid., 417.

64 Gerhard von Rad, “Offene Fragen im Umkreis einer Theologie des Alten Testaments,” in Gesammelte Studien zum Alten Testament (2 vols.; München: C. Kaiser, 1973) 2:299. I am indebted to Blum’s fine study for drawing this article to my attention (Erhard Blum, “Historiography or Poetry? The Nature of the Hebrew Bible Prose Tradition,” in Memory in the Bible and Antiquity [ed. Loren Stuckenbruck et al.; WUNT 212; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007] 25-46).

65 So already the methodological comments in W. L. M. de Wette, Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament (2 vols.; Halle: Schimmelpfennig, 1807) 2:3-18. Cf. Rudolf Smend, “Elemente alttestamentlichen Geschichtsdenkens,” in Die Mitte des Alten Testaments: Exegetische Aufsätze (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002) 89-114; Erhard Blum, “Die Stimme des Autors in den

Geschichtsüberlieferungen des Alten Testaments,” in Historiographie in der Antike (ed. Klaus-Peter Adam; BZAW 373; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008) 107-30.

66 Yosef Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (2nd ed.; New York: Schocken, 1989).

67 Yosef Yerushalmi, “Clio and the Jews: Reflections on Jewish Historiography in the Sixteenth Century,” PAAJR 46/47 (1979-1980) 607-638.

68 Yerushalmi, Zakhor, 6.

69 Ibid., xxxiv.

70 Ibid., 12.

71 Ibid., 10.

72 Ibid., 81.

73 Ibid., 81-103.

74 Ibid., 89.

75 Ibid., 89 (italics added).

76 Ibid., 101.

77 Ibid., xxxvii.

78 See especially Gutting’s discussion of the influence of Canguilhem and Bachelard on Foucault’s thought in Gary Gutting, Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Scientific Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) 9-54.

79 Foucault, Order of Things, xxiii-xxiv, 33-35, 78-83, 413-21.

80 Ibid., xxiv-xxv, 33-34, 396-400.

81 Ibid., 55, 121, 239. Cf. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (trans. A.M. Smith; 2nd ed.; London: Routledge, 2002) 4-6, 157-58.

82 Foucault, Order of Things, x.

83 Ibid., xii.

84 Ibid., 136-79.

85 Ibid., xxv.

86 Ibid., 238.

87 Ibid., xii.

88 Ibid., 285.

89 Ibid., xxiv-xxvi. Cf. Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 7-8, 151-56.

90 Foucault, Order of Things, xxiii.

91 Michel Foucault, History of Madness (ed. Jean Khalfa; trans. Jonathan Murphy and Jean Khalfa; London: Routledge, 2006); idem, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception (trans. A.M. Smith; New York: Vintage Books, 1975). My interest here is in the early work of Foucault whose concerns centered more directly on matters of epistemology than in his later writings. But even in Foucault’s somewhat later essay on genealogical method, for example, we find an interest in “excavating the dregs” (fouillant les bas-fonds) of history, of recognizing in history “its jolts, its surprises, its staggering victories and defeats so difficult to absorb”—that find continuity with his earlier remarks on an archaeological method. Michel Foucault, “Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire,” in Hommage à Jean Hyppolite (ed. Suzanne Bachelard et al.; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971) 145-72, at 150.

92 Foucault, Order of Things, xi, xxi-xxv, 60-66; idem, Archaeology of Knowledge, 9-18.

93 Foucault, Order of Things, xiv, xxiv-xvi, 82-83, 144-45, 264-66, 299-301. Cf. idem, Archaeology of Knowledge, 12, 129-31.

94 Foucault, Order of Things, xxiii.

95 Michel de Certeau, “The Black Sun of Language: Foucault,” in Heterologies: Discourse on the Other (trans. Brian Massumi; Theory and History of Literature 17; Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986) 171-84, at 174. See also Hayden White, “Foucault Decoded: Notes from Underground,” History and Theory 12.1 (1973) 23-54.

96 Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 49.

97 Among historians in other disciplines, such investigations are increasingly common. For the explicit influence of Foucault on these projects, see comments in Leonard Barkan, Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999) xxi-xxiii; Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Idea of Provincializing Europe,” and “Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History,” in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton Studies in Culture/History/Power; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000) 3-23, at 6; 27-46, at 27-42; Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006) 500-501; Zachary Schiffman, The Birth of the Past (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) 277. Hartog writes of how Foucault’s Order of Things “still speaks to us, inviting us to take his work further, elsewhere, in different ways, and with different questions” (François Hartog, Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and the Experience of Time [trans. Saskia Brown; European Perspectives; New York: Columbia University Press, 2015] 2).

98 Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 15.

99 The difficulty with studies that equate biblical storytelling with literary fiction (Thomas Thompson, Mythic Past: Biblical Archaeology and the Myth of Israel [New York: Basic Books, 1999] xv), political spin-doctors (William Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005] 71), or Shakespeare (Philip Davies, In Search, 23-24) is that they suffer from the same problem of anachronism that besets works that link the biblical past with modern understandings of history.

100 Paul Veyne, Did the Greeks Believe in their Myths? An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination (trans. Paula Wissing; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988) 105.

101 “Our contemporary concept of history,” Koselleck writes in his seminal study, “together with its numerous zones of meaning, which in part are mutually exclusive, was first constituted toward the end of the 18th century. It is an outcome of the lengthy theoretical reflections of the Enlightenment” (Reinhard Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time [trans. Keith Tribe; New York: Columbia University Press, 2004] 194).

102 Foucault, Order of Things, xi.

103 To observe that the writings of the Hebrew Bible do not “have the understanding of history” (Niels Lemche, Ancient Israel: A New History of Israel [2nd ed.; London: T&T Clark, 2015] 65) that arises in the modern period is necessary, then, but insufficient. What requires further reflection is what this “understanding of history” might be—its commitments, premises, practices—and how this modern understanding is distinct from what is found in the Hebrew Bible. Such necessary considerations are, however, absent in this work.

104 That other ways were possible but not for those who wrote these ancient stories is an argument that lies at the center of Foucault’s work. No more than a Marx or Linnaeus, that is, could the biblical writers transcend the limits imposed on their thinking by the period in which they wrote. On this, see Foucault, Order of Things, xvi, 33-35, 172-77, 235-71; idem, Archaeology of Knowledge, 6-19, 34-78, 196-215. The notion of epistemological “limits” can of course be traced to Kant’s emphasis on them (Immanuel Kant, “Preface to the Second Edition,” in Critique of Pure Reason [trans. Paul Guyer and Allen Wood; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998] 106-24). But with Foucault we come across the impulse to historicize what Kant regarded as transcendental.

105 E.g., Emmanuel Tov, Scribal Practices andApproaches Reflected in Texts Found in the Judean

Desert (Leiden: Brill, 2004); David Carr, Writing on the Tablet of the Heart: Origins of Scripture and Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); idem, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Karel van der Toorn, Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007); Seth Sanders, The Invention of Hebrew (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2009); Sara Milstein, Tracking the Master Scribe: Revision Through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature (Oxford: University of Oxford Press, 2016); William Schniedewind, The Finger of the Scribe: How Scribes Learned to Write the Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).

106 Susan Niditch, Oral World and Written Word: Ancient Israelite Literature (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996); Frank Polak, “The Oral and the Written: Syntax, Stylistics, and the Development of Biblical Prose Narrative,” JANES 26 (1998) 59-105; idem, “Book, Scribe, and Bard: Oral Discourse and Written Text in Recent Biblical Scholarship,” Prooftexts 31 (2011) 118-40; Raymond Person, The Deuteronomistic History and the Book of Chronicles: Scribal Works in an Oral World (AIL 6; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2010); Robert Miller, Oral Tradition in Ancient Israel (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2011); F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, On Biblical Poetry (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015) 233-325.

107 Jeffrey Geoghegan, “‘Until This Day’ and the Preexilic Redaction of the Deuteronomistic History,” JBL 122 (2003) 201-27; Erasmus Gaß, Die Ortsnamen des Richterbuchs in historischer und redaktioneller Perspektive (ADPV 35; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005); Stephen Russell, The King and the Land: A Geography of Royal Power in the Biblical World (New York: Oxford, 2016).

108 On this method of assemblage and its theoretical underpinnings, see Daniel Pioske, “The ‘High Court’ of Ancient Israel’s Past: Archaeology, Texts, and the Question of Priority,” JHS 19 (2019) 1-25.

109 Other references to the location include those in connection with Abiathar (1 Kgs 2:27) and Jeroboam I (1 Kgs 14:2-4) in the Book of Kings, and Psalm 78 (78:60).

110 Wellhausen’s influential conclusions attributed passages from Joshua (e.g., 18:1, 11-25; 20; 21; 22:9-34) to P (Julius Wellhausen, Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der historischen Bücher des Alten Testaments [2nd ed.; Berlin: G. Reimer, 1899] 119-33). More recent scholarship has often followed suit (see, for example, Menahem Haran, “Shiloh and Jerusalem: The Origin of the Priestly Tradition in the Pentateuch,” JBL 81 [1962] 4-24; Reinhard Kratz, The Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament [trans. John Bowden; London: T&T Clark, 2005] 193-96). Dozeman, too, discerns “P-styled” language throughout these chapters (Thomas Dozeman, Joshua 1—12 [AB 6B; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015] 26-27). For an overview of the history of scholarship on this P tradition in Joshua, see the summary in Donald Schley, Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition and History (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989) 101-26 and Ann-Kathrin Knittel, Das erinnerte Heiligtum: Tradition und Geschichte der Kultstätte in Schilo (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019) 13-26.

111 Schley, Shiloh, 132-34; Kratz, Composition, 196; Uwe Becker, Richterzeit und Königtum (BZAW 192; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1990) 257-99.

112 P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., 1 Samuel (AB 8; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980) 18-23; Campbell sees 1 Sam 1-3 as an early component of the “Prophetic Record” that recounts the origins of Samuel (Antony Campbell, 1 Samuel [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003] 327-31); Kratz finds much of 1 Sam 1-7 to be “late (Priestly) expansions … of the Deuteronomistic revisions,” including those references to the House of Eli, Samuel’s youth, and the loss of the ark (Composition, 174); and though Dietrich, too, finds the “spirit and language” of the Deuteronomist to be concentrated among texts in 1 Sam 2-3 (esp. 2:1-11), he nevertheless sees the early stories of Samuel in 1 Sam 1-3 and traditions related to the ark in 1 Sam 4-6 as part of the “Vorgeschichte” that preceded Deuteronomistic reworkings. Walter Dietrich, Samuel: Teilband 1; 1 Sam 1—12 (BKAT 8/1; Neukirchen Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlagsgesellschaff, 2011) 42, 51-56.

113 Bernhard Duhm, Das Buch Jeremia (Tübingen: Mohr, 1907) xvi-xx; Sigmund Mowinckel, Zur Komposition des Buches Jeremia (Kristiana: Jacob Dybwad, 1914) 17-45; Robert Carroll, Jeremiah: A Commentary (OTL; London: SCM, 1986) 38-50. Though for some, such as Bright and Weippert, these prose speeches may reach back to Jeremiah himself (John Bright, “The Date of the Prose Sermons of Jeremiah,” JBL 70 [1951] 15-35; Helga Weippert, Die Prosareden des Jeremiabuches [BZAW 132; Berlin: De Gruyter, 1973] 1-21).

114 Marie-Louise Buhl and Svend Holm-Nielsen, Shiloh: The Danish Excavations at Tall Sailun, Palestine, in 1926, 1929, 1932, and 1963; The Pre-Hellenistic Remains (Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark, 1969); Israel Finkelstein, Shlomo Bunimovitz, and Zvi Lederman, Shiloh: The Archaeology of a Biblical Site (Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 1993). See also discussion of these remains in Knittel, Heiligtum, 31-54.

115 Finkelstein et al., Shiloh, 382.

116 Ibid., Shiloh, 383-84. Cf. Finkelstein, Forgotten Kingdom, 24-25.

117 Ibid., 384-85.

118 Israel Finkelstein and Eliazer Piasetzky, “The Iron I-IIA in the Highlands and Beyond: 14C Anchors, Pottery Phases, and the Shoshenq I Campaign,” Levant 38 (2006) 45-61, at 46-47.

119 Finkelstein et al., Shiloh, 389; Finkelstein, Forgotten Kingdom, 24.

120 Finkelstein et al., Shiloh, 389.

121 Ibid., 382-83.

122 For a monograph-length study of this approach, see now Daniel Pioske, Memory in a Time of Prose: Studies in Epistemology, Hebrew Scribalism, and the Biblical Past (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

123 Already two decades ago Confino could warn of memory becoming a catchword among historians, one in which “the benefit” of its use as an analytical tool “cannot overcome a sense that

the term ‘memory’ is depreciated by surplus use, while memory studies lack a clear focus and have become somewhat predictable” (Alon Confino, “Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method,” AHR 102 [1997] 1386-1403, at 1387). On this problem, see also Jay Winter, “The Memory Boom in Contemporary Historical Studies,” Raritan 21 (2001) 52-66.

124 That is, to ca. 1050 BCE, which conforms well to radiocarbon dating of the site. W. F. Albright, “New Israelite and Pre-Israelite Sites: The Spring Trip of 1929,” BASOR 35 (1929) 1-14, at 4.

125 On the “exercise of memory,” see Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, 56-92.

126 Maurice Halbwachs, La topographie légendaire des Évangiles en Terre Sainte: Étude de mémoire collective (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1941) esp. 149-65; Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, 56-92, 443-56; Astrid Erll and Anne Rigney, “Introduction: Cultural Memory and its Dynamics,” in Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (Media and Cultural Memory 10; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009) 1-14; Astrid Erll, “Traveling Memory,” Parallax 17.4 (2011) 4-18.

127 So especially Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory (ed. Lewis Coser; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992) 213-14.

128 Gregor Feindt et al., “Entangled Memory: Toward a Third Wave in Memory Studies,” History and Theory 53 (2014) 24-44.

129 Edward Casey, Remembering: A Phenomenological Study (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987) 181-215; Yannis Hamilakis and Jo Labanyi, “Introduction: Time, Materiality, and the Work of Memory,” History & Memory 20.2 (2008) 1-17; Jay Winter, “Sites of Memory,” in Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates (eds. Susannah Radstone and Bill Schwartz; New York: Fordham University Press, 2010) 312-24.

130 See, for example, Maurice Halbwachs, La mémoire collective (2nd ed.; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968) 130-67; Casey, Remembering, 181-215; Ricoeur,Memory, History, Forgetting, 36-44; Gérôme Truc, “Memory of Places and Places of Memory: For a Halbwachsian Socio-Ethnography of Collective Memory,” International Social Sciences Journal 62 (2011) 147-159; Dylan Trigg, The Memory of Place: A Phenomenology of the Uncanny (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2012).

131 Yerushalmi, Zakhor, 10-14.

132 Benedict de Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy; ed. Jonathan Israel; trans. Michael Silverthorne and Jonathan Israel; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007) 118.

133 On this point, see Ronald Hendel, “The Exodus in Biblical Memory,” JBL 120 (2001) 601-22; idem, Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Daniel Pioske, “Retracing a Remembered Past: Methodological Remarks on Memory, History, and the Hebrew Bible,” BibInt 23 (2015) 291-315; Ian D. Wilson, Kingship and Memory in Ancient Judah (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017) 21-42.

134 Yet even when written texts were available, Momigliano observes, archives of older writings did not hold great significance as a locus of past information for those in the pre-Hellenistic period. Arnaldo Momigliano, “Historiography on Written Tradition and Historiography on Oral Tradition,” in Studies in Historiography (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966) 211-20, at 216-17. The frequent biblical directive to consult written sources deemed unimportant for the stories the biblical scribes tell (1 Kgs 14:19, 29; 15:7, 23, etc.) is in keeping with this general sensibility.

135 The literature on the relationship between orality and memory is vast, but see, for example, Matthew Innes, “Orality, Memory, and Literacy in Early Medieval Society,” Past & Present 158 (1998) 3-36; David Rubin, Memory in Oral Traditions: A Cognitive Psychology of Epics, Ballads, and Counting-Out Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995); Haun Saussy, The Ethnography of Rhythm: Orality and Its Technologies (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016) 63-85.

136 On the epistemic division between the retrospective modes of memory and history, see Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, esp. 493-506; Friedrich Nietzsche, “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life,” in Untimely Meditations (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy; ed. Daniel Breazeale; trans. R. J. Hollingdale; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) 59-67; Allan Megill, Historical Knowledge, Historical Error: A Contemporary Guide to Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) 17-62.

137 Marc Bloch, The Historian ’s Craft (trans. Peter Putnam; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004) 57.

138 Yerushalmi, Zakhor, 101.

139 Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession (Ideas in Context; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Carlo Ginzburg, Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method (trans. John and Anne Tedeschi; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) 87-113; Gabrielle Spiegel, “The Future of the Past: History, Memory, and the Ethical Imperatives of Writing History,” Journal of the Philosophy of History 8 (2014) 149-79.

140 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality (ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson; trans. Carol Diethe; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) 87; Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (trans. Joel Winsheimer and Donald Marshall; New York: Continuum, 2006) 267–304.

141 Paul Ricoeur, “Appropriation,” in Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences (ed. J. Thompson; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) 182–94, at 193.

142 Pioske, “High Court,” 19–25.

143 Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, 338.

144 Schiffman, Birth, 277.

145 Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, 143.

146 Yerushalmi, Zakhor, 77–104. For von Rad, this crisis reaches perhaps its clearest expression when, confronted by the divergences between the biblical depictions of the past and historical ones, it is asked “whether nowadays we must choose between them” (Von Rad, Old Testament Theology, 2:418).

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