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Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times [Paperback]

Donald B. Redford
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 20, 1993 0691000867 978-0691000862

Covering the time span from the Paleolithic period to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., the eminent Egyptologist Donald Redford explores three thousand years of uninterrupted contact between Egypt and Western Asia across the Sinai land-bridge. In the vivid and lucid style that we expect from the author of the popular Akhenaten, Redford presents a sweeping narrative of the love-hate relationship between the peoples of ancient Israel/Palestine and Egypt.

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Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times + Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Volume I: 10,000-586 B.C.E. (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (v. 1)
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Redford ( Akhenaten , LJ 11/1/84) presents a study of the political, cultural, and religious relationships among the peoples of Egypt, Assyria, and the Levant during the 3000 years from the Paleolithic period to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. What distinguishes this study is the per spective of an Egyptologist who ap proaches the subject of ancient Egypt and Israel without the usual preconceptions and emphases found in the studies emanating from biblical studies scholars. Further, Redford highlights the dissimilarities and long-lasting distinctions between the disparate cultures which bordered the Sinaitic frontier, rather than stressing Egyptian origins of segments of Israelite cul ture frequently advanced by other Egyptologists. Highly recommended for research collections and for students and scholars of Near Eastern history and ar chaeology, ancient Egypt, and biblical studies.
- Paula I. Nielson, Loyola Mary mount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Winner of the 1993 Best Scholarly Book in Archaeology Award, Biblical Archaeological Society

"In the best Egyptological tradition. . . . This is a work written by a master in Near Eastern studies."--Jean-Pierre V.M. Herubel, Digest of Middle East Studies

"Attractively presents for the lay reader a wealth of research on the peoples and localities of ancient Palestine."--Journal of Palestine Studies

"In his ability to understand the fragmentary data of ancient history, and in constructive use of imagination, Redford has few equals in the field. . . . One of the finest histories of the ancient Near East."--The Times Literary Supplement

Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 20, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691000867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691000862
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminates Ancient History August 9, 2003
Whenever one puts Egypt and Israel in the same sentence, the stories of Joseph and Moses springs to mind, at least to Christians such as myself. This book shows that there is a lot more to it than this. Starting from 5000 years ago, the book traces in great detail the history of Egypt for 3000 years, and particularly its relation with its Asian neighbors in the lands of Canaan and beyond. In here we get to learn about the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hittites, and Assyrians, as well as Egypt's African neighbors such as the Kushites and the Libyans. The book is extremely well-researched, drawing upon a vast wealth of archeological findings and recently discovered ancient texts and tablets, as well as the various sources of recorded history. The book is exceptional in terms of acknowledging in detail all the possible competing theories and explanations before thoroughly proving the author's theories beyond doubt through impeccable logic. The notes alone fill almost a hundred pages! But volume is far from being a dry history text. The writing is exceptional, almost bringing the ancient pharaohs and ordinary people to life in its realistic and thorough description of life in those ancient times.
The core of the book concentrates on the relationship between Egypt and the land of Canaan or southern Syria. Thus the book analyses the Hyksos invasion in detail and introduces us to the countless wars and treaties between Egypt and its Asian neighbors. Of particular interest in this book is the rise of the Hebrews, nomadic tribes from Southern Jordan who later became known as the Israelites. This book illustrates how their history has become misrepresented over the years, sometimes by well-meaning but unscholarly "Biblical scholars" who take the word of the Bible literally.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
"As well as being scholarly, Redford's work meets my criteria for impartiality and honesty: he provides evidence against his own position and references to dissenting scholars; he uses the same standards for evaluating his own theories and alternatives;... " Danny Yee

Canaan & the Levant:
The land known as Canaan was situated in the territory of the southern Levant which today encompasses Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon. Many names have been given to this area, throughout ancient times, called by the Egyptians Rhetenu or Kharu, and Canaan by the Syrians of the second millenium BC.
The Levant is an imprecise geographical term, historically referring to a large area in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east.

Ancient Egypt, Canaan & Israel:
In a study of Ancient Egypt, and Near Eastern history and archaeology, Donald Redford, an eminent Egyptologist, and a leading Canadian scholar of Near Eastern studies, highlights Egypt's dominant influence on the cultural, political, and religious traditions of the peoples of Assyria, Canaan, and the Israelite during three millennia, to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
This study is a lucid sociopolitical history of the relationship between Egypt and its Northern neighbors taking into account the related biblical studies. Rather than stressing Egyptian origins of clusters of Israelite culture, frequently advanced by most Egyptologists, he points out the long-lasting distinctions and differences between the cultures which prevailed to the SW and the NE of Sinai.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a tough slog, but worth it February 4, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Redford has probably read every ancient inscription and has knowledge of every archiological site in Egypt-Middle east - as well as knowledge of every language written then. For the serious scholar of the region, book a must, both for its detail and his debunking of past popular "reasoning" about events in the area. For the casual reader, at times irritatingly challenging - he uses proper and place names often with no previous reference and maps are very sparse, and in tiny print. However, the overall sweep of history he presents is fascinating, but the sidebars - often for pages - into minutae a bit hairpulling - but, then again, one can skip these sections.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Study October 30, 2009
By E.L.B.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Naturally as an Egyptologist Redford relates the history of the Near East from the angle of Egyptian activity and thought, beginning from pre-dynastic times and following through to Assyrian empire, focusing mostly on Egyptian intercourse with Syria-Palestine, whether that be in the form of its control over its peoples, trade relations with them, or hostility towards them. (or in the case of the Hyskos, subordination) The origins of several Semitic groups, including the Israelite community, and those of different stock are explained, and there is a tangent of two chapters on the influence of Egypt on the Israelites in the political, ideological, cultic and literary spheres. All the events discussed acuminate with Nebuchadrezzar's destruction of Jerusalem, and an epilogue of two pages ends on a kind of cheesy note. But forgiving this, *Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times* is anything but a cheesy work. This is knitty-gritty historiography which far from 'attractively presents for the lay reader' anything. (see the review comment on the back cover by the *Journal of Palestinian Studies*) Nothing about Redford's book, excepting the pictures, maps, and tables perhaps, is 'lay'. That is, unless the laity in perspective are scholars who just aren't Egyptologists. Those unaccustomed to this kind of reading, with all its jargon and impressive eloquence, will find it overbearingly pedantic. Otherwise, you'll love it, as I did, and it will be easy enough to follow along. The footnotes are usually short and to the point, citing references with little or no comment, so no real worries about a choppy read, eyes moving constantly athwart between main text and footnote. (I hate that for myself) I would like to have seen provided a chronological chart for the periods discussed. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written introduction to the ancient Levant
My son and his wife, both of whom are Ph.D. archaeologists focused on the Levant, recommended this book to me as essential to my researching a series of novels. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Richard E. Burke
4.0 out of 5 stars well done
Too often books of ancient Egyptian history are predominently books of Art History; the author becomes overwhelmed by pyramids, sphinxes.... Redford redresses this imbalence. Read more
Published on June 8, 2011 by R. W. Tuttle
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding work
I will make this review as short as possible without being being useless, I hope.
This is one of the finest books on ancient Israel and Egypt that I have read for a long time... Read more
Published on January 4, 2009 by John Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Profound in its Scope ...
This book is excellent in its usage of facts that no other author had thought of using ... Intellectually elite -- it is used on my own website often for excerpts ...
Published on November 25, 2005 by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars Broad, Even-Handed, and Very Useful
This is an incredibly comprhensive account of ancient Egypt and its Asian neighbors. It may contain more detail than some readers may want at first reading, but since then, I have... Read more
Published on October 31, 2001 by Timothy Dougal
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycles of civilization
The relationship of Greece and Israel to (one of) their common ancestors, Egypt, is one of the mysteries of world history in the way they both appear in parallel time. Read more
Published on September 15, 2000 by John C. Landon
5.0 out of 5 stars for everyone interested in Egypt and Ancient Near East
This is a general history of the developing and changing relationships between Egypt, Canaan, Israel and Palestine. Read more
Published on June 17, 2000 by Francesca Jourdan
1.0 out of 5 stars A broad scope and lots of detail, but very hard to read
The subject matter of this work is compelling, and those seriously interested in this period should have access to it. Unfortunately, however, it is extremely difficult to read. Read more
Published on August 29, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital standard Reference work.
A phenomenal work, which is of immense use and interest to both professional and amateur Egyptologists, as well as those more generally interested in the Near East
Published on March 26, 1997
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