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On the Reliability of the Old Testament Paperback – June 9, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England. He is the author of many books on Egyptology, the ancient Near East, and biblical history, including Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, and The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 684 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; annotated edition edition (June 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802803962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802803962
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

210 of 222 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kenneth Kitchen is an emeritus professor of Egyptology and Archaeology from the University of Liverpool; his interests and writings span many millennia of the ancient world across Egypt and the ancient Near East, including the area of biblical history. In this volume (which he amusingly describes as reducing to the acronym OROT, or O! ROT! as some of his critics may proclaim) Kitchen puts forth an interesting argument here against the dominant tide of biblical studies in Old Testament studies, eschewing modern or postmodern ideas of interpretation and preferring a more traditional approach. Having been inspired by his friend I. Howard Marshall and the text by F.F. Bruce 'Are the New Testament Documents Reliable?', he set out on the massive task of producing a similar volume for the Old Testament.
The job presents many difficulties, of course, not the least of which is the ever changing atmosphere, culture, literacy ability, and more of the people of the ancient lands over the millennia. Kitchen does have a care for facts - he doesn't engage in arguments of philosophical import (he doesn't care to address the nature of absolute truth, for instance, seeing that as an often-used diversionary sideline getting away from the basic understanding of reasonably certain objective facts in history). Kitchen supports his arguments with a wide-ranging knowledge of history and the languages of the areas and times. Kitchen makes it clear in the introduction there are three elements he means to address (history, literature and culture) and three he does not (theology, doctrine and dogma). Obviously the nature of the documents require discussion of the latter three, but these are not the focus points.
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137 of 144 people found the following review helpful By TiZ on August 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kitchen assesses the reliability of the Hebrew Bible in the light of archaeological evidence, and argues that the Hebrew Bible is very reliable.
Through eight chapters he explores the material on the patriarchs, Exodus, Joshua and judges, the united monarchy, the divided monarchy, the prophets and the exiles and their return. Finally, he concludes with an analysis of minimalist work of various periods on the Hebrew Bible.
Kitchen's method is to carefully outline the text as it stands (noting minimalist distortions of the text where necessary). He then turns to the relevant archaeological data. Kitchen's analysis here is extensive and detailed. The presentation of the material is very systematic, and Kitchen is often witty. Kitchen maintains his clarity throughout, and the book reads mellifluously.
I was astonished at the quantity of archaeological data available for this study. I expected that through the passage of time, especially in the region in which the Bible is set, a lot of relevant material would've been destroyed (naturally or otherwise), and Kitchen is very careful in explaining that absence of evidence doesn't always count as evidence of absence. Nevertheless, there is so much clear archaeological evidence - of many different forms - for the accuracy of the Biblical record! The relevant archaeological material stretches over a period of more than two-thousand years and over a vast region including many cultures, whose literature is in ten Near Eastern languages. This breadth is matched only by Kitchen's extensive knowledge.
Kitchen's book also has devastating relevance for the so-called "higher criticism" of the Hebrew Bible, its documentary hypothesis of a multiplicity of sources and late authorship of the Pentateuch.
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79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on April 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
First, a personal observation. When I grew up, Sweden was already the most secularized nation in the world. Naturally, the public schools were secular. Yet, the Lutheran Church of Sweden was still the officially established religion! What to do? The problem was solved by a typical Swedish compromise: all public school students had to learn the Bible, but only as history. So I grew up thinking that Moses was a real historical person, that the Exodus actually happened, that the Israelites crossed the Reed Sea (not the Red one), etc.

Years later, when I started reading "Biblical Archeology Review", I was surprised to learn, almost shocked, that archeologists regard the Pentateuch and Joshua as purely mythological! Except a certain Kenneth Kitchen, who wrote interminable articles trying to prove everything from Abraham to Moses with esoteric arguments about ancient slave-prices and bussines transactions. Naturally, I was intrigued. Later, I learned that Kitchen isn't just an Oberprofessor of Egyptology, but also an evangelical Christian. Which may or may not explain his "maximalist" view of the Bible. Still, I tend to symphatize with the "maximalists" in the heated debates about Biblical archeology. After all, the credibility of our secular education system is at stake!

Naturally, I just had to give Kenneth Kitchen's tour de force "On the reliability of the Old Testament" five stars. Kitchen may represent a minorityite position within archeology, but his arguments are nevertheless interesting. In a review this size, only my own personal favorite arguments can be high-lighted.

Kitchen starts by pointing out the obvious: the Bible is confirmed by Assyrian and Babylonian sources from king Ahab (853 BC) foreward.
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