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The Oxford History of the Biblical World Paperback – June 7, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Coogan (religious studies, Stonehill Coll.) has assembled a dozen scholars with impressive credentials in ancient Near Eastern studies to assist him in creating this work of immense scope. These contributors bring varied perspectives to their work as they draw from new primary and secondary sources based on recent archaeological excavations (often their own) and on translations of texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Organized chronologically, the essays explore the many cultures of ancient Canaan, Israel, Judea, and Palestine from 10,000 B.C.E. to the rise of Islam in the seventh century C.E. Illustrations, maps, charts, chronologies, and bibliographies enhance the uniformly well-written essays. But the strengths of the work are its currency and breadth of coverage and perspective. Appropriate for all libraries with collections in religion or Near Eastern studies, and of particular interest to students of biblical history and archaeology. [For another book edited by Coogan, see The Illustrated Guide to World Religions, reviewed on p. 72.?Ed.]?Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsvill.
-?Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The Oxford History of the Biblical World rewards careful study and casual browsing. For those willing to open their minds to the evidence and nuanced argument about the origins of faiths that have shaped our world, it is a worthy investment of time in the study of the timeless."--David Lauter, L.A. Times (on the hardcover edition)

"A judicious and well-illustrated survey of the entire scope of Biblical history."--The Providence Sunday Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (June 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195139372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195139372
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Coogan is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School and Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. He has also taught at Stonehill College, Boston College, Wellesley College, Fordham University, and the University of Waterloo (Ontario), and has participated in and directed archaeological excavations in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Egypt. He is the author of Old Testament text books and The Old Testament VSI.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Voldomer on November 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
This truly is an excellent resource, as discussed by other reviewers. Unfortunately, though, the paperback version is not just a reprint of the hardback in floppy covers. Instead, many of the visual features that contribute so much to the appeal of the hardback edition have been removed. Admittedly several remain, including a section of color plates in the middle of the book, but one who is familiar with the hardback likely will be disappointed by the paperback.
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106 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Andrew K. Wong on January 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If I ever had to teach a course in Biblical history, this would be the required text. I would also assign Coogan's excellent "The Oxford Companion to the Bible" (B. Metzger & M. Coogan, eds.; Oxford UP: 1993) as supplemental reading. While "The Oxford Companion" is a one volume encyclopedia of general historical and theological Biblical topics, the "Oxford History" affords the most detailed and systematic (and illustrated) treatment of Biblical history and archaeology of the two. The two works complement each other very well.
"The Oxford History of the Biblical World" is a single volume work of outstanding scholarship and clarity. Thirteen chapters comprise the text (the prologue and epilogue are just as informative as the substantive chapters), each written by prominent experts in ancient Near-Eastern history. There is a consistent unity throughout the chapters despite their disparate authorships. Each chapter is thoroughly steeped in the history, geography, economics, culture and religion of the period. Lavish attention is given to the most current archaeological and etymological findings. There are also copious references to and excerpts of the most important secular texts of the period.
This solid foundation of scholarship gives the work a first-class objectivity. Both traditional and modern conclusions are explored in depth. While certain facts may give rise to multiple conclusions, the authors invariably make plain all available evidence for the reader.
The volume is richly illustrated. Most pictures are in black and white, but with excellent resolution. The 26 beautiful color plates are in the middle of the book.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Archaeology, for much of the past few centuries, has set out to 'prove' the Bible. More recently the pendulum has swung the other way, in which some scholars have attempted to 'disprove' the Bible. Much archaeology and historical research is still biased, but fortunately it has become scholarly practice to at least admit one's biases as a prelude to making assertions and posing theories. Also, a greater objectivity in many regards has been infused into historical research, so that those texts that seem to be predominantly slanted in one direction or the other tend to be given less credibility (particularly as, for instance, if someone sets out 'to prove' the Bible, what they are usually doing is attempting to do is to prove their interpretation or specific reading of the Bible, rather than the Bible itself).
All of this is preamble to my review of this latest work. Volumes can be (and have been) written in discussion of the effect of biased research on scholarship. This is discussed in the preface. `Within the last decade, some scholars have adopted what has come to be called a minimalist approach to ancient Israel. In its most extreme form, this approach discounts the Bible as a credible witness because of the ideological bias of its historical narratives and because they were written centuries after the times they purport to describe.'
Michael Coogan, editor of this volume, disapproves of the dominance of extreme minimalism, and strives with his contributors to take account carefully and critically the Biblical accounts along with all other data.
This is a well-researched book. The contributors include Wayne Pitard, Carol Redmount, Lawrence Stager, Jo Ann Hackett, Carol Meyers, Edward Campbell, Jr.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John Switzer on September 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a textbook on introductory biblical studies or as a personal resource, this volume is a winner. With its maps, diagrams, photographs and insightful writing, this volume is indispensable for those who want to understand where biblical-historical research is going these days. The Bible did not develop in a vacuum, and this fine volume will offer the necessary insights for understanding those forces and situations that shaped the Jewish and Christian scriptures. The chronological appendix is especially helpful as it divides the cited historical developments into multiple regions. More than a dozen experts combined their insights to produce this volume and it is perfectly suited as an introductory or mid-level college text.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Weinhold on August 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a student of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, this book has become one of my most used reference. Each chapter is written by archaeologists and biblical historians that are renowned for their work. It covers the Biblical lands from their early beginnings, into the Bronze and Iron Ages, and ends with the Roman Period. The most attention is paid to the Hebrew Bible sections, specifically Bronze and Iron Age. I found the references to Philistines, and ancient Israelite women particularly helpful in my research.
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