This Symposium asks whether a 'history of Israel' can be written, and if it can, how? Can the Hebrew Bible be used as a source for such history? The question of writing the 'history of ancient Israel' has become fiercely debated in recent years. It is a debate that seems to generate more heat than light because of quite different concepts of historical methodology. The European Seminar on Methodology in Israel's History was founded specifically to address this problem. Members of the Seminar hold a variety of views but all agree that there is a problem to be tackled. The first meeting of the Seminar, held in Dublin in 1996, was devoted to some broad questions: (1) Can a 'history of ancient Israel' (or Palestine, Syria, the Levant, etc.) be written? (2) If so, how? What place does the Hebrew Bible have as a source in writing this history? This first volume contains the main papers that were prepared to set the stage for the discussion, along with an introduction to the Seminar, its aims and its membership. The editor also provides a concluding chapter summarizing and reflecting on the debate.>
Lester L. Grabbe is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism at the University of Hull. He is founder and convenor of the European Seminar in Historical Methodology. A recent book is Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know it?