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The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel
Where Archaeology and the Bible Intersect
PAPERBACK; Published: 4/20/2012
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6701-8
446 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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In this book William Dever addresses the question that must guide every good historian of ancient Israel: What was life really like in those days?

He presents his answers in a book that is far from a run-of-the-mill "history of Israel." Writing as an expert archaeologist who is also a secular humanist, Dever relies on archaeological data, over and above the Hebrew Bible, for primary source material. He focuses on the lives of ordinary people in the eighth century B.C.E. - not kings, priests, or prophets - people who left behind rich troves of archaeological information but who are practically invisible in "typical" histories of ancient Israel. Illustrated by photos, maps, charts, site plans, and specially commissioned drawings, Dever's work brings vividly to life a world too long buried beneath dusty texts and stony landscapes.

Read an excerpt from the book on EerdWord.
Susan Ackerman
-- Dartmouth College
"Bill Dever has done it again -- assembled cutting-edge archaeological data to paint a vibrant picture of the world of ancient Israel. . . . A wonderful resource for students of the Bible and of the biblical world."
Ziony Zevit
-- American Jewish University
"Provides a most competent analysis of the pungently grounded, material world within which flesh-and-blood Israelites lived during the eighth century B.C.E. . . . When not using this book as an anthropological trip to the past, readers may explore it as a market for scintillating ideas in which they will find new food for thought and topics for conversation."
Carol Meyers
-- Duke University
"Dever writes with the acumen of an expert scholar and the verve of an accomplished storyteller. . . . His lucid prose transforms complex interpretive problems into an accessible and engaging discussion enhanced by many well-chosen photos and drawings."
Ronald Hendel
-- University of California
"A wonderful read, spiced with vast archaeological knowledge and spirited polemics."
Avraham Faust
-- Bar-Ilan University
"Dever's detailed and thorough discussion, along with the fact that this book is one of very few works that discuss the most fundamental questions concerning Iron Age Israelite society, will make it essential reading for students and scholars."
Theological Book Review
"A stimulating handbook on what archaeology reveals about life in ancient Israel."
Journal of Ancient Judaism
"In this handbook, addressed to a general audience, Dever utilizes archaeological evidence to reconstruct the secular history of Israel and Judah in the years 810-701 B. C. E. . . . He surveys the relevant sites, cities, and towns, paying attention to everyday life in these locales. In addition, Dever addresses socioeconomic structures, the religion and cult of Israel and Judah, and the parallel experiences of their neighbors in the eighth century."
Religious Studies Review
"I recommend this affordable work by a preeminent American archaeologist to university, college, and seminary libraries as well as individuals interested in the archaeology of the ancient Near East."
"For teachers and preachers of the Hebrew Bible who wish to explore what daily life might have been like for ancient peoples in the 8th century B.C.E., William Dever's The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel is an essential read."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"A well-written survey of eighth-century BC Israel from one of the field's leading archaeologists. The book is geared toward students, and they will find it to be a very helpful handbook. It is the product of a long and fruitful career, and contains a wealth of knowledge."
Review of Biblical Literature
"A wide range of information on Iron Age II Israel and Judah. . . . It can be quite helpful for a beginning student in providing an overview of many of the more important topics."
Reviews in Religion and Theology
"Written in a lively, engaging and fluent style. . . . The book is to be strongly recommended as a rich resource full of valuable insights. . . . Contains many excellent drawings and photographs. The book would be of great interest to and essential reading for a wide range of scholars and students as well as being easily accessible to non-specialists."
Andrews University Seminary Studies
"I would highly recommend this handbook, written in a style that is all Dever's own, to students, scholars, and laypeople interested in the intersections between archaeology and the Old Testament."
Congregational Libraries Today
"Highly recommended for a detailed view of ancient Israel."