Page 197 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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177
O
rlinsky
— B
ibl ical
H
istory
and
A
rcheology
quiry . . . T h e present volume gets on w ith the task o f
describing and judging the work of American scholars who
have studied various aspects of religion . . . the problems
of definition of the field, of methodology, and of the rela-
tion of belief to scholarly objectivity are raised here again
and again . . . Professor Orlinsky remarks that scholars too
often “mix together scholarship and apologetics” and states
that “until the student of biblical theology learns to deal
w ith his data as critically as the student of ancient Greek,
or Roman, or Assyrian, or Egyptian religion does, he can
hardly expect his studies to achieve validity in scholarly
circles.”
What I wrote there about “biblical theology” is equally true of
“biblical history and archeology.” Biblical research, in spite of—
in part, even because o f—the volume of archeological and other
extra-biblical data constantly coming to light, has in some areas
already reached the point where it is transgressing the law of
dim inishing returns; the Hebrew-Yiddish expression for it is
m a ‘a leh gerah
(“brings up, or chews, the cud”).
The Field of Biblical History
In the field of biblical history, no major work has appeared
since I noticed in my survey o f “Recent Selected Books on Bib-
lical History and Archeology” in volume 18 of
Jew ish B ook
A nn ua l
(5721-1960/61, pp. 38-43) John Bright’s
A H is to r y of
Israel
(1959) and Moshe Greenberg’s abridgment in English
(.R e lig ion o f Israel',
1960) of Yehezkel Kaufmann’s Hebrew work
(T o le d o t ha-Emunah ha -Y israe lit
, 8 vols., 1937-1965). Harry M.
Orlinsky’s
A n c ien t Israe l
(2nd ed., 1960; reprinted 1965) has
remained unopposed in the shorter, more popular form, though
mention should be made of several very concise works covering
an even longer period: M.A. Beek,
A Sh o r t H is to r y o f Israe l, from
A b rah am to B a r Cochba
(translated from Dutch by A.J. Pom-
erans; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1963); F.F. Bruce,
Israe l
and the N a t io n s : F rom the E x o du s to the Fa ll o f the Second
T em p le
(London, Paternoster Press, 1963); and E.L. Ehrlich's
A Concise H is to r y from th e E a r lies t T im e s to the D e s tru c t ion
o f the T em p le in A .D . 70
(translated from German by J. Barr;
Harper Torchbook 128, 1965).
A number of rather bulky books have appeared in recent years
that deal w ith our subject, and they generally contain enough
archeological and other material to give them the appearance of
being quite up to date. I have in mind such books as A. Biram,
T h e H is to ry o f Israe l in B ib l ic a l T im e s in the F ram ew o rk o f the