The Invention of Ancient Israel shows how the history of ancient Palestine has been obscured by the search for Israel. Keith W. Whitelam argues that ancient Israel has been invented by scholars in the image of a European nation state. He explores the theological and political assumptions which have shaped research into ancient Israel by Biblical scholars, and contributed to the vast network of scholarship which Said identified as 'Orientalist discourse'.
Keith W. Whitelam's groundbreaking study argues that Biblical scholars, through their traditional view of this region, have contributed to dispossession of both a Palestinian land and a Palestinian past. This is important reading for historians, biblical specialists, social anthropologists and all those who are interested in the history of ancient Israel and Palestine.
Keith W. Whitelam is Professor of Religious Studies and Head of Department at the University of Stirling. He is the co-author of The Emergence of Early Israel in Historical Perspective (1987), and has produced a series of articles on ancient Israelite and Palestinian history.
'Anyone who feels K's work 'can be safely ignored' will only show himself up as a fool.' - History Geography and Society
'An important contribution to the history of scholarship.' - Expository Times
'This is a brave, fascinating and important book ... constantly thought provoking and controversial.' - Sunday Times
'Keith Whitelam's work serves to remind us what a vital if fraught exercise it still is to engage explicitly with the unique cultural influence of the Old Testament on the contemporary world.' - The Friend
'It is a masterly, courageous work, the result of careful reading, focused reflection and the appropriate moral passion, which richly deserves wide exposure and will surely prompt siginificant discussion.' - Heythrop Journal
'Whitelam can (and will) be criticized for introducing politics into 'ancient Israel', he is merely exposing it - and the Palestinians are after all the major victims of a zionizing European and American biblical scholarship. This book should be in paperback, and compulsory reading.' - Journal for the Study of the Old Testament