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On the Reliability of the Old Testament


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About the Author

Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies, University of Liverpool, England. He is the author of many books on Egyptology, the ancient Near East, and biblical history, including Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, and The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today.


Although controversy concerning how to interpret the Bible is not new, new developments in biblical studies are not easily recognizable to the general public. Within the last 50 years, major debate has raged in academic circles about some of the most fundamental issues dealing with the Bible. Kitchen (Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology, Liverpool, UK; The Bible in Its World) is eminently qualified to tackle the highly controversial topic of the Bible's historicity, which debate goes to the heart of the Bible's authenticity and its continued normative use for contemporary believers. Specifically, this book examines the historical reliability of the text of the Hebrew Bible. The methodology examines the Bible text in its wider ancient Near Eastern context by comparing selected biblical descriptions with surviving material and literary archaeological discoveries from neighboring cultures, covering two millennia from ancient Sumer and Egypt (c. 3000 B.C.E.) to the Hellenistic period (c. 333-63 B.C.E.). While the book seems aimed at a general audience, which would find its arguments insightful, it may be too technical; on the other hand, its polemical editorializing may offend scholarly researchers. Not recommended.-Charlie Murray, C.S.S., Fordham Univ., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Everyone has much to thank Kitchen for in this volume. . . Hopefully, his latest work will preserve another generation of theological students from losing faith in Scripture." Biblical Studies Bulletin
"The scope of this book is nothing less than the entire sweep of Old Testament history, and Kitchen introduces an impressive amount of evidence for the historical reliability of most Old Testament narrative. . . This is a hugely impressive book, packed with detail and energetic argument." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"Those of us who have benefited from Kitchen's contributions . . . welcome the present work as a culmination of a lifetime of rigorous and unflinching dedication to the task of setting the Old Testament on a solid bedrock of credibility as a historical text. Kitchen's effort is grounded not in dogmatic or theological givens, but rather is the product of painstaking attention to history, archaeology, and critical methodologies." William W. Hallo
"After decades of ?minimalism, ' it is refreshing to have this first systematic refutation from the opposite position. It provides a step-by-step review of the evidence for biblical history in its Near Eastern context by a leading authority equally at home in Egyptology as in the archaeology, history, and literature of ancient Western Asia. K. A. Kitchen writes with conviction and verve, not sparing those who are ?factually disadvantaged' or who ?do not do their Near Eastern homework.' He takes readers back through time like an archaeologist digging a mound. Even those unwilling to follow him all the way down to the earliest strata will be able to use his lucid expositions and generous documentation to arrive at a balanced view of their own on some of the most burning issues of current biblical scholarship." K. Lawson Younger Jr.
"Eminent Egyptologist and ancient Near Eastern scholar Kenneth Kitchen has produced here a tour de force that questions many of the simplistically assumed hypotheses of Old Testament scholarship while at the same time contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of the environment in which the Hebrew Bible was composed. Kitchen's lifetime of study of the ancient context of the Old Testament makes this volume a must-read." Harry A. Hoffner Jr.
"Why should I be concerned about the historical reliability of the Old Testament? The overriding concern of most Bible readers is ?Are this book's claims about God, Jesus, and the afterlife reliable enough that I should carefully heed and believe what it says?' This is the ?absolute truth' that Kenneth Kitchen in his preface states is beyond the purview of this book. Kitchen's approach is not ?How much historical reliability do I need for my faith?' but ?How much faith do the facts of archaeology (including ancient texts) tell me that I actually have?' In the course of his tour through three pre-Christian millennia, Kitchen approaches his subject with the skill and experience of a bona fide expert and the frankness, honesty, and wit of a Scotsman. His book takes into account the very latest discoveries. There could be no better author for a book like this, an author who for over forty years has read, published, and taught most of the ancient texts he cites. Professor I. Howard Marshall should be congratulated for prompting Kitchen so many years ago to write such a book!"

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