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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The search for biblical Israel in the textual and archaeological record has been a focus of scholarly research for over a century. Using as their starting point the books of Exodus, Joshua, and Judges, Albright’s unified conquest and Alt’s peaceful infiltration models emphasize the external, or foreign, origin of Israel as presented in the biblical narrative. More recent suggestions highlight the indigenous nature and role of Late Bronze Age Canaan in Israel’s emergence. These approaches, including the social revolution, pastoral Canaanite, and mixed multitude models, enlist, to varying degrees, biblical and Egyptian sources (principally the Merneptah Stela), archaeological evidence, and a variety of sociological, anthropological, environmental, and other approaches to reconstruct the complex process of early Israel’s ethnogenesis.

Keywords: early Israel, ethnogenesis, Iron Age, Joshua, Judges, Exodus, slavery, Canaan, Merneptah Stela, biblical archaeology

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