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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Historiography is a narrative that recounts a past derived from written and oral sources. History writers select, organize, and interpret past events to communicate significance and meaning. Biblical and other ancient historians favored a divine causation model to explain events. The Hittites had a sophisticated tradition of royal historiography. Mesopotamian culture recorded and wrote history in the form of inscriptions, king lists, chronographic or annalistic texts, and literary works. As comparative material, these texts help us understand the historical books of the Hebrew Bible and the sources used by their authors. Inscriptions sponsored by the kings of Syria-Palestine are also useful. The historical books used oral sources in the form of grave traditions, sanctuary legends, prophetic tales and miracle stories, heroic folktales, and songs. They also employed written sources of an administrative or archival nature such as rosters, king lists, district lists, and letters. Pre-existing narrative works of a literary nature were incorporated into the historical books, including an Ark Narrative, the Rise of David, an Elijah-Elisha cycle, and the Memoirs of Nehemiah. A legitimate history of Israel can be written on the basis of external evidence, archaeology, and a careful evaluation of the sources behind the historical books.

Keywords: annals, Assyria, Babylon, causation, chronicles, historiography, Hittites, inscriptions, king list, prophet legends

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