BAR 33:01, Jan/Feb 2007
Nebuchadnezzar & Solomon
Parallel Lives Illuminate History
This article is an abbreviated version of my paper “What Has Nebuchadnezzar to Do with David? On the Neo-Babylonian Period and Early Israel,” in Chavalas and Younger, eds., Mesopotamia and the Bible: Comparative Explorations, JSOTSup 341 (London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002), pp. 330–355.
The current debate over the historical value of the Biblical narrative has called into question the very existence of an “ancient Israel.” Indeed, key features of the Bible’s familiar storyline—Israel’s arrival from outside Canaan, wars with the indigenous Canaanite inhabitants, eventual emergence into nationhood and the United Kingdom—are considered by so-called minimalists to be largely legendary and without historical value.