In the politico-religious history of the Deuteronomists, past, present and future mingle in an often inextricable way. Long obsolete traditions, which had been unacceptable to the Davidic dynasty, were rediscovered and adapted to the aims of the Deuteronomists. Personages of the past were
condemned and blackened in the light of the new ideology, whereas others were glorified and embellished as heroes of faith because their ideas suited the historians.
This inevitably raises the question whether the Bible can be trusted as a source book for writing a history of Israel. Apparently not, say scholars like T.L. Thompson, P.R. Davies and N.P. Lemche. In this volume a number of authors take up this challenge, stating that the radical rejection of the biblical testimony in favour of a history based mainly on archaeology is ill-advised.
Several contributions to this volume draw instructive parallels between the process of re-writing the history of South Africa and the work of the Deuteronomists.
Johannes C. de Moor, Ph.D. (1971), Free University, Amsterdam, is Professor of Semitic Languages at the Theological University Kampen, The Netherlands. He has published extensively on Ugaritic, Classical Hebrew and Targumic Aramaic. He is editor of several international series and journals.
Harry F. van Rooy D.Litt (1977), Potchefsroom University for Christian Higher Education, South Africa) is Professor of Old Testament at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and Director of Research of the Faculty of Theology. He is at present chairperson of the Old Testament Society of South Africa. His publications include
Studies on the Syriac Apocryphal Psalms (Oxford University Press, 1999).
This survey will fascinate all those interested in the current debate about the history of Israel and the prophetic understanding of history.