Israel’s Ethnogenesis:Settlement, Interaction, Expansion and Resistance

Prof. Avraham Faust

  Series: Approaches to Anthropological Archaeology, edited by Professor Thomas E. Levy, UC San Diego

Subject: Archaeology

Readership: upper level undergraduates and postgraduates

Pub date: April 2007   244 x169 mm, 288pp,  17 black and white line drawings

ISBN:  HB 978 1 904768 98 2   £75/$115


The emergence of Israel in Canaan is perhaps the most debated topic in biblical/Syro-Palestinian archaeology, and related fields. Accordingly, it has received a great deal of attention in recent years, both in scholarly literature and in popular publications.

Generally speaking, however, the archaeology of ancient Israel is wedged in a paradoxical situation. Despite the large existing database of archaeological finds (from thousands of excavations conducted over an extremely limited area) scholars in this (sub)discipline  typically do not engage in "theoretical" (anthropological) discussions, thus exposing a large gap between it and other branches of archaeology, in this respect. Numerous ‘archaeologically oriented' studies of Israelite ethnicity are still conducted largely in the spirit of the ‘culture history school', and are absent of thorough reference to the work of more recent critics, which, at best, make a selected appearance in these analyses.

Israel's Ethnogenesis provides an "anthropologically-oriented" perspective to the discussion of Israel's ethnogenesis. The book traces Israel's emergence in Canaan, and the complex processes of ethnic negotiations and re-negotiations that accompanied it. This monograph incorporates detailed archaeological data and relevant textual sources, within an anthropological framework. Moreover, it contributes to the ‘archaeology of ethnicity', a field which currently attracts significant attention of archaeologists and anthropologists all over the world. Making use of an unparalleled archaeological database from ancient Israel, this volume has much to offer to the ongoing debate over the nature of ethnicity in general, and to the understudied question of how ethnic groups evolve (ethnogenesis), in particular. 

Table of contents

Table of contents:
Part One: Introduction
1. Introduction
2. Archaeology and Ethnicity
3. Israelite Ethnicity: State of Research

Part Two: An Archaeological Examination of Israelite Ethnicity
4. Israelite Markers and Behavior
5. Meat Consumption
6. Decorated Pottery
7. Imported Pottery
8. Pottery Forms and Repertoire
9. The Four Room House
10. Circumcision and Ethnicity
11. Hierarchy and Equality: The Roots of the Israelite Egalitarian Ethos

Part Three: Israel's Identity and the Philistines
12. Settlement Patterns in Iron Age I - Iron Age II Transition
13. Ethnicity and Statehood in Ancient Israel
14. The Philistines in the Iron Age I
15. Totemism to Ethnicity: The Philistines and Israel's Self-Identification

Part Four: Merenptah's Israel: The Beginnings
16. Merenptah's Israel: Israel in the Late 13th Century BCE
17. Israel's Emergence: The Beginnings
18. Origins Reconsidered

Part Five: Aspects of Distribution
19. Pots and Peoples Revisited: Israelites, Philistines and Canaanites
20. Transjordan Revisited
21. Summary and Conclusions