History has an inescapable centrality in the Hebrew Bible, and biblical narratives are for many readers the best recognized and most memorable parts of the Bible. Yet the history of ancient Israel and the nature of Hebrew historiography remain hotly contested topics in contemporary scholarship. The Historical Writings introduces students to the character of the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua through Kings) and other historical writings (Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles); to the different roles history writing plays throughout the Hebrew Bible; to the key historical questions and methods shaping contemporary scholarly debate in light of archaeological research; and to the literary and theological contours of the biblical narratives themselves.
An introduction presents issues in the historical and literary interpretation of these writings. Subsequent chapters on the books Joshua through Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles each discuss literary concerns, historical issues, and theological themes relevant to each book, then offer succinct and informative commentary on the book. Pedagogical features include maps, timelines, photographs, primary sources from the ancient Near East, reading lists, and a glossary.