by Bernard Alpert and Fran Alpert. Hamilton Books. 110 pages. $24.99.
Though the Alperts make great efforts to distinguish (and separately value) the world of faith from the world of scientific discovery, their compact, knowledgeable book will probably ruffle many feathers and be declared heretical by those who read the Bible literally. The findings of modern archaeology, findings that Bernard and Fran Alpert have helped make, simply demolish the Old Testament narratives as history. While the books of Moses, the prophets, and the chroniclers are treasures, they are treasures of a special kind: repositories of truth rather than fact. They provide masterful portraits and understandings of the human condition; they set down guidelines for moral and effective human interaction; and they etch the birth struggles of a civilization.
The authors point out that there is very little archaeological evidence to support the events and personages laid out in the Bible (which here means Old Testament). What we have in that assemblage of narratives, laws, and prophecies is a magnificent attempt, assembled in the 6th century BCE, to give coherence, meaning, and status to the Israelite experience. Divinely inspired? Perhaps. . . .
To see the full review, on the Jewish Book Council site and slated for Jewish Book World, click here: Archaeology and the Biblical Record