Fortress Press

The Social History of Ancient Israel: An Introduction

The Social History of Ancient Israel

An Introduction

Rainer Kessler (Author), Linda M. Maloney (Translator)


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Histories of ancient Israel have usually focused attention on major figures in powerful positions: kings, prophets, and patriarchs. Kessler asks about the larger social patterns that shaped the everyday life of ordinary people, from the emergence of Israel in the hills of Canaan, to the Jewish populations of Greek city-states in the Hellenistic age.

The introductory section includes discussion of social history as discipline and as method, event history and the "long haul," the representation of social history, and the history of research. Two other sections explore the methods of the social history of Israel and the epochs of Israel's social history, including discussions of environment as living space, Israel's emergence as a kinship-based society, exile and its consequences, and more. Includes a time line, glossary of terms, maps and illustrations.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800662820
  • Dimensions 7 x 9.25
  • Pages 284
  • Publication Date June 25, 2008


"The value of this book is two-fold. First, it presents a coherent overarching social history that synthesizes the intensive work done on each of the major epochs of Israelite history from the tribal period to the Hellenistic era. Secondly, it helps to close the gap between continental and Anglo-American social critics of the Bible whose respective pursuits have not been widely shared with one another to date."
—Norman K. Gottwald
Pacific School of Religion