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This absence of historical evidence leads scholars to take a different approach to reading the biblical narrative. They were good historians and they could tell it the way it was when they wanted to, but their objective was always something far beyond that.They look beyond our modern notion of fact or fiction, to ask why the Bible was written in the first place. (Reading from the Bible, "Revised Standard Version," Exodus ) And the Lord said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I make a covenant with you and with Israel." The traditional belief is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, the story of creation; Exodus, deliverance from slavery to the Promised Land; Leviticus; Numbers; and Deuteronomy, laws of morality and observance.From beneath the sand, appears the corner of a royal monument, carved in stone.Dedicated in honor of Pharaoh Merneptah, son of Ramesses the Great, it became known as the Merneptah Stele. Most of the hieroglyphic inscription celebrates Merneptah's triumph over Libya, his enemy to the West, but almost as an afterthought, he mentions his conquest of people to the East, in just two lines.It is hard to appreciate today how radical an idea this must have been in a world dominated by polytheism, the worship of many gods and idols.The Abraham narrative is part of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, along with Noah and the flood, and Adam and Eve.This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?
How did they come up with an idea that so profoundly changed the world?You cannot afford to ignore the biblical text, especially if you can isolate a kind of kernel of truth behind these stories and then you have the archaeological data.Now what happens when text and artifact seem to point in the same direction?The earliest is the victory stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah, from 1208 B. Both the stele and the Bible place a people called the Israelites in the hill country of Canaan, which includes modern-day Israel and Palestine.It is here, between two of history's greatest empires, that Israel's story will unfold.