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And it is the Jews who give the world an astounding legacy, the belief in one God.This belief will become the foundation of two other great monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam.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.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.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 here, between two of history's greatest empires, that Israel's story will unfold.
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?
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Though they convey a powerful message, to date, there is no archaeology or text outside of the Bible to corroborate them.
The farther back you go in the biblical text, the more difficult it is to find historical material in it. Genesis is, for the most part, a compilation of myths, creation stories, things like that, and to find a historical core there is very difficult.