BAR editor Hershel Shanks called me because he was curious why my book published in 2005, on the Israelite settlement, would, at a publisher’s suggestion, be republished with a new preface1; perhaps there was something particularly relevant that justified a republication.
Indeed, there was. It’s not about the minimalist/maximalist debate over the existence of the Israelite monarchy in the tenth century B.C.E. but about the earlier period, between 1200 and 1000, when the Israelite tribes were settling down in what was to become the Land of Israel. What was life like for the Israelite tribes in this period before statehood? (I am not concerned with the issue of the Israelite conquest. I think most scholars are agreed that the conquest did not occur as the Bible describes it, although Hazor may have been conquered by the Israelites, as excavator Amnon Ben-Tor powerfully argues.)