Biblical Archaeology Review 40:2, March/April 2014

Strata: In Their Own Words

Itamar Singer, author of the following, was one of Israel’s most distinguished historians. He taught at Tel Aviv University. Unfortunately he died on September 19, 2012, at the age of 65.a The excerpt below is from one of his final papers and summarizes a much longer discussion. Our more scholarly readers may consult the original publication.1

The mainstream of current Biblical scholarship tends to accept the premise that the main part of the Deuteronomistic History [Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings] was composed in Jerusalem in the seventh–early sixth century B.C.E.

The more difficult questions concern the sources at the disposal of the late authors and how they were exploited. Most commentators would agree that some written sources must have been kept in the palace or temple library in Jerusalem, probably for educational purposes. These may have included literary and historical works, notably the “Chronicles of the kings of Israel” and the “Chronicles of the kings of Judah” [referred to frequently in the Books of Kings].

Perhaps there were also some royal building inscriptions, such as have been found in neighboring countries, but so far not in Israel.

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