Biblical Archaeology Review 8:2, March/April 1982

How Inferior Israelite Forces Conquered Fortified Canaanite Cities

By Abraham Malamat

For over 50 years now, a school of thought associated with the names of the great German scholars Albrecht Alt and Martin Noth has espoused a particular view of what is described in the Bible as the Israelite conquest of Canaan. This view that there was no conquest but, in fact, a peaceful infiltration by way of transhumance—pastoralism, the herder’s trek—into hitherto unoccupied areas, particularly in the central hill country of Palestine.

This “infiltration” model has been accepted widely, inter alia, by several Israeli scholars, in particular by the late Yohanan Aharoni. Other interpretations of the Israelite occupation of Canaan have become fashionable in recent years, most notably the so-called “revolt” model. This model was first suggested by George Mendenhall of the University of Michigan and recently elaborated by Norman K. Gottwald in his adept book The Tribes of Yahweh (Mary-knoll: New York,1979).a

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