Ancient Israel edited by Hershel Shanks

This book states at the outset that it is not anti-religious, but it clearly goes to great lengths to provide secular explanations for events that in the bible are attributed to divine intervention. In one chapter it states that the nomadic Jews, coming out of the desert armed with primitive weapons, could not possibly have taken a walled city like Jericho, completely ignoring what the bible says about this. Other chapters dealing with events not recorded in the bible give better treatment. The account of the Hellenistic period and the Maccabean revolt illustrates a dilemma for people like me who are both Christian and admirers of Western civilization: history teaches us to believe that Greek civilization was a good thing, but when this amounts to defiling and desecrating Jewish religion with Greek paganism, whose side should I be on? As Irenaeus put it, what has Athens to do with Jerusalem? This book in its secular approach seems to favor Athens over Jerusalem, but Jehovah lives on.

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