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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(A4) When was the Biblical Historiography Written? Which Sources did it Rely on?

Prof. Oded Lipschits

The biblical historiography began to be written in the days of Josiah, several decades before the destruction of the First Temple, in order to explain to the readers in Jerusalem of that time period how they should understand the past and learn from it about the reality of their day, and the way they should behave in the future. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the exile of the Judean elite to Babylon and the disappearance of the House of David, and later on, during the Persian period, the return of some of this elite to Judah and the reestablishment of Jerusalem as the one and only cult center, necessitated a sharp change in the understanding of history and the reality in which that elite existed, and an adaptation of the historical description to that reality.
The events of the past themselves are not as important as the historical memory, and the way in which the past is shaped in hindsight during each generation. It was not possible to change what was known to the general public, and what has changed is the interpretation of these events and the causes and factors that led to them, as well as their results and their link to other events, which could also be interpreted as a punishment or a reward.

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