Jerusalem is the center of the universe, the hub of the three great monotheistic religions, yet how did a city located on the desert fringe, in the semi-arid southern highlands of Israel with little tillable land achieve such dominance? To provide answers to this enduring riddle, Israel Finkelstein has collected twenty-four of his best articles and essays covering the Middle Bronze Age to the late Hellenistic period. With critical and well-informed care, he analyzes archaeological evidence that often stands in tension with the biblical text. Topics of particular interest include the archaeology of the tenth century BCE; Saul, David, and Solomon in the Bible and archaeology; the first expansion of the city in the ninth century; its full growth in the late eighth to seventh centuries; Jerusalem and Judah under the Assyrian Empire; the days of King Josiah; and transformations in the Persian-Hellenistic era. Short addenda update the reader on recent developments.
Israel Finkelstein is Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and the Head of the School of Archaeology and Maritime Cultures at the University of Haifa. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences He is the author or editor of more than 400 articles and many books, including The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (with Neil Silberman, 2001) and The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel (2013), winner of the Prix Delalande Guérineau, 2014, of the French Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres.