Ancient Israelite Religion offers a brief, accessible, and perceptive account of the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Israelites, analyzing the complex and varied ways in which they present and preserve themselves in the Hebrew Bible. Drawing on the most recent literary scholarship and archaeological evidence, the author provides a compelling account of how the culture of the Israelites changed over three great historical periods--the distant pre-monarchic age, the monarchies of Israel and Judah, and the Babylonian exile and return. The heart of the book is a rich description of the Israelites' religious life as revealed in the Hebrew Bible. Exploring how they described their experience of God, Niditch draws out consistent themes in the Biblical stories. Most importantly, she allows us to see the world through the Israelites' eyes as she reconstructs both their habits and their larger worldview.
Ideal for introduction to the Bible and introduction to religion courses, this insightful, subtly nuanced portrait is also easily understandable to general readers. It brings to life this ancient people whose legacy continues to influence and captivate the world today.
"A very useful overview of ancient Israelite religion, made especially helpful by its use of archaeological materials and the inclusion of supplementary reading suggestions at the end of each chapter."--Victor Roland Gold, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
"An innovative new approach to the religion of ancient Israel which integrates archaeology, literature, and anthropological theory. A stimulating window into the world of all of ancient Israel."--William Schniedewind, UCLA
"Susan Niditch is well known for her distinguished work on biblical symbolism and folklore in the biblical tradition. In this volume she has drawn upon those resources, and far more, to produce a rich portrait of ancient Israelite religion that considers both the corporate and the individual, the ideas and the ritual, as well as the ethical aspects of the worldview of the people behind the Hebrew Scriptures."--Gene M. Tucker, Professor Emeritus, Emory
"Using archaeological evidence as well as biblical texts, Niditch is able to convey the richness and diversity of Israelite religious beliefs and practices without privileging those that are normative in the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, her sensitive analysis of religious life in the biblical world goes beyond and behind the largely androcentric and urban interests of the biblical writers. She considers issues of gender and social setting, and she connects them
to ideas and customs familiar to the contemporary reader."--Carol Meyers, Duke University
"An interesting review of Israelite religion as depicted in the Bible. Niditch focuses on religion rather than philosophy or history, bringing into the foreground a topic often insufficiently distinguished from other areas of Bible studies."--Joshua Fox, Hebrew University, Israel