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Book: The Hunt for Ancient Israel

Chapter: Introduction

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41633


This volume honoring Diana V. Edelman focuses on a pervasive topic of her prolific scholarship, namely her pursuit of the history of ancient Israel. She has contributed to Southern Levantine history, archaeology, and culture within the larger framework of the ancient Near East. She has added much to our knowledge of emerging forms of Judaisms in the Persian and Hellenistic periods as well as strategies for re-conceptualizing the divine in the biblical texts. In particular, she has addressed different “sites of memory” (cf. Pierre Nora’s concept lieux de mémoire), which includes, for instance, geography/space, buildings, monuments, religious texts, people/figures, and events. The purpose of these sites of memory is to bring up images that stimulate collective remembrance of the past and offer directions for the future. Diana has argued that characters, places, objects, and the like mentioned in the Hebrew Bible represent such “sites of memory” and that they together form a network of sites of memories, what she has called “the memory landscape” of ancient Israel (2013). In this network, some are emphasized more than others, so as to play a more prominent role and thus becoming a “core central site of memory” (e.g., Abraham, Moses, David). Not only do these characters have much narrative content about their lives, but they are also mentioned as key figures, serving as central and symbolic figures in the community, aiding it in their understanding of its shared past, its current condition, as well as defining aspirations for the future.

Chapter Contributors

  • Cynthia Shafer-Elliott ( - cshaferelliott) 'Jessup University'
  • Kristin Joachimsen ( - kJoachimsen) 'Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society'
  • Ehud Ben Zvi ( - ebenzvi) 'History and Classics - University of Alberta'
  • Pauline Viviano ( - pviviano) 'Loyola University of Chicago'