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Ya'irHoffman,"HekerHa-HistoriaHa-Mikra'it,Mitos U-Politika"[The Examinationof Biblical History,Myth and Politics], Ha-Pulmusal Ha-EmetHa-HistoritBa-Mikra[The Controversy over HistoricalTruthin the Bible], op cit, pp. 26-33. Hoffmanpointed out the polemic natureof certain works thatostensiblydeal with biblical historiography,but actuallyhave a contemporarypolitical agenda. He cited, for example, Keith W. Whitelam, The InventionofAncient Israel: TheSilencing of PalestinianHistory,Londonand New York:Routledge, 1996.

109. 1999. 39 Anita Shapira of the Canaanitesto the land. But these were not groundsfor dismissing the Minimalist case. Biblical testimony speaks of the Israelitesas an externalpopulationfromHaranand Egypt, essentiallydifferentin culturefrom the locals. ""'3 And so it was that soon after pronouncingthe death of the Bible as a "nationalnarrative" he reinvokedit as a hedge againstnihilistic views thatthreatenedto weaken the link between Jewish identityand the Bible. In face of the "religious-Canaanite"conceptions since the Six-Day 110.

The bond betweenthe Jewishpeople and the ancientland appearedto be a given (after all, no one cast doubt on the Jewish presence in the land of Israel since Persiantimes, at least). With the exception of religious Jews who took the Bible as divine inspiration,it was generally regardedas representingthe Jewish people'straditionalapproachto theirhistoryratherthanas a neutralhistoricaltext; as the common culturalheritage ratherthan as objective truth. Ben-Gurionexpressed a similarapproach:the Bible was not a history book.

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Association for Jewish studies 2004-28(1) by Association for Jewish studies

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