For those of you who read my blog, it will be no surprise to you that I have an interest in Israel and Jewish history. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are both in history, and I also have a MLS in Library Science. So history and reading are central to who I am and the types of things I like to read - in addition to fiction, of course. I maintain a separate blog for Holocaust Resources for K-12 young people.
I am always looking for ways to self-educate on these topics. One great place is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT OpenCourseWare with free access to over 2000 different college level courses. I am slowly working though the readings for the course: Jews from Biblical to Modern Times.
This book is a fascinating look at the domestic, economic, political, cultural, and religious life of the Israelites dating back to the eight century B.C.E. The archaeological records are matched to biblical verses creating a very interesting journey through Biblical history. In particular, I loved the domestic and cultural sections. Life centered around the home, which in many cases was a three-leveled pillared house. The ground level served as a manger for the animals owned by the family. The animals were taken out to pasture daily and the ground floor was cleaned. The head of the household and immediate family slept on the second level. The third level, or roof level, was used for outdoor family activities. Often a number of houses were found together in a family compound.
TITLE: Life in Biblical Israel
AUTHOR: Philip King and Lawrence Stager
RECOMMEND: For an academic text written by historians, this book was very readable and interesting. I am very glad that I was led to it.
SERIES: Library of Ancient Israel