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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Rothberg International School

Division of Graduate Studies

01631- David and Solomon and the United Monarchy,

Archaeology and the Biblical Narrative
Spring semester 2016/2017
Doron Ben-Ami
Office Hours: by appointment. E-mail:

Course Description:
The period of the United Monarchy under King David and King Solomon (ca. 1000-928 BCE) is illuminated
by the Bible which serves as the only written source for this period. Although the historical evaluations of the
biblical narrative relating to the United Monarchy vary, historians have treated it in general with credibility.
Upon reading the Bible, one would expect archaeology to prove the existence of the strong, mature state of
David and Solomon with large city in Jerusalem. Yet, this view came under attack during the last two decades
by a group of scholars casting doubt on its very historicity. Their principal claims, among others, are that such
a kingdom is not mentioned in any written source outside the Bible and that Jerusalem, its supposed capital,
was almost entirely unsettled.
This course is intended to provide students with an overview of the archaeology of the United Monarchy,
focusing on the crucial question of whether the archaeology of this period stands on solid ground.

By integrating the study of written sources and archaeological finds the course presents a current view of the
history of ancient Israel in this time.
Note: Special attention is given to field work one day of excavations in the City of David!

Requirements: Diligent preparation (reading of the assigned material prior to class), uninterrupted
attendance and active participation in class discussions.

Course evaluation is based on the following:

1. Midterm paper


2. Final exam


List of major topics to be covered in this course:

Session A - The written sources:

- Biblical and extra-biblical written sources - understanding the problem of
reconstruction the history of ancient Israel.
- The dialogue between texts and artifacts in history-writing.

Session B - The United Monarchy: Israel in the time of David and Solomon.
- Jerusalem the capital of the United Monarchy or the capital of Judah only?
- Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem: cultural and chronological settings.
- The Shishak Campaign to the Land of Israel in 925 BCE.
- The House of David Stele from Tel Dan historical and archaeological observations.
- Religion and cult in ancient Israel
- General aspect of the Israelite material culture: art, foreign connections, burial
customs and other aspects.

Session C - The Divided Monarchy: Israel and Judah.

- The collapse of the kingdom of Israel.
- Israel in the shadow of Assyrian domination.

Reading - selected items:

Ben-Tor, A.

Hazor and the Chronology of Northern Israel: A Reply to Israel

Finkelstein, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research

317:9-15 E-JOURNAL
Ben-Tor, A. and Ben Ami, D.

Hazor and the Archaeology of the Tenth Century B.C.E., IEJ

48:1-37. E-JOURNAL

Biran, A. and Naveh, J.


An Aramaic stele Fragment from Tel Dan, IEJ 43:81-98. E-JOURNAL


The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment, IEJ 45:1-18. E-JOURNAL


House of David Built on Sand, BAR (Biblical Archaeology Review) 20 (Vol. 4):54-55.

ERESERVE 001221391
Dever, W.G.

What did the Biblical Writers Know and When did they Know it?
What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel
Michigan\Cambridge. OVERSEAS LIBRARY 221.93 D491

Finkelstein, I.

The Archaeology of the United Monarchy: an Alternative View,

Levant 28:177-187. E-Journal


Bible Archaeology or Archaeology of Palestine in the Iron Age?

A rejoinder, Levant 30:167-174. E-JOURNAL


Hazor and the North in the Iron Age: A Low Chronology Perspective,
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 314, pp. 55-70.


Handy, L.K. (ed),


The Age of Solomon, Studies in the History and Culture of the Ancient
Near East (edited by B. Halpern and M. Weippert) Vol. XI, Leiden.

Knoppers, G.N.

The Vanishing Solomon: The Disappearance of the United Monarchy from

Recent Histories of Ancient Israel, Journal of Biblical Literature
116/1:19-44. E-JOURNAL

Lemaire, A.



House of David Restored in Moabite Inscription, BAR 20 (3):30-37.

Mazar, A.

Iron Age Chronology: A Reply to I. Finkelstein, Levant 29, pp. 157-167.

Ussishkin, D. E-JOURNAL

King Solomons Palace and Building 1723 in Megiddo, IEJ 16:174-186.


Hazor, the Head of all those Kingdoms, The Schweich Lectures of the
British Academy, London. Overseas Library E13 Y12