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In line with evolutionary theories abroad at the time, the actual religion of Israel nomadic ancestors was described as an animism or polydaemonism.’ The resultant confusion leaves us today with a conviction that Abraham was an historical figure, yet with no really convincing time slot archaeologically in which to place him, which can bear up to solid scrutiny, and certainly no positive identification of events in Abraham’ life occurring at any particular time slot archaeologically.
The accepted or evolutionary time scale for the Paleolithic to Iron Age sequence, when placed side by side with the known time relationships in the Scripture concerning Abraham, allows a placement of Abraham of somewhere around the Middle Bronze I period (abbreviated MB I variously referred to as Early Bronze IV (EB IV) in Palestine, or Intermediate Early Bronze-Middle Bronze (see Figure 1).
A prolific author, his major works include Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, The Archaeology of Palestine: From the Stone Age to Christianity, and The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra.
He also edited the Anchor Bible volumes on Jeremiah, Matthew, and Revelation.
Bab Edh-Dhraʿ was destroyed in 2350 BC (Early Bronze period), while most biblical scholars believe that the Patriarchs lived in the Middle Bronze period (2166–1550 BC).
And yet this land was the birthplace of a literary masterpiece that has exerted an unparalleled impact on world civilization as both sacred scripture and history.
More than two hundred years of detailed study of the Hebrew text of the Bible and ever more wide-ranging exploration in all the lands between the Nile and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have enabled us to begin to understand when, why, and how the Bible came to be.
Osgood This article, ‘The times of Abraham’, attempts to show that the present accepted archaeological period placement of Abraham in the Palestinian Middle Bronze I period (MB I A nomenclature) has no basis in substance, and attempts to show that only the late Chalcolithic culture of Palestine satisfies the biblical criteria, so forcing a radical revision of the accepted chronology of the ancient world, in terms of biblical statements.
However, particularly since the documentary hypothesis (J. As John Bright puts it (after discussing the JEDP theory): ‘As for the patriarchal stories, though they were valued for the light they cast on the beliefs and practices of the respective periods in which the various documents were written, their worth as sources of information concerning Israel’ prehistory was regarded as minimal if not nil.