December 2, 2015
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The Israelites: An Introduction by Antony Kamm. A concise introduction to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah up to 135 AD. Includes maps, a chronology, and a bibliography. Clearly written and very interesting.
The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel by Israel Finkelstein. The history of the northern kingdom of Israel from the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1350 BC) to its fall in 720 BC and beyond.
An Illustrated History of the Jewish People by Lawrence Joffe. Includes information about the ancient patriarchs and kings.
Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down. Examines archaeological evidence of the Biblical history of Israel.
Chronicle of the Old Testament Kings: The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers of Ancient Israel by John Rogerson. Contains information on every ruler, family trees, maps, portraits, and more. Although this book is informative, it's a bit dry and fragmentary; I would recommend reading the above title by Antony Kamm first.
Kings of the Jews: The Origins of the Jewish Nation by Norman Gelb. Explores the united Israelite kingdom under David and Solomon, the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the Babylonian exile, the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, and more. With illustrations, maps, chronologies, and index.
Kings and Prophets: The State and Resistance to the State in the Ancient World by Cristiano Grottanelli. Deals with Biblical royalty.
The Early Monarchy in Israel: The Tenth Century B.C.E. by Walter Dietrich, translated by Joachim Vette.
Good Kings and Bad Kings edited by Lester L. Grabbe. Some of the essays in this book survey the history and archaeology of Judah from Sennacherib to Nebuchadnezzar. Several examine the reign of Manasseh. Others ask what we know of the reign of Josiah and what form his famous cult reform took, and whether it was historical.
Piety and Politics by Dale Launderville. The dynamics of royal authority in Homeric Greece, biblical Israel, and old Babylonian Mesopotamia.
In the Service of the King: Officialdom in Ancient Israel and Judah by Nili Sacher Fox. Analyzes the titles and roles of civil officials and functionaries, including palace attendants, in Israel and Judah during the monarchic period.
Critical Appraisal of the Origin and Nature of the Institution of the Monarchy in Israel in the Light of Eric Voegelin's Theory of Symbolic Forms by Caroline J. Nolan. A study of the development of the monarchy in Israel in its move from compactness to differentiation.
Bible & Religion
The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes From the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity by Margaret Barker. Shows how closely early Christian expectations were based upon the ancient royal cult in Jerusalem.
Historical Israel, Biblical Israel: Studying Joshua to 2 Kings by Mary E. Mills. The Old Testament tells the story of ancient Israel from its origins to its collapse in the face of foreign invaders. But how does it fit in with archaeological findings?
There's Such Divinity Doth Hedge a King: Selected Essays of Nicolas Wyatt on Royal Ideology in Ugaritic and Old Testament Literature by Nicolas Wyatt. Explores early cultural influences on Israelite kingship.
Jeremiah's Kings: A Study of the Monarchy in Jeremiah by John Brian Job. Examines the treatment of rulers contemporary with the prophet and shows that the attitude to these kings varied greatly from one part of the book to another.
The Body Royal: The Social Poetics of Kingship in Ancient Israel by Mark W. Hamilton. Argues that the royal psalms contain official notions about the royal body and its use. The king was thought to have an outsized, superhuman body owing to his being the son of the deity, a status he attained upon his coronation.
No Tolerance for Tyrants: The Biblical Assault on Kings and Kingship by Robert Gnuse. Argues that the Bible portrays kings as human, serving as a powerful text for equality for all people.
Moses - The Prince, the Prophet; His Life, Legend & Message for Our Lives by Rabbi Levi Meier. Explores a life intertwined with the story of a people, from the Exodus to the revelation on Sinai. The author draws on stories from the Book of Exodus, ancient Jewish texts, mystic teachings, modern texts, and psychotherapy.
Fiction About Moses
Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neal Hurston. A retelling of the story of Moses serves as an allegory for the struggle of American blacks for release from slavery.
The Midwife's Song by Brenda Ray. Novel about the birth of Moses.
(Scroll down to the DVD section for movies and documentaries about Moses.)
Saul and the Monarchy: A New Look by Simcha Shalom Brooks. The Bible is biased in favour of King David at the expense of King Saul. This book presents a more positive picture of Saul.
King Saul in the Historiography of Judah by Diana Vikander Edelman. A close reading of 1 Samuel 8 to 2 Samuel 1 from the perspective of an ancient Israelite. The study reveals a coherent, carefully developed narrative of Saul's career as the first king of Israel.
How Are the Mighty Fallen? A Dialogical Study of King Saul in 1 Samuel by Barbara Green. Argues that the narrative of 1 Samuel may be read as a riddle propounding the complex story of Israel/Judah's experience with kings as an instruction for those pondering leadership choices in the sixth century.
King Saul's Asking by Barbara Green. Explores the characterization of Saul and the multiple complexities of responsibility for kingship. The author is a professor of Biblical studies.
Three Faces of Saul: An Intertextual Approach to Biblical Tragedy by Sarah Nicholson. Compares the classic Biblical tragedy of Saul with later reworkings in Lamartine's drama "Saul: Tragedie" and Thomas Hardy's novel "The Mayor of Casterbridge."
The King and the Apostle by Myrtle Nord. Fictionalized account of Saul's life from a Christian perspective.
The Prince: Jonathan by Francine Rivers. Novel about the oldest son of King Saul (Christian fiction).
The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero by Joel Baden. Exposes an ambitious, ruthless man who achieved power by any means necessary, including murder, theft, bribery, sex, deceit, and treason.
David's Secret Demons: Messiah, Murderer, Traitor, King by Baruch Halpern examines the historical evidence about the life of King David of Israel.
King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel by Jonathan Kirsch. Reminds readers that David is not myth but human, both heroic and flawed. (Review © Amazon.com.)
King David: A Biography by Steven L. McKenzie is a revisionist account of a life that has been viewed as heroic throughout history. Taking a stance against this traditional view, Hebrew scholar Steven L. McKenzie maintains that David was in fact tyrannical. Thus, McKenzie's version of the David story reads like a modern soap opera, with plenty of sex, violence, and struggles for power. (Review © Amazon.com.)
The Life of David by Robert Pinsky. The former poet laureate of the United States plumbs the depths of David's life: his triumphs and his failures, his charm and his cruelty, his divine destiny and his human humiliations.
David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. The earliest folklore about King David depicts him as a bandit leader. Later authors added images of David as a poet and founder of a great dynasty. This book shows shows how the stories of David and Solomon reflect the roots of Western tradition.
David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel by Joseph Blenkinsopp. Traces the development of traditions about David in the collective memory of the people of Israel and the first Christians, from the extinction of the Davidic dynasty in the sixth century B.C. to the early common era.
This Noble House: Jewish Descendants of King David in the Medieval Islamic East by Arnold E. Franklin. Explores the preoccupation with Biblical genealogy and Davidic ancestry among Jews in the Islamic Near East between the 11th and 14th centuries.
King David in Fiction
Day of War by Cliff Graham. In ancient Israel, a band of mercenaries struggles to establish a throne for a warlord named David. First book in the Lion of War series.
Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen by India Edghill. A novel about Michal, daughter of King Saul and wife of King David.
Michal by Jill Eileen Smith. When King Saul's daughter Michal falls in love with her father's harpist, David, she has no idea what romance, adventures, and heartache await her. From the Wives of King David series. (Christian fiction.)
Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith. Second book in the Wives of King David series. (Christian fiction.)
Bathsheba: A Novel by Jill Eileen Smith. The passionate and emotional story of King David's most infamous wife. (Christian fiction.)
David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr. The story of a gifted Biblical-era king and the woman he loved but could not have. (Christian fiction.)
Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin. Tells the story of King Hezekiah, heir to the throne of King David. When his father plots to sacrifice him, his mother searches frantically for a way to save him. (Christian fiction.)
Solomon: The Lure of Wisdom by Steven Weitzman. Tells the story of ancient Israel's greatest ruler, and examines what Solomon's life and writings have meant for Jews, Christians, and Muslims for 2000 years.
The Age of Solomon edited by Lowell K. Handy. Essays about Solomon and 10th century BC Judah and Israel.
The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon's Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness by Steven K. Scott. Promises to reveal King Solomon's "breakthrough strategies to achieve a life of financial success and personal fulfillment."
King Solomon in Fiction
Solomon's Song by Roberta Kells Dorr. On the cusp of adulthood, King David's son Solomon finds himself infatuated with a lowly shepherdess. But his mother expects him to marry a princess first. (Christian fiction)
Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen by Lesley Hazleton. Biography of the proud and courageous queen of Israel, who was vilified by her political enemies.
Jezebel: Portraits of a Queen by Patricia Dutcher-Walls. Provides insight into two depictions of Jezebel: Jezebel the story character, taken from narrative criticism, and Jezebel the queen, drawn from a sociological study.
Music in the Old Bones: Jezebel Through the Ages by Janet Howe Gaines. Jezebel, who lived in the 9th century B.C., was a Phoenician princess who married King Ahab of Israel. She was hated as a foreigner and eventually murdered. Although she is remembered as a symbol of evil, this book argues that she was unfairly scapegoated through the ages.
Jezebel in Fiction
Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett. Torn from her homeland, Jezebel struggles between devotion to the gods she worships, the prince who loves her, and her thirst for revenge. (Christian fiction.)
Jezebel by Eleanor De Jong. Fiction. Jezebel, a young princess of Tyre, is destined to marry King Ahab of Israel, but begins an illicit affair with Jehu, a visiting prince.
Herod: King of the Jews and Friend of the Romans by Peter Richardson presents a complex portrait of Herod.
Herod the Great: Statesman, Visionary, Tyrant by Norman Gelb. Explores how Herod transformed his kingdom into a thriving state within the Roman Empire. Despite his horrific failings, he was a dynamic statesman and one of the most underrated personalities of ancient times.
The True Herod by Geza Vermes. This book opens up the fascinating character of Herod the Great, from his sizable and fragile ego to his devastation at the execution of his beloved wife - an execution he ordered himself.
The Death of Herod: An Essay in the Sociology of Religion by Richard K. Fenn. About Herod's death and burial.
The Many Faces of Herod the Great by Adam Kolman Marshak. Draws on historical, archaeological, and literary sources to chronicle how Herod moved from bankrupt usurper to a powerful king who brought ancient Judaea to prosperity.
The Building Program of Herod the Great by Duane W. Roller. An essential aspect of Herod's responsibilities as king of Judaea was his role as a builder. Remarkably innovative, he created an astonishing record of architectural achievement, not only in Judaea but also throughout Greece and the Roman east.
King Herod: Current Applications and Future Perspectives by Aryeh Kasher. Discusses the enigma of King Herod, who was both a bloodthirsty tyrant and a great builder. According to this book, his mental state was consistent with Paranoid Personality disorder. Haunted by delusions, he executed almost anyone suspected of treason, including his wife and three sons.
Herod: The Man Who Had to Be King by Yehuda Shulewitz. Novel about the conflict between Rome, the Jewish people, and Herod -- the devoted family man of malevolent moods for whom no challenge is too great or bloody to reach his goal of becoming king.
The Tragedy of Mariam the Fair Queen of Jewry by Elizabeth Cary, Barry Weller, and Margaret W. Ferguson. This 17th century play about Herod's wife Mariamne was the first original play by a woman to be published in England.
King Josiah of Judah: The Lost Messiah of Israel by Marvin A. Sweeney.
The King and the Cemeteries: Toward a New Understanding of Josiah's Reform by W. Boyd Barrick.
King David by Louise Chipley Slavicek. Biography for young adult readers.
Solomon by Jennifer Vance. Biography for young adult readers.
Herod the Great by Robert Green. A biography for children ages 9-12.
Pharaoh's Daughter by Julius Lester. Young adult novel about Moses. Armed with an impressive knowledge of the Hebrew language and the history of ancient Egypt, the author brings a fresh and richly detailed perspective to the Exodus. (Review © Amazon.com.)
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Moses and the Ten Commandments. This TV documentary tells the story of the Exodus in all its majesty, using abundant location footage, rare paintings and artifacts, and interviews with Biblical experts.
Who Was Moses? Documentary. Did Moses exist, and did he lead his people through the wilderness to the promised land? The evidence from Egyptian records, scientific studies, and biblical research suggests that he did. Sometimes available at Amazon.
Moses. Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley plays Moses in this movie about an ordinary man called upon by God to become a great leader.
The Ten Commandments. Famous 1956 film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, with Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Ramses.
The Prince of Egypt. 1998 animated film about Moses's youth, featuring the voices of Val Kilmer, Patrick Stewart, and Ralph Fiennes.
The Conquerors: King David. King David ruled peacefully for over 40 years. But with one mistake, he set in motion a string of tragedies that nearly destroyed his family and his kingdom. This program tells David's story, drawing on rare paintings and artifacts, interviews with experts, and visits to ancient holy lands.
King David. 1985 movie starring Richard Gere as David.
David and Bathsheba. A 1951 movie with Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward in the title roles.
Solomon & Sheba: An Epic Love Story. Despite his 700 wives, King Solomon was a lonely and introspective man for much of his rule. Who was the mysterious queen who finally captured his heart?
Digging for the Truth: Quest for King Solomon's Gold. Of all the rulers mentioned in the Bible, King Solomon was purportedly the wisest -- and the richest, thanks to goldmines in the mysterious land of Ophir. But where can Ophir be found today? From the History Channel.
The Bible - Solomon. This 2000 movie chronicles the rise of Solomon (Ben Cross) from a weakling mama's boy to a ruler known for his wisdom, international alliances, and oh yes, those thousand wives. Vivica A. Fox plays the queen of Sheba. (Review © Amazon.com)
The Queen of Sheba. Movie starring Leonora Ruffo and Gino Cervi. When the son of King Solomon falls in love with the Queen of Sheba, their affair leads to an epic war pitting two powerful nations against one another.
Treasure! King Herod's Lost City. Two thousand years ago, King Herod the Great built a wondrous city by the sea, but later rulers destroyed it rather than let it fall into enemy hands. After six centuries beneath the desert sand, the ancient city of Caesarea is finally revealing its secrets.
Queen Esther of Persia