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Joshua, Book

Joshua’s Conquest: A Cultural and Pedagogical Dilemma in Modern Israel

Ben-Gurion saw the IDF as a modern instantiation of Joshua’s military might. The Israeli writer and politician S. Yizhar, in contrast, asserted that we should discard Joshua because of the violence and wholesale slaughter recounted in the book. Contemporary Israeli teachers grapple with the question of how to teach students such a core story of Jewish history that is fraught with moral problems.

Dr.

Gili Kugler

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Why Didn’t the Israelites Circumcise in the Wilderness?

Joshua circumcises the Israelites only upon their entry to the land.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Israel Enters the Land in Worship or War?

The Book of Joshua describes Israel waging a military campaign against Jericho and other southern cities. The Song of the Sea (Exodus 15), on the other hand, depicts Israel crossing the Jordan, and YHWH bringing them directly to a temple.

Zvi Koenigsberg

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Israel’s Wood Choppers and Water Drawers

Moses extends the covenant to all of Israel, “from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water” (Deut 29). The midrash connects this group with the Gibeonites of Joshua 9, creating an anachronism which later rabbinic commentators try to resolve.

Dr.

Wendy Love Anderson

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Manasseh’s Genealogies: Why They Change Between Numbers, Joshua, and Chronicles

The genealogy of the tribe of Manasseh appears in Numbers 26 and again in Joshua 17 with slight differences. It appears a third time, in 1 Chronicles 7, wholly reconceived. This highlights how certain biblical genealogies represent tribal kinship patterns that shift over time.

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal: Israel’s Holy Site Before Shiloh

In the eighties, archaeologist Adam Zertal excavated the site of El-Burnat on Mt. Ebal, and uncovered an enormous ancient altar from the early twelfth-century B.C.E. This archaeological find sheds light on the account of Joshua’s altar at Mt. Ebal as well as the famous story of Jacob crossing his arms to bless Ephraim over Manasseh with the birthright.

Zvi Koenigsberg

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The Israelite Conquest of Jerusalem in the Bible: When and Who?

Jerusalem in the 14th century B.C.E. was a Canaanite city; by the 10th/9th century B.C.E. it was Israelite. The Bible records several different accounts of how it was conquered. What are we to make of these different traditions?

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Prehistory of the Balaam Story

When Balaam and Balak were Independent Characters

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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