Notes from Philip R. Davies: In Search of 'Ancient Israel', 1992--
Most Bible scholars have traditionally assumed that the Bible is basically a true record of the history of Israel. But Davies observes that their reasons for believing this are in fact only circular arguments:
Articles about the Bible and Biblical History
From Theophyle's English Blog (link to site)
The theological revolution that is reflected in the fifth book of the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy) and in what scholars call the Deuteronomic History, which consists of the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. To emphasize the differences heralded in the Deuteronomic literature, I contrast the concepts found in this literature with other books of the Bible, especially Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers.
Deuteronomys Theological Revolution 1/3
King Josiah of Judah instituted a religious reform in 622 BCE that scholars refer to simply as Josiah’s Reform. It might well be called the Deuteronomic Reform. Israelite religion would never be the same.
Forty-seven years after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BCE and deported many of the people to exile in Babylon, Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, who had conquered the Babylonians and ruled most of the then-known world, allowed the Jews to return to their ancient homeland. They returned in waves. Sheshbazzar, apparently the first Jewish governor of Yehud (Judea), led the first wave and laid the foundation to rebuild the Temple, that is, to construct the Second Temple (Ezra 1:7–11, 5:14–16).
Archaeological Evidence from the Persian Period
Until fairly recently, the Persian period was characterized as the dark age of Israelite history. This is no longer true, partly because of the availability of newer materials, but especially because of the work of Ephraim Stern of Hebrew University and other archaeologists in Israel whose surveys and discoveries have opened new vistas for study of this era of profound change and development.
Rebuilding the Temple
Return and Restoration Under the Persians
For we are bondmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem. (Ezra 9:9)