How the Bible Became a Book
Forthepasttwohundredyearsbiblicalscholarshaveusuallyassumedthat the Hebrew Bible was written and edited mostly in the Persianand Hellenistic periods (the ﬁfth through second centuries
).Recent archaeological evidence and insights from linguistic anthro-pology, however, point to the earlier era of the late Iron Age (eighththough sixth centuries
) as the formative period for the writingofbiblicalliterature.
combinesrecentar-chaeological discoveries in the Middle East with insights culled fromthehistoryofwritingtoaddresshowtheBibleﬁrstcametobewrittendown and then became sacred Scripture. This book, written for gen-eral readers and scholars alike, provides rich insight into why thesetexts came to have authority as Scripture and explores why ancientIsrael,anoralculture,begantowriteliterature.Itdescribesanemerg-ing literate society in ancient Israel that challenges the assertion thatliteracy ﬁrst arose in Greece during the ﬁfth century
William M. Schniedewind is a professor of biblical studies andNorthwestSemiticlanguagesandthechairoftheDepartmentofNearEastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, LosAngeles. He has been a visiting scholar at the Hebrew Universityin Jerusalem and a Fellow at the Albright Institute of ArcheologicalResearch.Heistheauthorof
Societyand thePromiseto David.