New Book Review by Rabbi Hayyim Angel: Bible and Archaeology

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Our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, published a new Book Review in Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) discussing the interface between religious Bible study and archaeology.

Koren Publishers has embarked on an impressive new project, a popular companion to the Torah presenting contemporary research on archaeology, Egyptology, flora and fauna, geology, the languages and realia of the ancient Near East, and other areas that elucidate aspects of the biblical text. It is presented in a similar engaging manner to the Hebrew series, Olam HaTanakh, and like that Hebrew work was composed by a team of scholars who specialize in a variety of fields of scholarship. There are brief articles and glossy photographs, maps, and illustrations that bring these areas to light. Living up to the standard that the community has come to expect from Koren publications, the volume is an impressive work of graphic design, with a high aesthetic sense. Unlike Olam HaTanakh, which also offers a running commentary on biblical books, The Koren Tanakh of the Land of Israel discusses specifically those background areas that may enhance our understanding of the text within its real-world setting.

This series is written from an Orthodox perspective. Its authors believe that God revealed the Torah to Moses, and they utilize contemporary scholarship as a tool for understanding God’s word. The articles generally are presented judiciously, rather than reaching conclusions that exceed the biblical and archaeological evidence. The volume does not purport to be original scholarship, but rather synthesizes contemporary academic scholarship in an accessible and Orthodox-friendly manner.

Here are a few brief examples of how the authors highlight elements of the background of the narrative and laws...

To read the complete review, please go to