It is hard to appreciate today how radical an idea this must have been in a world dominated by polytheism, the worship of many gods and idols.
The Abraham narrative is part of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, along with Noah and the flood, and Adam and Eve.
This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?
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The well-established Egyptian chronology gives the date as 1208 B. Merneptah's Stele is powerful evidence that a people called the Israelites are living in Canaan, in what today includes Israel and Palestine, over 3,000 years ago.
The ancient Israelites are best known through familiar stories that chronicle their history: Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Ten Commandments, David and Goliath. Through writing the Hebrew Bible, the beliefs of the ancient Israelites survive to become Judaism, one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced religions.
The earliest is the victory stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah, from 1208 B. Both the stele and the Bible place a people called the Israelites in the hill country of Canaan, which includes modern-day Israel and Palestine.
How did they come up with an idea that so profoundly changed the world?Now, archaeologists and biblical scholars are arriving at a new synthesis that promises to reveal not only fresh historical insights but a deeper meaning of what the authors of the Bible wanted to convey.