Where can I find information about the period 2000 BCE - 1300 BCE in the Levant with focus on Caanites and (possibly) proto-Hebrews?

Period from the very beginning of the tribal organization of what was to become the people of Israel to the time of Egyptian control over the region but before the bronze age collapse.

It can be chapters in books, websites, scholary papers, ... .


2 Answers 2


There is a large number of scholarly texts that deal with this period, or parts of it. Some good places to start (in alphabetical order only) would be:

  • John Bright, A History of Israel (2nd ed; London: The Westminster Press, 1972);

Bright's book was hugely influential at the time, though be aware that much of it has been since superceded, and is no longer considered an accurate reflection of the present state of academic historical discourse.

  • J. Maxwell Miller and John Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (2nd ed; Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006);

Miller and Hayes' book is my personal favourite: an excellent introduction to the field of ANE historiography, and a very readable survey of what mainstream academics today believe about the land of Israel in ancient times. Up to date.

  • Iain Provan, V. Philips Long and Tremper Longman III, A Biblical History of Israel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003);

Depending on preference, you may either enjoy or be frustrated with Provan, Long and Longman. They are so-called "maximalists" - desirous to portray the narratives of the Bible as being historically true, to the extent that they have each independantly been criticised at different times by more 'mainstream' historians. Their book is, however, up-to-date.

  • Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel and Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992);

Redford is an egyptologist and Egypt is the primary focus of this text. That said, it has some excellent material on the Levant and is hugely recommended.

  • D. Winton Thomas (ed.), Archaeology and Old Testament Study (London: Oxford University Press, 1967);

This is very much out of date, so far as the basic historical information is concerned, but it remains an excellent primer on the nature of archaeology and what can be learned from it. If you are interested in more background of that nature, without the focus on the ANE, I recommend Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn, Archaeology: Theories Methods and Practice (3rd ed; London: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

  • Marc Van De Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

Most of the material within this text does not pertain to the Levant (or "Syria-Palestine", as he describes it), but it is of inestimable value for putting the Levant into its geo-political context. The same author has A History of Ancient Egypt (2011), which is likewise excellent.


The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History covers this period very well, as well at the area's interactions with the nearby peoples of Iran, Africa, and Asia Minor (and in some extreme cases, Europe).

The atlas takes a fairly unsual (but very effective) form, in that it keeps the map's geographic area the same on every page, but advances the narrative by a set amount, and adjusts the political/cultural borders accordingly.

My copy does have a few bits that are a bit shaky. For instance, he tries to place the Hebrews in Egypt down to a specific ruler, which is contraversial to say the least. Still, it is otherwise a really good compilation of available sources in a very easy to process form.

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