This volume of essays draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze religious diversity in Ancient Israel. Our understanding of the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Israelites has changed considerably in recent years. It is now increasingly accepted among scholars that the biblical presentation of Israelite religion is often at odds with the likely historical realities of ancient Israel's religious climate. As such, the diversity inherent within ancient Israelite religion is often overlooked - particularly within university lecture halls and classrooms. This volume of essays draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze this religious diversity. Following an introductory essay guiding the reader through the book, the collection falls into three sections. The first focuses on conceptual diversities. It seeks to deconstruct common assumptions about Israelite religion and reconstructs Israelite perceptions of the nature of the religious world. The second section examines socio-religious diversities.
It studies the varied social contexts of ancient Israelites, exploring the relationship between worshippers' social locations and their perceptions and experiences of the divine. The third section deals with geographical diversities. It seeks to understand how geographical distinctions may engender certain characteristics within Israelite religion and impact upon religious perceptions.
Francesca Stavrakopoulou is Lecturer in Hebrew Bible, University of Exeter. Her research focuses on ancient Israelite religion, Judahite kingship, and history and ideology in the Hebrew Bible. John Barton is Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford.