The history of the ancient Near East in the 12th-10th centuries BCE is still an unsolved riddle. At times the veil is lifted and tiny components of this elaborate puzzle glow in a new light. But many questions are as yet unanswered, and most details are still vague. Nevertheless, the broad outlines of this age are fairly well agreed by most scholars: the three superpowers Egypt, Hatti and Assyria gradually lost their hold and their influence in the area: first the Hittites, just after 1200 BCE, and a few dozens of years later, Egypt and Assyria. Historians generally concur that after the reign of Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243-1208 BCE), Assyria plunged into a prolonged decline, gradually losing its western territories to the Aramaean invaders. (...) The studies presented in this book touch on diverse aspects of human activities (political, social, economic, and cultural), and refer to different parts of the ancient Near East: from Melid and Hanigalbat in the north to Egypt and Kush in the south and from Assyria and Babylonia in the East to the Kingdom of Taita and (southern) Philistia in the west. They do though center mainly on the Bible and the history of ancient Israel and its western and eastern neighbors, as compared with other ancient Near Eastern cultures. The papers present an extensive vista of views-from biblical and archaeological perspectives and indeed most of them were written from an inter disciplinary standpoint.
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