The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris has awarded Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University the prestigious Delalande-Guérineau Prize for his book Le Royaume Biblique Oublié (The Forgotten Kingdom) (Paris, 2013). The prize, which honors exemplary works in Orientalism, has been awarded every other year since the nineteenth century.
Prof. Finkelstein, of TAU's Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, is one of the world's foremost biblical archaeologists. Notably, he has challenged attempts by others in this field to approach biblical narratives uncritically. A proponent of "low chronology," Prof. Finkelstein supports the archaeological reconstruction of history that shifts the traditional chronology of Levantine monuments forward by approximately one hundred years. He also argues that much of the Bible was written between 7th-5th century BCE and reflects the theology and ideology of the authors more than those of the times described in the texts.
"Receiving this prize is a great honor. A scholar is always happy to know that his/her work is acknowledged and appreciated," said Prof. Finkelstein. "This prize has boosted my resolve to devote a future book to the other kingdom -- Judah."
A prolific writer, he has authored many well-known titles, including The Bible Unearthed (2001, with Neil Asher Silberman), which explores the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins of the Hebrew bible.
Prof. Finkelstein has been a full tenured professor at TAU since 1992, and has also taught at the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and other leading universities. Prof. Finkelstein has conducted several well-known field projects, including excavations at biblical Shiloh and the celebrated Megiddo site. The Delalande-Guérineau Prize joins a long list of honors Prof. Finkelstein has received, including the internationally acclaimed Dan David Prize in 2005.
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