One of the many books that helped me to question about the bible narrative is the one from Israel Finkelstein, The Bible Unearthed. Archaeology is one of the fascinating sciences and complicated, since you have to interpret/reinterpret the history based on the artifacts, remains, ruins, relics, paintings, sculptures, etc. that is found in certain area where a civilization existed. In the case of the biblical narrative of Solomon, for example, there is no archaeological evidence of the existence of a golden temple, or architecture that stayed and survived over centuries to realize that a unified and rich kingdom existed as the bible says. Other account that made me doubt, especially when it was studied in the book study, was the account of Daniel. If the account of Daniel was true, it had been kept in Babylonian documents or texts, since Babylonians were known as document keepers. Something could be kept saying that a hand wrote in a wall, that a three men was kept alive inside a fiery furnace, etc. but no, nothing, zero, nada de nada... there is no archaeological evidence of such narratives...
Yes ! an excellent book from two guys with no axe to grind, just interpreting Archaelology without Biblical Spectacles on.
In the 19th and 20th Century nearly all finds that seemed to fit the bill were interpreted as proof of the Bible.
Now that a more Scientific approach is being taken, it is as you say, the Bible is a book that is more than 90% Fiction.
I particularly enjoyed "Unearthed's" information on Genesis, i.e, no Camels were domesticated/tamed in Patriarchal times, many of the Sites mentioned as Cities had NO Building on them in those times !! etc etc
If "god" cannot get the first book right, what does it say for the rest of it ?
As to the Book of Daniel, it was written shortly before 164 B.C.E. so is a bit of a fraud as far as prophecy is concerned, being written after the events it supposedly foretells.
I agree with you both, Finklestein and Silberman's work is a breath of fresh air. This is especially so as they are Israeli archaeologists working in Jewish territory.
Fundamental to Jewish nationalist identity is the myth of divine deliverance from Egypt at the Biblical exodus. The authors show exactly how this story came about, not from reality but from geographical proximity larded with wishful thinking and not a small dose of the art of telling a good yarn. They also note how the Egyptians never knew they had enslaved the whole of Israel and never noticed their miraculous departure either!
The authors have managed to take the "holy" out of Holy Land by modern scientific thoroughness. JW org please take note.
"Unearthed" is a great read. It was one of the gems that made me rethink the way I look at the Bible. And that is that it's definitely not inspired by a god.
The ancient Hebrews expressed fictional story telling to promote power and relevance toward their own select god (YHWH) and what engaging relationship their civilization had with their god.
One could describe it as mythological folklore scribe into writings.
This endeavor of self creating that relevance of power also created an accepting relevance of power toward the identified high priests as they were perceived to be in direct channel to their most almighty of gods.