It is now more than 20 years since Baruch Halpern described the compositors of the Hebrew Bible as 'The First Historians.'
Has subsequent research tended to support or refute this view?
This question is NOT intended to re-ignite the so-called 'Maximalist-Minimalist' debate.
a dispute which was much concerned with the interpretation of early records by the authors of the HB. Rather this has to do with aspects of synchronism and syncretism related to the emergence of historiography.
Whether or not the authors of the historical books of the HB had access to authentic documents, and however these were used or abused, annals and records alone do not make history. The Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians who had numerous such records were not historians.
Herodotus, the 'Father of History,' was a near contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah and like them was born into the Achaemenid polity during a time of intense syncretic activity across that Empire from Thrace to the Indus. There is also evidence that the writers of the Upanishads were beginning to explore the historicity of their movement within that timeframe,
While the historical books of the HB are undeniably historiography, is it possible that this corpus is just one aspect of an intellectual milieu within the timeframe which Karl Jaspers once described as the 'Axial Age.' If that is the case it may not be possible to identify the earliest historians.
Any leads on research in this area would be appreciated.
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