Last updated on: 5/16/2008 1:09:00 PM PST

What Are the Earliest Accounts of the Jewish People (Hebrews / Israelites)?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Israel Science and Technology Homepage, a national directory of science and technology related sites in Israel, posted a page on its website (accessed Apr. 27, 2007) titled "Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People," which stated:

"The people of Israel (also called the 'Jewish People') trace their origin to Abraham, who established the belief that there is only one God, the creator of the universe (see Old Testament). Abraham, his son Yitshak (Isaac), and grandson Jacob (Israel), are referred to as the patriarchs of the Israelites. All three patriarchs lived in the Land of Canaan, that later came to be known as the Land of Israel...

The descendants of Abraham crystallized into a nation at about 1300 BCE after their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Moshe in Hebrew). Soon after the Exodus, Moses transmitted to the people of this new emerging nation, the Torah, and the Ten Commandments. After 40 years in the Sinai desert, Moses led them to the Land of Israel, that is cited in The Bible as the land promised by G-d to the descendants of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The people of modern day Israel share the same language and culture shaped by the Jewish heritage and religion passed through generations starting with the founding father Abraham (ca. 1800 BCE). Thus, Jews have had continuous presence in the land of Israel for the past 3,300 years."

Apr. 27, 2007 - Israel Science and Technology Homepage 

Donald B. Redford, PhD, Professor of Near East Studies at Pennsylvania State University, in his 1992 book Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, wrote:

"Some time during the fourth quarter of the thirteenth century B.C. [1225 B.C. to 1200 B.C.] Egypt knew of a group, or political entity, called 'Israel' and was occupying part of the land of Canaan...

The 'Land of the Shasu' in the mountainous districts of Se'ir east of the Araba [the valley south of the Dead Sea] has an interesting consequence for one name in the mentioned lists from Soleb [northern Sudan] and Amarah [south of Cairo]-- 'Yhw (in) the land of the Shasu.' For half a century it has been generally admitted that we have here the tetragrammaton [four lettered word, YHWH], the name of the Israelite god, 'Yahweh'; and if this be the case, as it undoubtedly is, the passage constitutes a most precious indication of the whereabouts during the late fifteenth century B.C. of an enclave revering this god."

1992 - Donald B. Redford, PhD 

Wolfram von Soden, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Munster, Germany, in his 1985 book titled The Ancient Orient, wrote:

"The people of Israel spoke a Canaanite language, Hebrew, and their tribes may be reckoned predominantly to the Canaanites."

1985 - Wolfram von Soden, PhD