John bimson redating the exodus
Biblical figures whose seals or bullae have been found include Kings Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh--the three successive kings of Judah who reigned ca. Other official figures include Azariah son of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles -14, Ezra 7:1), Gemariah son of Shaphan (Jeremiah ), Jerahmeel the king's son (Jeremiah ), and most notably Berechiah (Baruch) the son of Neriah the scribe, who wrote on behalf of Jeremiah.
The historical support for the biblical narrative prior to this stage is not always so clear, and is often dependent upon the model of history taken and the dates to which individuals and events are assigned.
The seals and bullae are often not found in official archaeological excavations but turn up among (sometimes shady) dealers in antiquities who have obtained them from illegal plundering of sites by locals in Israel.
Despite these origins, careful analysis of handwriting, chemical composition, and design, confirms the authenticity of a large number.
In recent years there has been an increase in scholarly literature coming to rather negative conclusions about the OT and whether we can use the Bible as a source for history before the Babylonian exile in 586 BC.
At the same time, there have been some quite significant archaeological discoveries supporting the biblical narrative in the centuries immediately preceding the exile.
Books have been said to have originated by complicated processes involving multiple authors or editors.
Consequently students need to bear all three models in mind and to be aware of the presuppositions of authors they read.
Not every argument against the Bible is necessarily an enemy, and not every argument for the Bible is necessarily a friend.
It is necessary, for instance, to understand the narrative import of the phrase 'the land had rest N years' (Judges , , etc.) before it is possible to seek a correlation between the text and externally recorded history.
Most scholarship takes a developmental or evolutionary view of Israelite religion, that is, it seeks to derive OT religion from some earlier form of religion.