On the Reliability of the Old Testament

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On the Reliability of the Old Testament (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids and Cambridge,2003: ISBN 0-8028-4960-1) is a book by Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen. Kitchen's intention, according to his preface, was to write a counterpart to F.F. Bruce's Are the New Testament Documents Reliable? (1943), and in doing so to provide a counter to the arguments of biblical minimalism, which, in his opinion, has cast doubt upon the historical value of the Old Testament.[1]


The book opens with an introductory chapter surveying the history with which it intends to deal, the continuous narrative in the Hebrew bible from the Genesis creation narrative to the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile in the early days of the Persian empire in the 5th century BC. The author states his belief that this history was written at the same time as the events it describes in its various sections, and that this can be confirmed by comparing the Old Testament with non-biblical sources, both written and archaeological.

The core of the book is eight chapters (chapters 2 to 9) surveying the biblical history and comparing it to the ages which with it deals, from the 3rd millennium (the period to which Kitchen traces the origins of the biblical stories of Noah's flood and other incidents from the opening chapters of Genesis) to the Babylonian exile and the return of the Jews to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. The author presents his conclusions in chapter 10.

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  1. ^ Kenneth Kitchen, "On the Reliability of the Old Testament", 2003, pp.xii-xiv