This volume makes a positive intervention into maximalist/minimalist debates about Israelite historiography by pointing to the events that happened during the Persian and Hellenistic periods. During this historical epoch, traditions about Israel and Judah's founding became fixed as markers of ethnic identity, and much of the canonical Hebrew Bible came into its present form. Concentrating on these events, a clearer historical picture emerges.
The entire volume is set within the context of Doug Knight's contributions, which have encouraged a rigorous social-scientific and tradition-historical approach to the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel in general. Many scholars have pursued how the social scientific method, first used to analyze early monarchic Israel, can shape the understanding of these later historical periods. Knight's methods, teachings, writings, and scholarly interventions have pointed the contributors of this volume to fresh considerations of the Persian and Hellenistic periods. The concluding essay will examine the future directions in which such sociological and historical investigation can go forward.