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This article examines the Merneptah Stele and its role in recent efforts to reconstruct Israelite history and identity. Though necessarily concerned with the issues of translation and location as they relate to the entity named in the stele, this review is dominated by an assessment of the various ways in which biblical scholarship has related to this singular reference. To that end, issues of theory and method, both archaeological and anthropological, are prioritized as the review appraises the various attempts to isolate this entity as the Archimedean point of Israelite historical and ethnic development. Though certainly critical of what it perceives as the sterile reproduction of long-held beliefs, it is a review that, in its appeal to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, looks to identify prospects for further study of the stele, rather than foreclose the very questions that it raises.

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Journal Article

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