Em 18 de dezembro de 2005 anunciei aqui o lançamento da versão inglesa da História de Israel de Mario Liverani, Oltre la Bibbia. Storia Antica di Israele, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2003 [2005 – 4. ed.], 526 p.
Agora, com data de primeiro de julho de 2006, leio uma interessante resenha desta versão inglesa do livro Israel’s History and the History of Israel, London, Equinox Publishing, 2005. Foi feita por Nadav Na’aman, Professor da Universidade de Tel Aviv, Israel, e publicada pela Review of Biblical Literature (RBL). São 11 páginas em pdf e merece uma atenta leitura.
O resenhista chega a dizer, em determinado ponto, que somente um estudioso do porte de Liverani poderia produzir um livro com tal abrangência, originalidade e perspectiva. Chega mesmo a recomendá-lo como mais adequado para professores da área do que para estudantes de graduação.
Li o livro de Mario Liverani no ano passado, no original italiano, e fiz amplo uso de suas intuições em meu artigo sobre O Contexto da Obra Histórica Deuteronomista, que saiu em Estudos Bíblicos n. 88. Permito-me discordar de N. Na’aman, recomendando-o também para os nossos estudantes de graduação, pois são raras no Brasil obras com tal qualidade sobre a História de Israel. O problema é que ninguém ainda a traduziu para o português. Contudo: se não se lê o italiano ou o inglês, ninguém poderá dizer que é incapaz de ler a versão espanhola…
Transcrevo, abaixo, o final da resenha de Nadav Na’aman:
Should the authors of biblical historiography be called “historians” and their works “history”? Did the biblical authors make an effort to assemble all the available sources, verbal and written, and did they utilize them in their own compositions? Liverani does not directly address these questions, but the book as a whole suggests that his answer is clearly no. In my opinion, this issue is the watershed between the so-called “maximalists” and “minimalists,” and in this sense Liverani’s work should be classified as a kind of minimalism. This does not mean that he shares the other assumptions of “minimalist” scholars. On the contrary, there is an enormous gap between Liverani’s work, which rests on the assumption that biblical historiography was written by the descendants of the Jewish community in Babylonia on the basis of its old Judahite roots, and P. R. Davies’s book, which rests on the assumption that the history was written by the “ruling caste” of Yehud and its government, which employed a host of scribes to invent a myth of origin so as to create a national identity for the mixed community that the Persians settled in Yehud. Nor is there much in common between Liverani, who dates the biblical historiography to the first half of the Persian period, and N. P. Lemche, who dates it to the Hellenistic period. Similar differences separate conservative and critical “maximalists,” and no clear line can be drawn between scholars who support either approach. The only line that can be drawn is between good and bad historians, and both kinds are to be found on either side of the scholarly debate. In my monograph on biblical historiography (The Past That Shapes the Present: The Creation of Biblical Historiography in the Late First Temple Period and after the Downfall [Hebrew] [Jerusalem, 2002]), I devote a chapter to the way the Deuteronomist treated his sources and conclude that he made an effort to assemble as many sources as he could and wrote his work on the basis of these oral and written sources. I therefore regard myself as a “maximalist,” but when it comes to the analysis of the biblical texts and reconstructing history, my conclusions are much closer to that of Liverani than to those of conservative “maximalists.” Liverani’s book is dense, replete with data relating to all regions of the Near East, covers the history of the lands on both sides of the Jordan for about eight hundred years, and is not easy to read. It is mainly intended for scholars and, in my opinion, is not meant for undergraduate students. The work is stimulating, original in all its parts, and contains many original insights that will no doubt fertilize all future discussions about the Bible as a source for the history of ancient Israel.