Some books were written 500-600 years after events (some based on oral traditions and administrative/ cultural documents) * we only have the biblical texts and the archaeological record. * before this, the texts only had administrative value. * it was later politically motivated groups (i. e. sadducees/ pharisees) that assigned the texts religious value. * the biblical texts are good for identifying different ethnic/ cultural groups i. e. amorite, hittite, philistines, canaanites, and the egyptians (the major players) * in 200 years we see the social, political, and economic foundations of israel, judah, * middle bronze to late bronze age (united monarchy of israel) * philistine and phoenicia, however, did not make this transition; and continued being city states. * merneptah or ramses ii are the pharaoh in the exodus stories. * there might be some truth in these stories; i. e. semitics in egypt (but not in the numbers the bible suggest) * in addition, the egyptian chronology is still unclear.