The myth of the “Lost Tribes” of Israel has sparked speculation and curiosity for centuries, leading to a vast network of theories ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. But beneath the myth is a series of events that point in a very different direction regarding the fate of ancient Israel’s tribes after their alleged disappearance from the stage of history. Clues from the Bible, archaeological remains and ancient historical sources combine to clear the misperceptions regarding who these tribes really were and why they came to be viewed as “lost”.
Mark Leuchter is director of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at Temple University. He serves as the series editor for Perspectives in Biblical Literature for Georgia Press, is a member of the editorial board for the journals Biblical Theology Bulletin and The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures, and is the program unit co-chair for the Society of Biblical Literature Priests and Levites in Biblical History and Tradition group. His books include Josiah’s Reform and Jeremiah’s Scroll: Historical Calamity and Prophetic Response (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2006), The Polemics of Exile in Jeremiah 26-45 (Cambridge UP, 2008), and Samuel in Perspective (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and his articles have appeared in a variety of scholarly journals.