“[C]ollecting stories is one thing and preserving their older meanings and contexts is another. The underlying idea in many Biblical studies of the conservative camp, that old memories were orally transmitted, unchanged through the centuries, is unrealistic and somewhat naive. Old stories must have absorbed different layers of realities on their way down through the centuries until they were put in writing.”
— Israel Finkelstein, “Digging for the Truth: Archaeology and the Bible” in Brian B. Schmidt (ed.), The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007) p.18.