Last week in the office while I was gone we had Phil Long in for some filming of our own on the OT historical books and biblical historiography. I only got to spend two days with Phil due to my Nashville trip, but enjoyed the time. I regularly use portions of his excellent book, The Art of Biblical History when I teach the History of Israel at a local university.
The visit with Phil made me think that it would be worthwhile to introduce him and his work to readers who may not know of him. To that end, I found a fairly brief and useful description of his approach on another blog of some years ago. That said, The Art of Biblical History is a book every serious student of the Bible should have and read at least once. Phil is a portrait artist in addition to being a biblical scholar, and I have found his analogy between portraiture and history writing extremely helpful (when you look closely at a portrait, what you see may make little sense and appear sloppy or careless; but when you step back and gain perspective, you can see what the artist was actually doing — and how the whole helps you process the parts).