I read a review of the book "In Search of Ancient Israel" by Philip Davies where the review author said that the book claimed that much of what is called "Jewish" was manufactured out of whole cloth, so to speak, by Persian elites who moved in and took over. The religious literature was created to support their claim to leadership, since they had no HISTORICAL claim. The story of the Babyonian exile was created to "prove" to the locals that "yes, we really ARE your long lost LEADERS, finally returned to be your boss. Now, do what we say!"
I have not read the book, but the idea is enticing for those who think religion is just a tool elites use to control the masses.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.