Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does Archaeology Support the Bible?

I knew about these types of arguments when I was a teenager, reading Halley's Bible Handbook. But some archaeologists are arguing quite the opposite.


Kyle said...

That's a very old article, and from a decidedly biased position.

About ten years ago, one could say that Finklestein was the middle ground between the real minimalists (Davies, Lemche, et. al.) and the maximalists (Dever and those right of him). Today, more and more information coming in seems to hurt the minimalist case (most significantly Khirbet Qeiyafa).

I would say today that things have shifted where Finklestein would no longer be the moderate, but more liberal with the center of academic archaeology moving more conservative.

There are lots of good books on the topic written by archaeologists (Christian and non) that argue against the minimalist school (which seems to be in its final stages). Here are a few:

Provan, Long and Longman "Israel: A Biblical History"
Daniel Block, ed. "Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention" - this includes an assortment of essays by Egyptologists, Assyriologists, etc. from U. of Chicago, Cambridge and evangelical schools like's very good.
Hoffmeier, James, "Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition" - This is also a great book, but it's Oxford University Press and therefore excessively expensive.

Of course, there are others like "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" by Kenneth Kitchen, but I think he leans too conservative (despite making some very great arguments).

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kyle. Yes, I noticed that the Salon article is dated 2001. Is there something more recent online? Maybe Dr. Reppert, in his eagerness to be fair, might actually put it in a blog. -- Bilbo

Shackleman said...

This is a good example (and should be frightening) of argument by authority. The article states that one author wrote a cover story for what sounded like a magazine, and all of a sudden people had shudders running down their spines over it.

One dude, with a pen and a good reputation, has FAR FAR too much influence over what people believe is true or not.

"Herzog's article led to a nationwide bout of soul-searching. After it appeared, universities organized conferences where distressed citizens could quiz experts on the details and meanings of this new and not-so-new research; Israeli newspaper journalists wrote stories casting the theories as blows against the cultural identity and even the political legitimacy of Israel; and scholars who quarrel with the ideas of archaeologists like Finkelstein wrote fiery letters and editorials denouncing them as "biblical minimalists."" dude, one article (yes, siting other sources I realize) and a nation's entire history is in peril?

As Lewis said. If we questioned all things the way we question religion, we'd be content to know nothing all our lives.