The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions : the Proceedings of a Symposium, August 12-14, 2001 at Trinity International University

The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions : the Proceedings of a Symposium, August 12-14, 2001 at Trinity International University

The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions : the Proceedings of a Symposium, August 12-14, 2001 at Trinity International University

The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions : the Proceedings of a Symposium, August 12-14, 2001 at Trinity International University

Synopsis

Biblical archaeology has long been a discipline in crisis. "Biblical minimalists," who believe that the Bible contains little of actual historical fact, today are challenging those who accept the historicity of Scripture. In this volume Jewish and evangelical Christian archaeologists, historians, and biblical scholars confront the minimalist critique and offer positive alternatives.

Bringing a needed scientific approach to biblical archaeology, the contributors construct a new paradigm that reads the Bible critically but sympathetically. Their work covers the full range of subjects relevant to understanding the context of the Bible, including proper approaches to scriptural interpretation, recent archaeological evidence, and new studies of Near Eastern texts and inscriptions.

Excerpt

Biblical archaeology has gone through some turbulent times in the past several decades. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, William Dever ignited a fruitful and legitimate discussion about the appropriateness of the discipline of biblical archaeology, especially as it had been practiced mainly by biblical scholars and theologians who had a religiously-inspired agenda and were not trained as field archaeologists. There have been many positive results from the ensuing debate, especially the concern for greater methodological precision, and many scholars are now less inclined to jump to unwarranted conclusions regarding the correlation of archaeological data with the Bible. On the other hand, there have also been many negative consequences from the debate of the past 15 years, the main one being whether biblical archaeology should even continue as a discipline. In 1999 the venerable American Schools of Oriental Research jettisoned the name of its semipopular journal Biblical Archaeologist after 60 years, replacing it with the bland title Near Eastern Archaeology. This move was undertaken over the objection of the majority of the membership. This expunging of the title Biblical Archaeologist was undoubtedly undertaken to provide ASOR with an inoffensive or academically correct title. Interestingly, Dever still is not sure what expression to use for what has traditionally been called biblical archaeology (cf. William G. Dever, “Whatchmacallit: Why It’s So Hard to Name Our Field,” BAR 29/4 [2003]: 56–61).

This name shift illustrates that the field of biblical archaeology has been dealt a blow from within its ranks. A second line of attack against biblical archaeology has been under way for the past two decades from outside the . . .

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