It seems like every year or so, there’s a new story on the decline in the water level of the Dead Sea. The level now stands at 1334 feet (417 m) below sea level down from 1255 feet (392 m) a century ago. At its current rate, it will be 1490 feet below sea level in the year 2050. This article in Globes has many more details.
I had no idea when I wrote yesterday about Finkelstein’s view of the City of David that he has a new book coming out on David and Solomon. Like Unearthing the Bible, David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition is co-authored by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman. I haven’t seen the book yet, but you get an idea for the content of this book from a review in Publisher’s Weekly:
The authors are careful to note that the absence of contemporary confirmation outside the Bible is no reason to believe that the characters did not actually exist. Rather, the biblical stories form the basis for a legend tradition in which the Davidic legacy gradually transforms “from a down-to-earth political program into the symbols of a transcendent religious faith that would spread throughout the world.”
To whom would I recommend this book? Only to those who need insight into the creativity that is required (or allowed) when you jettison the major historical sources and set about inventing your own history.
Which reminds me of a similar point: I have my students read from (many) liberal authors with whom I greatly disagree. I wonder how many liberal teachers require their students to read from conservative authors? I can tell you from own experience in graduate school: liberals don’t seem aware that there are other opinions. And they certainly don’t want their students exposed to those ideas. Yes, it is ironic that these are the “liberals.”