Archaeology and the Bible: A Veritable Minefield

The next time you hear someone talk about the “science” of archaeology or how some discovery (or lack of discovery) has proved or disproved this or that biblical claim, you may want to consider the words of one of Israel’s senior archaeologists, Amihai Mazar: “The interpretation of archaeological data and its association to the biblical text is a veritable minefield, as it is often inspired by the scholar’s personal attitude towards the text . . . we face over and over again arguments that, at their core, are circular. This was as true at the time of William F. Albright and his followers as it is today. There are few items of data in the archaeological record that are not disputable.” Source: Amihai Mazar, “The Spade and the Text: The Interaction between Archaeology and Israelite History Relating to the Tenth-Ninth Centuries BCE,” in Understanding the History of Ancient Israel, ed. H. G. M. Williamson, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 143 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 2007), 145.


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