Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bible in One Hand and the Spade in the Other

I used to think the field of "biblical" archaeology had moved beyond the simplistic approach of digging something up, then flipping through the Bible to find an explanation for it. That was the approach in the early days of biblical archaeology, but I thought Syro-Palestinian archaeologists had learned now that they can't make a priori connections between text and artifact.

So, I was completely taken aback to read the following quote from Dr. Eilat Mazar who was profiled last week in the Jerusalem Post magazine. You'll recall she is the archaeologist who found the Gedalyahu ben Pashur seal earlier this summer.
"I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of
excavation in the other," she says. "The Bible is the most important
historical source."

I guess I was wrong. There are still a few biblical archaeologists running around with the Bible in one hand and a tool of some kind in the other. My program at the University of Wisconsin used to have that old style Book and the Spade emphasis back when Biblical archaeology was a bigger part of what was taught.

I should've known better. There will always be people out there using archaeology as a tool of apologetics to defend the inerrancy of the Bible against all attackers. If you're interested in learning more about them, visit The Book and the Spade or Bible and Spade. Those are the people who will get really upset about the upcoming Nova special, The Bible's Buried Secrets.

[Hat Tip to Todd Bolen where I first heard of the Mazar interview. I also read the story via Jack Sasson at the Agade mailing list and saw Jim West's post on it (even if I have 3 other sources, I'm required to mention Jim West. He gets testy if he's not acknowledged.) I also read the story directly from the Jerusalem Post (via Todd Bolen's link). The Nova special about the Bible was on my mind also because of yet another of Jim's posts today (where he unfairly disparaged the legacy of W.F. Albright, in my opinion. Yes, Albright produced G.E. Wright and a school of theological archaeologists, but he also created 2 of the greatest bible and ANE scholars of the latter half of the 20th century, Frank Moore Cross and David Noel Freedman.) I'd also like to thank Google for providing the search capability that led me to the links for The Book and the Spade and Bible and Spade. Ok, I think I've acknowledged everybody...oh wait, thanks to Scribefire for providing the interface where I typed my post.]

1 comment:

  1. testy???? me???? I am incapable of it (and I love scribefire too- it's fantastic).

    p.s.- i only get testy with plagiarists. and there are several who blog. unfortunately.