(ASOR) The relationship between archaeology and the Bible has been a much-debated topic over the last 25 years. The terms ‘minimalists’ and ‘maximalists’ are now as frequent as ‘exodus’ and ‘epigraphy’.
There seems to be little or no middle ground. On the one hand, William Dever is—as he has stated on several occasions—flattered to have the death of biblical archaeology ascribed to him, although he is quick to point out that, in fact, he “only wrote the obituary.” On the other hand, Bryant Wood takes those to the ‘left’ of him to task for not holding to a ‘literal’ interpretation of the Genesis patriarchal lifespan numbers and an early (ca. 15th century BCE) date for the Israelite exodus from Egypt. While Israel Finkelstein has long abandoned looking to the Bible for any authentic historical information that might shed light on the ‘actual’ origin(s) of Israel, Eilat Mazar announces the discovery of King David’s palace in the archaeological excavations of the Iron Age city presently bearing his name. The Bible is pronounced both ‘boon’ and ‘bust’ by scholars of equal acumen!