Archaeology and Biblical Skepticism
(Top Posts - History - 061103)


Significant discoveries in archaeology have altered the perceptions generally held on bible historicity prior to recent times. Links to some views (and books) on these matters follow:
References Pertaining to
"The Bible Unearthed"

The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, by Israel Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman

Link to book description and reviews. This book received Amazon.com's Best of 2001 designation.

Grounds for Disbelief, by Aviva Lori, Haaretz.com

Interview with the author of "The Bible Unearthed", Israel Finkelstein

Comments regarding "The Bible Unearthed" by Neil Asher Silberman

Neil is a contributor to "The Bible Unearthed", Director of historical interpretation for the Ename Center for Public Archaeology and Heritage Presentation in Belgium, contributing editor to Archaeology magazine, and author of numerous books on Biblical history.

False testament: archaeology refutes the Bible's claim to history. (Criticism). Author: Daniel Lazare, Harper's Magazine, Issue: March, 2002

Detailed analysis of a book which provides details on why the fundamentalist / literalist interpretation of the pentateuch, the christian bible, and the quran, fall far short when it comes to the historical claims made regarding those documents.

Biblical Minimalists -- References

Minimalists vs. Maximalists

Article describing differences between biblical minimalists and maximalists.

Biblical minimalists are of the view that the bible stories are largely mythical. Even though some of the places and people cannot be proven to have been totally mythical, the biblical stories regarding them are entirely mythical in nature, not historical. The reason they were written is that later generations wanted to develop an identity, and used the motif of that day and age to create a "history" that point-in-fact, never was in reality.

Biblical maximalists have dropped a great deal of the traditional ideas regarding the supposed historicity of many parts of the bible. Generally, they accept the minimalist position regarding quite a bit of the bible up until the "United Monarchy" at the time of David and Solomon, when differences begin to emerge between the two views.

Prelude to Israel's Past: Background and Beginnings of Israelite History and Identity, by Niels Lemche

Link to book description and reviews. One reviewer commented that the book provides "a clean, refreshing and unbiased look at the Biblical world and its relation to genuine history. Establishing that there is no possible credible relationship between the Biblical world and genuine ancient world the author approaches the logical and only remaining question of what then is the Bible and provides a well discussed thesis on the Biblical texts."

The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives: The Quest for the Historical Abraham, by Thomas L. Thompson

Link to book description and reviews. The book is written by a man who is described as "one of the most vocal contemporary critics of biblical archaeology. His simple but powerful thesis is that archaeology cannot be used in the service of the Bible." The author demonstrates that archaeological research cannot substantiate the biblical stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He also refutes the patriarchal narratives in Genesis.

In Search of Ancient Israel, by Philip R. Davies

Link to book description and reviews. One reviewer commented that "no one has yet answered his primary objection to mainstream historians of 'ancient Israel': for the vast majority of the biblical literature, there is absolutely no evidence of the sort required to claim it as historically reliable -- yet they continue to treat it as if it were."