Re-Constructing Biblical Archaeology: Toward an Integration of Archaeology and the Bible

Shlomo Bunimovitz, Avraham Faust

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

For over a century, the archaeology of the Land of Israel went hand in hand with the Bible. Biblical Archaeology, the outcome of this interaction, has been normally conceived as the handmaiden of the biblical texts, authenticating and illustrating them. Whether motivated by theological or secular agenda, the main tenet of Biblical Archaeology was political history. In spite of recent claims for the emancipation of archaeology from the tyranny of the biblical texts, the archaeological agenda is still biblical, pursuing questions related to biblical historiography. Paradoxically, however, due to its problematic nature, the use of the Bible in archaeological discourse is considered today almost illegitimate. We envision a different integration between archaeology and the Bible. On the one hand, an archaeological agenda, independent of the biblical text, will open a much wider range of social and cultural questions. On the other, using the Bible as a cultural document to answer these questions will restore its central place in the archaeological discourse of the biblical period. Conceiving of both biblical texts and ancient material artifacts as cultural documents, we believe that their inspection will be fruitful and enlightening. Words and artifacts can give us access to the mindset of the people of the biblical period. Encapsulated in both are the worldviews, cosmology, perceptions of landscape, ideology, symbolism, etc. of the people who produced them. The insights gained by this approach will eventually result in a better understanding of biblical political history.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistorical Biblical Archaeology and the Future
Subtitle of host publicationThe New Pragmatism
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages43-54
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781134937462
ISBN (Print)9781315539638
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

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