How Do We Understand Biblical History?



"The basic problem of the minimalist is that they usually argue from the absence of evidence, and that is a problem for them logically." Why? "It's not really a valid form of argument," Shanks contends. "You have to be very careful when you so argue, especially when you're talking of something that didn't happen thousands of years ago, that it didn't happen because you can't find evidence of it. You have to establish that you really should be able to find evidence, and that's a hard case to make.” (source)

                                                -Herschel Shanks, Editor, Biblical Archaeology Review




Early History




Sidebar: Evidence of Hebrews in Egypt





Israel functioned as an agriculturally-based/sedentary socioethnic entity in the late 13th century B.C., one that is significant enough to be included in the military campaign against political powers in Canaan. ... While the Merneptah stela does not give any indication of the actual social structure of the people of Israel, it does indicate that Israel was a significant socioethnic entity that needed to be reckoned with (Hasel, M.G. 1994 "Israel in the Merneptah Stela". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 296: 54; 56, n. 12).



Into the Land


o   “Before the discovery of the "House of David" inscription at Dan in 1993, it had become fashionable in some academic circles to dismiss the David stories as an invention of priestly propagandists who were trying to dignify Israel's past after the Babylonian exile. But as Tel Aviv University archaeologist Israel Finkelstein observes, "Biblical nihilism collapsed overnight with the discovery of the David inscription." (source)






[part of lecture excerpted in part from A 15th Century Exodus?]