The debate over whether the Bible is an authentic historical record has been going on for more than 200 years. And historians are not the primary people affected by debate, it’s archaeologists. Archaeology relying on the Bible has become a way to explore the Old Testament and its discoveries can have profound implications in world politics.
The significance of this A1 story in Friday’s Washington Post cannot be underestimated. Overall, it is a well-researched, thorough and relatively balanced article that I enjoyed reading. Here’s the gist:
She believes she has found the palace of King David, the poet-warrior who the Bible says consolidated the ancient Jewish kingdom around the 10th century B.C. and expanded its borders to encompass the Land of Israel. Others are doubtful.
“There is sometimes a reality, a very precise reality, though maybe not all true, described in the Bible,” Mazar said. “This is giving the Bible’s version a chance.”
Mazar’s find is emerging at the nexus of history, religion and politics, volatile forces that have guided building, biblical scholarship and war in this city for millennia. Even before the findings have been assembled in a scientific paper, the discovery is prompting new thinking about when Jerusalem rose to prominence, the nature of the early Jewish kingdom, and whether the Bible can be used as a reliable map to archaeological discovery.
This is a fascinating discovery, a solid article and a reporter knowledgeable of the facts, willing to dig (no pun intended) for precise insights, except for this one paragraph that seems to have a tense confused:
Finkelstein, who is in charge of the excavation in northern Israel where the Bible says the battle of Armageddon took place, visited Mazar’s dig a few months ago. The 56-year-old scholar, tall and voluble with a salt-and-pepper beard, has often argued with colleagues whose reliance on the Bible he finds misguided.
Am I missing something here? A co-worker of mine actually pointed this out to me Friday morning at work while reading it on my recommendation after I had skimmed it over while eating my breakfast. We were both quite confused.