Now available via the website of the Interpreter Foundation:
In other news related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members:
I found myself, just now, glancing through some old notes of mine that were jotted down in the course of a careful reading of god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by the late Christopher Hitchens. His discussion of biblical or Palestinian archaeology caught my eye. Here are a couple of representative passages, with the first being about what Hitchens was pleased to call “the Zionist school of archaeology” (103):
“Yigael Yadin, whose best-known work was at Masada and who had been charged with David Ben-Gurion to dig up “the title-deeds” that would prove the Israeli claim to the Holy Land. Until a short time ago, his evidently politicized efforts were allowed a certain superficial plausibility. But then much more extensive and objective work was undertaken . . . “ (102)
But the Trotskyite ideologue and non-archaeologist Mr. Hitchens was scarcely in a position to brush the work of Yigael Yadin (1917-1984) off as merely “politicized,” and Yadin (whom I once met in his office at the Knesset in Jerusalem when he was serving, late in his life, as Israel’s deputy prime minister) and his excavations and writings are still quite relevant to the archaeological study of the land of Israel.
“William Albright of Baltimore was continually vindicating Joshua’s Jericho and other myths.” (103)
“William Albright of Baltimore” (103)? Really? Mr. Hitchens is, of course, referring to the late Dr. W. F. Albright (1891-1971) of Johns Hopkins University, a colossal figure whose influence remains considerable in the field of Palestinian or biblical archaeology, even among scholars who reject his arguments and claims. For what it’s worth, Albright may also have served as a model for the archaeologist and philologist who serves as the hero of James Michener’s novel The Source.
I had the occasion to refer on more than one occasion during this visit in Israel to the work of both Yadin and Albright, and we passed several times past the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, in East Jerusalem — the most recent time being about two hours ago.
Posted from Jericho, Palestinian Territory