A Blow to the Minimalists

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4 Responses

  1. Has Been says:

    While the find is certainly welcome, it has no bearing on whether the story of the Exodous is true or not.

  2. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    You are absolutely, unequivocally correct.

    Evidence for the United Monarchy does not equal evidence for the Exodus. And lack of evidence for one does not mean the non-instance of the other. This, however, seems to have evaded said rabbi, who did lump them together, as do many of the minimalists. To them, the fact that no hard evidence has yet emerged for several key elements of Biblical narrative means (chas v’shalom) that the entire work is a fairy tale. A find like this bolsters the other side of the argument, which is that you shouldn’t be able to prove anything by finding nothing. The something you are looking for may well be found later. It has happened again and again in archeology.

    Chazal said it best. Lo ra-inu eino ra-aya (There is no evidence from what we do not see.) Alternatively, you can’t prove the null hypothesis. Applied specifically to biblical archeology and the minimalists, one of the deans of the field, Dr. Kenneth Kitchen wrote to me at the time that the LA rabbi decided to take a pot shot at the emunah peshutah (simple faith) of his largely Iranian congregants. He wrote that archeologists properly are in the business of describing the fuller picture of life based on what they do find in the ground. They should not be talking about what didn’t occur.

  3. mb says:

    Also of great interest, the recent find, in a known Phillistine area, of a pottery shard bearing the name Goliath!( Not in Engish, of course)

  4. EV says:

    For the record, mb above reproduces the incorrect report that an inscription with Goliath’s name has been found. What has been found is a Philistine inscription, c. 900 BCE, that bears a name similar to Goliath’s. Here’s a Jerusalem Post article that accurately reports: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1131367063187&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull (hat tip to Paleojudaica for the link). And go to the 11/11/05 entry at http://biblical-studies.ca/blog/index.html for an explanation in the difference in spellings.

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