Biblical Archaeology Review 10:2, March/April 1984

Queries & Comments

Do Archaeologists Reject Miracles?

To the Editor:

One thing truly perplexes me about archaeology and archaeologists.

Do all Biblical archaeologists start from a humanistic (i.e., natural) viewpoint as regards Biblical events? In other words, “If the evidence makes it humanly impossible, it didn’t happen.”

What prompts me to ask is in relation to the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Those archaeologists who will at least grant the possibility of the conquest still devise elaborate and complex theories as to how an unskilled, ragtag Israelite army could subdue a whole train of strongly fortified Canaanite cities. Do all archaeologists automatically rule out the Biblical (and simplest) answer, namely, that God helped? What better way for God to show his glory and establish his kingship?

Please understand it is interesting to read the latest evidence or lack of evidence as to any Biblical event, but I am curious as to whether Biblical archaeology requires a humanistic, anti-supernatural philosophical base.

Ken Vander Kooi Hudsonville, Michigan

Joseph A. Callawaya replies:

Let me say first that your inquiry is relevant and fair. I believe the best way to resolve perplexing issues among those of us who study the Bible is to discuss them openly and honestly.

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