Biblical Archaeology Review 12:1, January/February 1986
Different Interpretations

How Can Kempinski Be So Wrong!

By Adam Zertal

Although Dr. Kempinski’s article begins with archaeology, it is quite obvious that his ideological attitude preceded his purely archaeological examination. His ideas about the dating of Deuteronomy and Joshua, together with his “new” ideas concerning how the Pentateuch was “corrected” by the Jews to refer to Mt. Ebal rather than, as the Samaritans originally had it, to Mt. Gerizim—all point to a very clear preconception of what ought to be found on Mt. Gerizim and on Mt. Ebal.

Despite all this, I shall deal first with Kempinski’s archaeological arguments:

1. His one-hour visit to our Mt. Ebal dig on October 27, 1982, was during our first season of excavation. Since then, we have conducted four additional seasons, which have provided us with very rich and new archaeological material.a Kempinski has not the slightest idea of what has been found in those four seasons, since he never asked, nor came again to the site. His criticisms are based solely on a single, early visit, and on my popular, nontechnical article in BAR (“Has Joshua’s Altar Been Found on Mt. Ebal?” BAR 11:01). Consequently, I take pleasure in bringing to the layperson and the scholarly world—including Kempinski—some of our rich new data.

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