Biblical Archaeology Review 23:4, July/August 1997

Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers

By Hershel Shanks

One of the most controversial issues in modern Biblical studies is the increasingly assertive contention that the Bible is essentially useless as a historical source, even for the period of the Israelite united monarchy (tenth century B.C.E.). David and Solomon, it is claimed, are mythological, not historical. The Bible, according to this school of thought, can tell us only about the period in which it was written; naturally, these scholars contend that it was written late—in the Persian period (fourth century B.C.E.) or even in the Hellenistic period (third-second centuries B.C.E.).

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