Biblical Archaeology Review 24:6, November/December 1998

First Person: Even-Handed to a Fault

Not every scholarly position is as good as another

By Hershel Shanks

In the beautiful 50th anniversary issue of Archaeology magazine, published by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), my friend, contributing editor Neil Asher Silberman, wrote an article entitled “Digging in the Land of the Bible.” It is a workmanlike, at times elegant, piece, well suited to an archaeological audience that alights once or twice a year on a subject of Biblical interest. Silberman is both knowledgeable in the field and an excellent writer.

Yet there is enough in the piece to raise my hackles that I am forced to take pen in hand, so to speak. (Actually, I write with a computer.) In short, Silberman’s piece leaves the impression that archaeology, during the last 50 years, has left the Bible in tatters. Much of what Silberman says is accurate, but much of it lacks balance.

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