Biblical Archaeology Review 26:2, March/April 2000
The Search for History in the Bible

What Separates a Minimalist from a Maximalist? Not Much

By Philip R. Davies

Last October, an academic conference was held at Northwestern University, outside of Chicago, on the Origins of the Jewish People and Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. The event, a Philip M. and Ethel Klutznik symposium and lecture, was supported by the United Jewish Federation of Chicago and Northwestern’s Jewish studies program. Among the invited speakers were such mainstream academic superstars as Peter Machinist of Harvard University, who holds the third oldest academic chair in the United States; Baruch Levine of New York University, who has written distinguished commentaries on Leviticus and Numbers; Marc Brettler, a leading young scholar at Brandeis University and author, most recently, of The Creation of History in Ancient Israel; and William Dever, former director of the William F. Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and one of America’s premier archaeologists of ancient Israel.

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