Biblical Archaeology Review 31:3, May/June 2005

Strata: Finkelstein Captures David (Prize)

Credited with Revolutionizing the Field

Tel Aviv University archaeology professor Israel Finkelstein has been named a co-recipient of the 2005 Dan David prize. The prize is worth one million dollars and is sponsored by Israel’s Dan David Foundation, which has been awarding it since 2002 to honor scholars who have made major contributions to their fields.

The Dan David Foundation made the award to recognize Finkelstein’s extensive scholarly contributions to a broad range of topics in the archaeology of ancient Israel, his efforts at integrating archaeology with other academic fields and his controversial revision of the history of Iron Age Israel (1200–586 B.C.). Finkelstein is the major proponent of the “Low Chronology,” which subverts the view that Solomon ruled a large and powerful kingdom by dating monumental structures normally associated with Solomon’s reign to about a century later.

Finkelstein’s work should be familiar to readers of BAR, where his views are frequently discussed and debated (see Timothy P. Harrison, “The Battleground,” November/December 2003, and Hershel Shanks, “A ‘Centrist’ at the Center of Controversy,” November/December 2002). As the David Prize announcement points out, regardless of whether or not Finkelstein’s views prove correct, “the study of these periods is never again going to be what it once was.”

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