Biblical Archaeology Review 33:3, May/June 2007

Archaeological Views: Is Biblical Archaeology Passé?

By Aren M. Maeir

Many archaeologists today claim that Biblical archaeology is a parochial, narrow field, based on antiquated, Judeo-Christian-centered viewpoints—not a field that fits the multi-cultural, global, post-modern society in which we live. According to these scholars, we should distance ourselves from archaeological perspectives dealing with limited cultural horizons (such as the Bible).

To counter this view, Bar-Ilan University has initiated an ambitious campaign to raise $50 million for a new Institute of Biblical Archaeology.

We reject the notion that Biblical archaeology is, by definition, a subjective and ideologically motivated field. We likewise reject the notion that Biblical archaeology is a “dead field” that has been replaced by more modern archaeological practice.

We also recognize that Biblical archaeology today must be a far cry from what it was in previous decades. In earlier generations, Biblical archaeology was used—or misused—for ideological reasons. But the field has changed. The aims and goals of Biblical archaeology do not lie in proving, or disproving, the Biblical (and related) texts.

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