Biblical Archaeology Review 35:6, November/December 2009

Strata: In Their Own Words

Biblical scholar Philip R. Davies of the University of Sheffield, England, is a prominent Biblical minimalist; that is, one who denies any substantial historicity to the Biblical account. For example, in a 1994 BAR article he stated: “I am not the only scholar who suspects that the figure of King David is about as historical as King Arthur.”a

More recently, in Memories of Ancient Israel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), Davies finds support for his views in the profession generally. But, as he notes, BAR has not yet gotten the message:

“As a result of recent archaeological work, biblical archaeology is now dead among professional archaeologists. It lives on in the pages of Biblical Archaeology Review and in the fundamentalist community that insists archaeology can only ever prove the Bible right and never disprove it. But a highly positive view of archaeology is unfortunately still reflected among the general public, who still retain the notion of archaeology as a science dealing with data and facts and believe that it broadly confirms the Bible as a historical record.”

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