Biblical Archaeology Review 37:5, September/October 2011

Biblical Views: The Bible Then — The Bible Now

By Richard Elliott Friedman

One of the things that impress those of us who work on Bible and archaeology is that so many people are still so interested in it all. It seems to me that the remarkable success of BAR and the Biblical Archaeology Society is proof of this. We could analyze the reasons for this forever, but the bottom line is that these things that happened thousands of years ago—and this book that was written thousands of years ago—are still relevant to people. That’s not a big insight. After 35 years in this field, I’ve become ever more concerned with that relevance. After spending decades writing about the Bible’s literary qualities, about who wrote it, and about the world that produced it, I turned in my recent work to something different: how people use the Bible on the issues of our day. It’s not that I think that what my colleagues and I have been doing is not relevant. Just the opposite. What I want to do now is connect the dots between what we do in archaeological and textual scholarship, on one hand, and how we use those tools to deal with the Bible on modern issues.

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