Biblical Archaeology Review 38:6, November/December 2012

Archaeological Views: At the Interface of Archaeology and Texts

By Yonatan Adler

In his First Person column in the July/August 2011 issue of BAR, Hershel Shanks responded to a critique that Ronny Reich had leveled against Eilat Mazar’s proposal that the structural remains she had exposed in her excavations at the City of David should be identified as remains of the palace of King David.a According to Reich, Mazar’s archaeological conclusions were predetermined by her prior interpretation of Biblical texts and as such are methodologically unsound. Shanks defended Mazar’s approach, arguing that archaeologists ought to make use of the Bible to formulate hypotheses that can then be tested through archaeological investigation. In his Archaeological Views column in the recent September/October 2012 issue of BAR, Kevin McGeough joined in the debate, arguing that instead of using archaeology and texts to “prove” or “disprove” one another, we should rather view the two kinds of evidence as complementary sources of information about the past, and try to understand how the differences and similarities in the evidence can make sense together.b

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