Biblical Archaeology Review 4:4, November/December 1978

Queries & Comments

What Is Palestine?

To the Editor:

I am writing in hopes that you or a member of your staff could clarify the use of the word Palestine in archeological terminology.

A few years ago I heard Kathleen Kenyon speak about Jericho at the University of Chicago. During the entire lecture she never referred to the dig as being in Israel, but only identified the area as Palestine. When I inquired about this of friends who knew something about archaeology I was told that Miss Kenyon was anti-Zionist and pro-Arab and refused to recognize the state of Israel.

More recently I have heard another English archeologist do the same thing; also P. R. S. Moorey, author of Biblical Lands which was sold in Israel. Digs in present day Israel are located in “Palestine.” Yet the 20th century states of Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan are identified as such.

Is this the recognized terminology among professionals? I would very much appreciate having an answer.

Thank you for a fascinating journal. I don’t know how we ever got along without it.

Nancy Gerson Chicago, Illinois

Because of the sensitive nature of this query, we asked several scholars to respond.

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