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Biblical Archaeology Review 47:4, Winter 2021

Strata: Book Review: Has Archaeology Buried the Bible?

By Jennie Ebeling

Fifty years since the death of William F. Albright, the “father” of American biblical archaeology, the aims of archaeological research in Israel and the surrounding areas have changed almost beyond recognition. This is due less to the many technological developments in field archaeology, I would argue, and more to the fact that very few professional archaeologists working in Israel, Jordan, and elsewhere today claim to dig with the Bible in one hand and a spade in the other. Albright and his contemporaries—most of them Protestant biblical scholars and ordained ministers—believed that the primary (if not sole) value of archaeological work in the Holy Land was to provide physical confirmation of biblical events and people. Twenty-first century archaeologists, however, engage with a broad range of historical and anthropological questions in a similar way to their colleagues working in other parts of the world, where the historicity of the Bible doesn’t enter the equation.

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