How to Tell a Canaanite from an Israelite

By William G. Dever

I have been accused of organizing this entire session solely to have the opportunity of introducing Bill Dever. (Laughter.) And I want to deny that. That’s not the only reason. But it certainly is a pleasure for me to introduce an old friend with whom I have had some public disagreements. And I suppose for those of you who are aware of this, I should not simply gloss over them, but tell you that we are old and close friends despite our public professional disagreements. Basically, I think that is something that is over. It involved the use of the term “biblical archaeology.” I thought it was a good and credible and continually viable term. Bill, at one point in his career, thought we ought to abandon it. The ironic thing is that throughout that period—and continuing—I don’t know anyone who was a more insightful and perceptive biblical archaeologist than Bill Dever. (Laughter.) He confessed to me at dinner last night that he is getting less and less interested in his EBIV [Early Bronze IV period] business [pre-biblical] and turning more and more to the Bible. I was of course delighted to hear that.

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