William Dever, The Kingdom of Solomon, And…

His continuing efforts to straddle the fence.

Dever, a leading figure in biblical archaeology for nearly half a century, was the guest speaker for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Biblical Archaeology Lecture sponsored by the seminary’s Charles D. Tandy Archaeology Museum and Tandy Institute of Archaeology.

At a lecture there Dever said, purely pandering to his audience,

“Tonight, I want to talk about the age of Solomon, but before I do that, I want to set it up by telling you something about a school of European biblical scholarship,” Dever said. “These people call themselves revisionists because they are rewriting the history of ancient Israel, but when they finish, there is no history. They call themselves revisionists. I call them nihilists.”

He also

… encouraged students to study archaeology and urged Southwestern to train biblical archaeologists who can challenge the skeptics in the field. Biblical archaeology, especially in the United States, is in “disarray,” he said. Many academic programs are floundering, and some have been shut down or replaced by academic programs emphasizing modern Middle Eastern studies.

‘Biblical archaeology’ is a failed methodology because it is ideologically driven.  Dever is encouraging the field to move backwards.  For shame.

4 thoughts on “William Dever, The Kingdom of Solomon, And…

  1. Stephen Smuts 22 Jan 2010 at 2:24 am

    ‘‘Biblical archaeology’ is a failed methodology because it is ideologically driven’ – yet, let me ask, where is there no ideology Dr West? Certainly not in the hands of the secular minded!

    Archaeology on its own will always be dogged by disputes over the interpretation of artefacts and their correlation to historical events – no matter what environment it resides in – ‘Biblical’ or otherwise.

    And while apologetics may have been the original rationale behind Biblical archaeology (especially in the face of higher criticism) and all agree that it was not always objectively practiced in this position, if we put the past aside, there is nothing that says an objective scholarly presentation of archaeology within a ‘Biblical’ setting is not possible.

    I always say: Let archaeology say what it will and let it do so without forcing an interpretation. That is key.


    • Jim 22 Jan 2010 at 7:28 am

      we certainly agree stephen. especially with your last sentence. however much ‘biblical archaeology’ already knows what the interpretation of any artifact is.


  2. Niels Peter Lemche 22 Jan 2010 at 3:32 am

    Dever’s reality sense has always been extraordinary. Now we call ourselves revisionists?! It was a “title” attached to us by people like Dever, if not Dever himself.

    But taken the audience, what else should we expect?



  3. Philip Davies 25 Jan 2010 at 3:31 am

    ‘There can be none of what I have called “nostalgia for a biblical past that never existed”’

    Dever’s own published words. Is he a hypocrite or just a hypocrite?


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