Garfinkel’s Grumpy

With few scientific arguments to buttress their position, they [minimalists] proposed an imaginary, alternative history of biblical Israel and Judah. Instead of fostering a discussion between two competing paradigms based on the interpretation of data, the minimalists resorted to rhetoric and demagoguery, ignoring both the relevant archaeological data and the Bible.

Thus the abstract of a new essay in Bible and Interpretation penned by Yosef Garfinkel.  Among other things he suggests

The minimalists violated the conventional scientific procedure of moving in a logical progression from the data, to analysis and then to conclusions.

Ok let’s think about that for a moment, for who really violates the logic of scientific procedure?  Is it the ‘minimalists’ or the maximalists?   The maximalists begin with the conclusion (which they find in the Bible) and move to inference and then to declaration.  Their procedure is circular and so is their reasoning.  Is this scientific?  Which is more scientific, the insistence that there be evidence for a claim or a paper claim bolstered by another paper claim?

Garfinkel’s grumpy but his real target isn’t minimalism, it’s the so called ‘Low Chronology’.  He mistakenly believes, apparently, that the Low Chronology is a new manifestation of minimalism’s failed program.  There’s only one problem with that: Finkelstein isn’t a minimalist.

Hence Garfinkel has managed to do what the maximalists always manage to do: construct a man of straw, give him a good spanking, and then march off declaring ‘victory’ over the defeated foe.

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