Philip Davies is Talking the Bible and Archaeology

In a new essay at Bible and Interpretation.

How should the historian deal with the biblical texts on the one hand and archaeological data on the other? The collapse of “biblical archaeology” has left many scholars without any agreed procedure. At one pole is a clique clinging to “biblical historicity”; at the other pole are those who want to construct a purely archaeological history. Between the poles lie the rest of us, apparently uncertain as to how to proceed. Some claim that biblical texts and archaeology largely do not intersect, and others that the biblical texts have virtually no relationship to history, some work ad hoc. I’m not going to provide names here, because any individual scholar may resent being crudely labelled.

Here, instead, I’m going to sketch a basic methodology, based on three principles. First: the issue does not relate only to biblical texts that describe the past, that appear “historiographical”. Second: there is no question of comparing raw biblical data with raw archaeological data; in each case the data have to be processed—that is, interpreted through technical means. Third: biblical texts and archaeological data,once processed, are largely compatible and can be compared and integrated.

Enjoy the whole piece.