Steve Collins and his Via Media Concerning Archaeology’s Use of the Bible

In a new essay at ASOR

The relationship between archaeology and the Bible has been a much-debated topic over the last 25 years. The terms ‘minimalists’ and ‘maximalists’ are now as frequent as ‘exodus’ and ‘epigraphy’.  There seems to be little or no middle ground. 

Etc.   He has some interesting points but I think he fails to grasp adequately the real issues at hand which are 1) the misrepresentation of the bible when it is forced to fit the archaeological mold and 2) the misrepresentation of archaeology when it is forced to fit the bible.  That gulf cannot be bridged by 5 easy steps.

1 thought on “Steve Collins and his Via Media Concerning Archaeology’s Use of the Bible

  1. Not only does he wholly ignore arguments against the historicity of the stories of Genesis 13-14 (T.L. Thompson, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives, 1974,187-195), he doesn’t seem to be aware of any past archaeological and geographical research concerning Tall al-Hammam and Tall ‘Iqtanu and the sites of this region. HIs claim that these sites have never been mapped, geographically and archaeologically is simply false! Abel and Neuville visited this region and sketched its Bronze Age remains as early as 1929, and Glueck dated and mapped the sites of this region in 1943. The Bronze Age sites can (since 1978!) be found be found (dated and classified) on the Bronze Age site maps of the Tuebingen Atlas of the Near East
    and are discussed in an accompanying monograph (see T. L. Thompson, The Settlement of Palestine in the Bronze Age, BTAVO 34, 1979). The discussion of minimalism in the opening of his article hardly shows any signs
    of being aware of what they have written on these matters.

    With all best wishes,

    Thomas L. Thompson
    Professor emeritus, University of Copenhagen


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