Historical evidence for the biblical account of the Exodus might be located at a site near the Jordan River, according to a recently announced discovery. … However, at the Jordan Valley site of Khirbet el-Mastarah, archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo have said that there is evidence of ruins from a nomadic people believed to be the Hebrews coming from Egypt. Ben-Shlomo said in comments quoted by the U.K. Daily Express on Tuesday that the ruins offer potential evidence for the biblical account.
Nowadays whenever I see the phrase ‘historical evidence for the biblical account’ I already know it’s an unsubstantiated claim. Plus, ugh- ‘Potential’…
“We have not proved that these camps are from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible,” noted Ben-Shlomo.
I.e., we don’t have a case but we do want to pretend that we’ve discovered something… Ugh.
“If they are, this might fit the biblical story of the Israelites coming from east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later.”
‘Might’… Ugh. When in the name of God did ‘potential’ and ‘possible’ and ‘might’ become archaeological claims?
Ben-Shlomo and Hawkins had their findings published in the July/August 2018 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, noting that the ruins appear to date to the Iron Age, which would be around the time of the Exodus.
But of course. What says ‘rank speculation’ like BAR?
“Within a range of just a couple of miles, we may be able to see the evolution of early Israel from a domestic-scale culture [at Khirbet el-Mastarah] to a political-scale culture [at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa].”
What? What’s that even supposed to mean?
I wish archaeology was held to a higher standard of evidence than it presently is among too many. And that sensationalizing was replaced with solid research and that speculation died the death of 1000 heretics. But, alas, as long as Fundamentalists clamor for proof and publications like BAR pander to that readership I’m afraid we’re stuck with rubbish like this.
NB– I remember when the editor of BAR used to care about facts and evidence… Alas.