Tag Archives: Yosef Garfinkel

Arav Responds to Garfinkel

In a rollicking response to Garfinkel’s unjustified criticisms of Arav’s review.

I hesitated whether to respond to this ad hominem reply or not. Each “point” in the “18 points” purports to say how flawless the report on Khirbet Qeiyafa is and how unqualified I am to review it. In addition to this, I find it odd not to reply in the same journal that published my book review. However, with my humble skills, I would like to make some arguments.

And persuasive arguments follow.

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.

Media Exaggeration: This Is Why No One Should Trust the Press

The Atlantic Wire’s headline shows why the general public shouldn’t trust the media.  Instead, it should ask actual experts directly.

Archaeologists Claim They’re One Step Closer to Proving the Bible True

I don’t recall that sentiment being expressed even by Garfinkel.   Even his boldest claims don’t go so far as to say that ‘the bible is closer to being proven’.

Sadly the Atlantic Wire turned to the likes of Shanks and a dim angry atheist for the ‘other side of the story’.  So, all in all, not only do they not get Garfinkel right- they don’t even bother making inquiry of actual academics.  They must be the National Enquirer of the mainstream media.  Or maybe they’re just par for the course.

In any event, if you want to know something, ask someone who knows, not the media nor people interested only in selling magazine subscriptions or copies of their whiny ‘I can’t be a Christian anymore because I think I know everything’ book.

Seth Sanders et al on the Qeiyafa Discovery

Seth (and some others) have some thoughts on possible unintended consequences of the Qeiyafa find.  It begins

Notes from a conversation between Seth Sanders, Matthew Suriano and Jacqueline Vayntrub.

“The difference between the new model shrines and others is that these come with a press kit.”

It is tempting to dismiss claims about the new discoveries as exaggerated, self-contradictory, or even fundamentalist. The newly discovered model shrine is somehow supposed to testify to both the biblical ban on graven images and the biblical Ark of the Lord–despite being festooned with birds and lions and bearing no striking resemblance to the account in Exodus. Footprints of King David, a glossy book about the finds available the day of the press conference, did not help to soften the impression of hasty sensationalism.

I sure hope he didn’t mean to imply that my posting of the Hebrew University press release was a tacit agreement with the claims of Garfinkel or even crypto-fundamentalism on my part.  Neither would be true.

[Ok, I asked and he didn’t mean to make any such implication.  Whew].

Archaeological Tease: The Valley of Elah and Yosef Garfinkel’s Big Reveal

Via Joseph Lauer


Hebrew University archaeologist to reveal new findings at press conference and archaeological tour: On Tuesday, May 8, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel from the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will announce an archaeological discovery with implications for archaeology, history and biblical studies. The announcement, including artifacts never seen by the public, will take place at a press conference on the Mt. Scopus campus. A tour of the archaeological site will follow.

—9 a.m.: Registration, equipment setup and light breakfast
—9:30 – 11 a.m.: Press conference at Mt. Scopus campus
—12:30 p.m.: Tour of archeological site.

LOCATION: PRESS CONFERENCE: Senate Hall in the Sherman Administration Building, the Hebrew University’s Mt. Scopus campus.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE: Approximately 30 km. southwest of Jerusalem, in the Valley of Elah. —Directions will be provided at the press conference.

Something to anticipate for next Tuesday.  I’m not a gambler, but I suspect it has something to do with something they’ve found at Qeiyafa.  That, or they’ve finally found Goliath’s rattle.

From the Newest Number of IEJ: Yossi Garfinkel on the Qeiyafa Inscription

With many thanks to Yossi for sending along a copy:

The Relative and Absolute Chronology
of Khirbet Qeiyafa: Very Late Iron Age I or Very Early Iron Age IIA?*
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

ABSTRACT: This article examines the suggestions by Singer-Avitz, Finkelstein and Piasetzky that Khirbet Qeiyafa belongs in the very late Iron Age I, at the end of the third quarter of the tenth century BCE. A close examination of the various arguments presented by these scholars clearly indicates methodological failures and inconsistencies that do not meet their own criteria. The pottery assemblage of Khirbet Qeiyafa is a typological ‘bridge’ between two periods. It maintains the Iron Age I tradition, while introducing several characteristics that later became the classical markers of the Iron Age IIA.

The absolute chronology of Khirbet Qeiyafa is based upon radiometric datings of short-lived olive pits, collected from a destruction layer of a one-period site that existed for a very short time. Nothing at the site indicates a long occupation that lasted over hundreds of years. Khirbet Qeiyafa marks the beginning of a fresh cultural development, with new types of fortifications, city planning, pottery assemblage and administration. These advanced developments clearly marked the beginning of a new era — the Iron Age IIA.

Finkelstein v. Garfinkel: The ‘Ir David’ Smackdown

I’d love to be there for this:

Under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Elad organization, and leading archaeologists, excavations take place year round in the City of David and vicinity, with hundreds of workers and volunteers. The enormous amount of work on this small area produces results that literally change the history books every year and percolate throughout the international academic world. This year will make its mark as well.

Events of the 10th Century BCE have been in the public and academic eyes in recent years. Two key protagonists in this discussion will face off by addressing different aspects of their research which directly and indirectly relate to David and Solomon’s Jerusalem.

Prof. Israel Finkelstein (Tel Aviv University) will analyze several major structures generally considered to be hard evidence of David’s City. His surgical analysis stone by stone and confrontation of academic paper by academic paper will certainly shake up and perhaps demolish conventional assumptions, throwing a stumbling block in front of easy explanations and diagrams.

Taking the other side of this debate, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) will present a brand-new median theory of the Judean Kingdom’s origins and historical precedence based on his recent excavations at Elah Fortress – Khirbet Qeiyafa, overlooking the Elah Valley where David and Goliath fought. Garfinkel believes the mighty 10th century BCE fortifications, extensive pottery, carbon-14 analysis, ancient writing, text-related features, and other findings of his four excavation seasons now shed new light on other sites and together draw a picture of a regional polity in this region and this period which cannot be ignored.

Holy Land Grabs (via Sects and Violence in the Ancient World)

Steve shares some very good thoughts on the misuse of archaeology for political purposes.

Holy Land Grabs Civilization began in the “Middle East.” Ever since then, it has been a struggle to keep it together. One of the sad realities of the last century and continuing into this is that peace in this region seems as elusive as a Tea Partier with compassion. Claims to land are among the most complex of human inventions. Having never been a property owner, I’ve only ever watched this from the sidelines, but I know the endless surveying, assessing, and ne … Read More

via Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

‘Finding’ the City of David? CNN Blows it Again

Why can’t the press manage to get anything right?  Are journalists really so ignorant that they can’t pick up a phone and say to someone ‘hey, check this over and let me know if it’s right, ok?’  Come ON!

Joseph Lauer writes

CNN International has a five-minute video focusing on Khirbet Qeiyafa, the Elah fortress, at http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2011/07/06/ime.maktabi.city.of.david.cnn/ The video, added on July 6, 2011, is (curiously) entitled “Finding the City of David” and (curiously) blurbed “Archaeologists in Israel believe they have found the remains of the legendary City of David.” Both Prof. Yosef Garfinkel and Prof. Israel Finkelstein are interviewed.

It’s not ‘curious’ that CNN titled it that, it’s ignorant.   But at least the sane voice of Finkelstein is heard.  Give it a watch and try not to pull your hair out when the lead in talks about proving the bible and David via Qeiyafa…  Here are a few screenshots: