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Document Details :
Title: The Ancient Israel Debate: A Jewish Postcolonial Perspective
Author(s): GRUBER, Mayer I.
Journal: Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Volume: 38 Date: 2001
In 1925 R. A. S. MacAlister explained that the purpose of archaeological excavation is not confirmation but illustration, and he lampooned persons who excavate in order to prove the truth or untruth of Scripture. Nevertheless, archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog shocked an Israeli public when he declared in a newspaper article in October 1999 that since archaeology had found no evidence for the patriarchs, the exodus, or King David he could not quite understand why people still read the Bible. The shocked Israeli public and a number of archaeologists and historians appear to share in the 19th century myth that anything created by the Jews after 586 BCE is of no consequence. A Postcolonial reading of the history of ancient and modern Israel offers the promise of 1) fully understanding the subtext of the current debate; and 2) a return to objectivity, which would foster a healthier climate for biblical and archaeological research.