Shifting Sands: The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology

Hardcover | April 14, 2004

byThomas W. Davis

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Before the 1970s, "biblical archaeology" was the dominant research paradigm for those excavating the history of Palestine. Today this model has been "weighed in the balance and found wanting." Most now prefer to speak of "Syro/Palestinian archaeology." This is not just a nominal shift butreflects a major theoretical and methodological change. It has even been labeled a revolution. In the popular mind, however, biblical archaeology is still alive and well. In Shifting Sands, Thomas W. Davis charts the evolution and the demise of the discipline. Biblical archaeology, he writes, was an attempt to ground the historical witness of the Bible in demonstrable historical reality. Its theoretical base lay in the field of theology. American mainstreamProtestantism strongly resisted the inroads of continental biblical criticism, and sought support for their conservative views in archaeological research on the ancient Near East. The Bible was the source of the agenda for biblical archaeology, an agenda that was ultimately apologetical. Davis traces the fascinating story of the interaction of biblical studies, theology, and archaeology in Palestine, and the remarkable individuals who pioneered the discipline. He highlights the achievements of biblical archaeologists in the field, who gathered an immense body of data. By clarifyingthe theoretical and methodological framework of the original excavators, he believes, these data can be made more useful for current research, allowing a more sober, reasoned judgment of both the accomplishments and the failures of biblical archaeology.

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Before the 1970s, "biblical archaeology" was the dominant research paradigm for those excavating the history of Palestine. Today this model has been "weighed in the balance and found wanting." Most now prefer to speak of "Syro/Palestinian archaeology." This is not just a nominal shift butreflects a major theoretical and methodological ...

Thomas W. Davis is Director of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute. He has more than twenty-five years of archaeological experience, having excavated in Cyprus, Jordan, Egypt, and the United States.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 6.3 × 9.09 × 0.98 inPublished:April 14, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195167104

ISBN - 13:9780195167108

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"Lucid, systematic, comprehensive: an illuminating guide to the growth and practice of Syro-Palestinian archaeology since the 19th century and its complex relationship to the study of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israelite history." --Peter Machinist, Hancock Professor of Hebrew and OtherOriental Languages, Harvard University