From about the time Israel Finkelstein rose to prominence for promoting a chronology that minimizes the Bible’s reliability, Tel Aviv University students have been known more for their critical scholarship than for their illumination of the Bible via scientific excavations, a.k.a., Biblical archeology (at ASOR 2007, the late Anson Rainey lamented that he wasn’t exactly proud to be affiliated with TAU over this point). In fact, for the past couple of decades, the term has been going out of academic fashion.
For the most part, Dr. Finkelstein has appeared in popular media as an objective, mild-mannered reporter, assuring readers that if Kings David & Solomon existed, they amounted to nothing more than “tribal chieftains ruling from a small hill town”. If it had been something grander, Dr. Jekyll/Finkelstein, being for the most part disinterested in any correlation between historical facts & the Bible, would surely teach & report it.
After the verdict was published in the Golan/Deutsch trial, an L.A. Times editorial by Nina Burleigh (loud & proud promoter of murder & adultery) allowed Dr. Finkelstein’s Mr. Hyde to take the stage for a change, prophesying about what we should expect as the result of the trial:
“Inscriptions from the time of Solomon, from the time of David, the T-shirt of Moses, the crown of King Solomon, the sandals of Abraham. That’s the future, if there is an acquittal.”
Notice that he considers the possibility of discovering inscriptions from the time of Solomon & David equivalent to finding “the T-shirt of Moses” (assuming Ms. I’ll-Have-Sex-With-You-If-You-Let-Us-Kill-Babies quoted him accurately).
I was reminded of all this while reading Todd Bolen’s blog this past week, in which he emphasized the name change ASOR gave to its Biblical Archaeologist journal.
Coincidently, last weekend I received a copy of the 2012 issue of Tel Aviv University’s Review magazine, which includes a wonderful article about their new international study programs. Look what appears twice on the very same page (11):
“International MA in Archaeology and the History of the Land of the Bible: Taught by some of the biggest names in the field of BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY, this program offers a unique window into the Land of Israel’s perplexing and complex past, while introducing students to issues of theory and methodology, and giving them fieldwork experience in the most important excavations conducted in Israel by TAU scholars. The program provides the most up-to-date scientific context for archaeological, historical and biblical studies. Program head is Prof. Oded Lipschits.”
“Now, I finally have the chance to study BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY in the land where it all happened and not just in class!“–George Mavronanos, 22, Greece
I just feel like something good has happened!