Ziony Zevit, «Three Debates about Bible and Archaeology», Vol. 83 (2002) 1-27
Three significant debates affecting perceptions of Israelite history, the Bible’s historiography, the relationship between this historiography and archaeology, and the dating of parts of the Bible’s literature have occupied Biblicists and archaeologists for the last 25 years. This article distinguishes the debates by analyzing the issues involved, the terminologies employed, as well as the professions of the protagonists engaged in each. It considers each within its own intellectual context. In light of these analyses, the article proposes a positive assessment of the contribution of these debates to the study ancient Israel’s history.
chronology could be tightened. Results, however, have been disappointingly inconclusive33.
Two levels of confidence are invested in ceramic chronology today: medium range and high range. Medium range confidence is reflected by those arguing that this body of refined knowledge is such that in Syro-Palestinian archaeology any given assemblage can be dated to within about 40 years, plus or minus 40. High range confidence, such as that expressed by Finkelstein, is reflected by those arguing that an assemblage may be dated to within 25 years, plus or minus 25. In addition, however, Finkelstein, challenges the general soundness of the conventional chronology from twelfth through the end of the ninth centuries BCE, lowering the dates of some types of pottery and whole assemblages by more than 100 years34.
Since monumental projects are attested in the archaeological record at major Iron Age sites, Finkelstein’s case rests on his ability a) to create a new ceramic chronology for what heretofore have been considered typical Iron Age I and IIA types of pottery in associated assemblages, not only in Israel but also at other sites in the Levant;