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.
and b) to bring order to sites where the consensus acknowledges that the stratigraphic sequencing for the tenth century is unclear, but without creating disorder at sites where it is clear.
He propounds a complex argument based on hand burnished red slip ware, i.e., a type dipped in a red clay wash and then buffed by hand with a piece of ceramic to give at least parts of it a shiny patina. At Jezreel, it was found only in the ninth century stratum and not in spotty, earlier tenth century material recovered at the site. Combining Jezreel data with those from his excavations at Megiddo, he concludes that this pottery is to be dated exclusively to the ninth century. Since, according to his dating, the pottery is associated with monumental architecture, he extrapolates that all such construction should be assigned to the ninth century, at the earliest. Consequently, attested construction projects assigned to David, Solomon, Rehoboam and Jeroboam in the tenth century on the basis of the established chronology and on the strength of Biblical accounts of their building activities, projects that infer the presence of significant economic resources, a labor pool supportable by an economy greater than subsistence level, and an organized, central administration, are dated incorrectly. The projects could only have been undertaken by kings living no less than 50 years after the death of Solomon.
At a theoretical level, at issue is whether or not Finkelstein has isolated a significant factual discrepancy in ceramic chronology of such moment that it requires the changes for which he calls.
The archaeological community as a whole rejects Finkelstein’s ceramic chronology on well argued archaeological grounds35. The consensus maintains that published, and reported but still unpublished, archaeological evidence supports both a tenth and ninth century dates for the tell-tale pottery as well as for the construction of monumental projects at the above-mentioned sites36. In the few places where