part 3 … Biblical Narratives, Archaeology, Historicity – Essays in Honour of Thomas L. Thompson

Earlier posts in this series: 25th August 2020 and 27th August 2020. Thomas Thompson . . . is a pioneer in questioning more or less weak historical reconstructions done by Old Testament scholars, reconstructions that were mainly based on biblical texts and only sometimes supported by a few arbitrarily selected extra-biblical data. I still remember … Continue reading “part 3 … Biblical Narratives, Archaeology, Historicity – Essays in Honour of Thomas L. Thompson”


Biblical Narratives, Archaeology, Historicity – Essays in Honour of Thomas L. Thompson

Why a volume of essays in honour of Thomas L. Thompson? The opening paragraph of the Introduction explains (with my highlighting): Thomas L. Thompson has been, for the past five decades, behind some of the – if not all – major changes in Old Testament historiography, if we consider that his criticism of the patriarchal … Continue reading “Biblical Narratives, Archaeology, Historicity – Essays in Honour of Thomas L. Thompson”


Interview with Thomas L. Thompson #1

The Greek Mythicists website has posted a (Greek language) interview with Thomas L. Thompson. The interview page is Συνέντευξη με τον Thomas L. Thompson: Ο Βιβλικός Μινιμαλισμός και ο ιστορικός Ιησούς. The person responsible for the site, Minas Papageorgiou, has kindly sent me an English translation. It is very lengthy so I will only post … Continue reading “Interview with Thomas L. Thompson #1”


The Age of the Hebrew Bible — the other view

I have posted many times on the works of scholars who have argued that none or very little of the Hebrew Bible can be dated before the Persian or Hellenistic periods: Thompson, Lemche, Davies, Whitelam, Gmirkin, Wajdenbaum, Wisselius, Mandell & Freedman(?) and possibly others whom memory fails at this moment. So what does the “other side” … Continue reading “The Age of the Hebrew Bible — the other view”


The Politics of Archaeology

We laugh now at the idea that the Soviets and Nazis used scientific research to buttress their ideologies but archaeology is still being used to support nationalist ideologies and justify illegal occupations today. From Ynetnews: Culture Minister Miri Regev has ordered the Israel Antiquities Authority to put plans in motion to undertake far-reaching archeological restoration … Continue reading “The Politics of Archaeology”


Dealing with Silence and the Absence of Evidence in an Age of Resurgent Orthodoxy

In the world of biblical studies, scholars and laypeople alike tell us over and over that the absence of evidence is not the same thing as evidence of absence — and with good reason. Actually, they have two good reasons. First, it is true, in a technical sense. They are not identical propositions. And second, … Continue reading “Dealing with Silence and the Absence of Evidence in an Age of Resurgent Orthodoxy”


Ancient Canaanites Survive Today in Modern Lebanon’s Population

Through the ABC news article, Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter’, ancient DNA shows I was led to The American Journal of Human Genetics open access article, Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences, to read that the modern population of Lebanon contains the DNA of the … Continue reading “Ancient Canaanites Survive Today in Modern Lebanon’s Population”


Postmodernist Values & Questions of Power: From Reality to Biblical Studies

I came across the 1971 debate between Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky on human nature a couple of days ago; I last viewed it quite some years ago but found myself still fascinated enough to listen to it carefully through to the end once more. (There’s also a transcript online, I afterwards discovered.) And what … Continue reading “Postmodernist Values & Questions of Power: From Reality to Biblical Studies”


The Dark Resurgence of Biblical History

Biblical history and biblical archaeology have fought back to a new ascendancy after surviving the double-edged scrutiny of opponents they disparaged as “minimalists”. For a moment it looked like genuine historical inquiry into ancient Palestine had the potential to displace the paraphrasing the Bible and the tendency to interpret nearly every archaeological artefact through the … Continue reading “The Dark Resurgence of Biblical History”


The Difference between Story and History in the Bible

In 1980 the influential biblical scholar James Barr produced a “seminal essay” that classified “the narrative complex of the Hebrew Bible as story rather than history” and contributed to “[many retreating] into an historiographic scepticism”(Whitelam, 1987, 2010). The focus of Barr’s essay (and Keith Whitelam’s reference to it) is the Old Testament. It is important to understand, … Continue reading “The Difference between Story and History in the Bible”


The Rhythms of Palestine’s History

The reality of Palestine’s long history from the Bronze Age to the present has been lost behind the myths of the Bible. Think of Palestine’s past and images of Israel displacing the Canaanites from around 1200 BCE, establishing a united kingdom, even an empire, under King David and then his son Solomon slip easily into … Continue reading “The Rhythms of Palestine’s History”


Historical Jesus Scholarship in a “Neoliberal” World

This post and several ensuing ones will be about what we can learn about historical Jesus scholarship from the book Jesus In An Age of Neoliberalism: Quests, Scholarship and Ideology by Professor James Crossley. The second half of this post addresses some background that readers should understand as they read my engagement with Crossley’s book. … Continue reading “Historical Jesus Scholarship in a “Neoliberal” World”


Some Thoughts on the Nature of the Evidence and the Historicity of Jesus

You have the right to remain silent Over on The Bible and Interpretation web site, James McGrath once again takes up his jousting lance to do battle against the big, bad mythicists. He raises an interesting point: If we were to combine a number of recent and not-so-recent proposals related to Jesus, we could depict him … Continue reading “Some Thoughts on the Nature of the Evidence and the Historicity of Jesus”


Collapse of the Documentary Hypothesis (1) & Comparing the Bible with Classical Greek Literature

This post recapitulates earlier posts on the Documentary Hypothesis and introduces Philippe Wajdenbaum’s case for comparing the Bible with Classical Greek literature and finding the biblical author’s (sic) sources of inspiration there. Late last year I wrote Who Wrote the Bible? Rise of the Documentary Hypothesis. That post outlined the milestones towards the DH as … Continue reading “Collapse of the Documentary Hypothesis (1) & Comparing the Bible with Classical Greek Literature”