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View Diary: Biblical Archaeology (208 comments)

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  •  A quibble or two. (9+ / 0-)

    The explanation above is well done and largely correct.

    This statement is problematic.

    It should be kept in mind that the Bible was written by an elite group to further their purposes, and that today’s archaeology focuses on the lives of ordinary people.
    The first half is true, but we need to be careful about assigning intent.  The people who knew how to write were those in the priestly/scribal class, so they wrote about their religion.  The result may have been manipulative, exclusive, or coercive without the intent.  Much modern biblical interpretation seeks to work its way through this built-in bias and find ordinary people, in a way analogous to archaeologists.

    The biggest problem is with the second half.  Archaeology finds what it finds, whether this is the material remains of the lives of the ordinary or the powerful.  Unfortunately, material remains are only a little better than texts.  The lives of the wealthy and powerful leave more artifacts behind.   "Ordinary people" are far more difficult to find, for reasons similar to those that make them hard to find in texts.  The society that leaves behind material remains was also produced "by an elite group to further their purposes."

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:44:32 AM PDT

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