I second the recommendation.DanH34 wrote:I came across her via the ever-wonderful Flashman, who should be required reading for all humans. Seriously, I can't recommend the series enough.
Despite the fact that this source isn't neutral, I think they show a more fact-based and scientific reasoning than the article they're trying to refute.DanH34 wrote:On what evidence do you base this summation?
Despite the fact that David and Soloman's 'empire' has absolutely no attestation in the historical record?
What makes you say that?
This source is even less neutral, but some of its sources are reliable even to skeptics.
Same applies to this.
(It also points out that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.)
I can't tell how neutral this source (also found here) is. But it says something I agree with (and maybe you don't):
I don't believe that "Biblical Minimalism" is actually an appropriate application of Occam's Razor.You probably know that there is no "smoking gun" evidence for David, Solomon or their kingdoms as described in the Bible. .... Yet the archaeological data and historical material is so strong and compelling that I hesitate to classify it as simply indirect evidence.
This source presents the opposite point of view. Little in that article can be disproven, IMO.
Like most questions in history, there will never be any definitive proof. If history books consisted only of things that no-one could reasonably deny, or for which there was incontrovertible proof, they would all be extremely slim; and anyone who has developed their upper-body strength by lifting history textbooks knows they are not slim.
The Wikipedia article seems even-handed enough.
I agree with what Byers says Finkelstein said, about parts of the "history" books:
First of all I think anywhere a conversation with God is recorded, there's a solid chance it didn't really happen exactly that way (for one thing, I'm an atheist), though possibly at least one participant may have thought it did.http://biblicalarcheology.net/?p=69 wrote:Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, head of the Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University and co-director of the ongoing excavation at Megiddo, .... believes the core historical books of the Old Testament were written in the late seventh century BC (the days of king Josiah) as political propaganda to support his reforms .... Thus for Finkelstein, a Biblical writer was not actually describing the period about which he was writing, instead he was inventing history about that period.
Second, the actual words of any conversation of which no witness or participant survived to report it, has to be regarded as "fictionalized"; and "fictionalization" must be regarded a distinct possibility, if only one witness or participant survived to report it. The historical part of the tale would be that "those people did have some sort or other of conversation, with the following results".
Nevertheless I think most of the stories were originally written by people who were either alive at the time they (presumably) took place, or were able to interview people who were alive at that time. I don't think there's enough (maybe not any) reason to believe they were all fiction; the most that can be said is there's not enough reason to be certain they probably fiction. They may indeed have been dusted off and re-published for propaganda purposes; propaganda doesn't have to be false, either. I took courses on religion, on history, on the Bible, and so on, in college. Most published scholars at that time thought that even (most of) Genesis was at least legendary if not historical. (Of course none of them believed all of Genesis was historical, or even legendary; some of it, especially the first several chapters, is "obviously" pure myth (in their opinion).) Job, Jonah, and Esther, and other "trito-canonical" books, were fiction (so they thought); they were preserved in the Hebrew Bible for the same reason English libraries usually include the works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. (Some deutero-canonical books were also considered in that light.)
So the main reason I think II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles, are "history", is that the majority of scholars who ought to know all the evidence and arguments for and against it, regard "yes, it's probably mostly history" as the most reasonable working-hypothesis. I know that's not evidence; I'm not well-enough-versed in it all to make a judgement based on the evidence; I have to rely on those who are.
I doubt I've convinced you; I wasn't even trying to, because I never thought it possible. But I think I may have shown you that it's probably more trouble than it would be worth to try to convince me , and that my "working hypothesis" isn't just a symptom of disordered reason.