AuthorDAVIS, THOMAS WILLIAM.
AdvisorDever, William G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis is the study of the rise, dominance, and decline of a particular paradigm in Near Eastern archaeology known as Biblical archaeology. The development of the field is traced chronologically with an emphasis upon field work in Palestine because this was the arena of Biblical archaeology's field research. The first systematic explorations of Palestine were by Edward Robinson. Robinson wanted to recover the historical reality behind the biblical record, thereby making Scripture more accessible. This research for realia became a foundational motivation of Biblical archaeology. After Robinson, societies were founded dedicated to the study of the culture and history of Palestine. Up to World War I, Biblical archaeology remained in the armchair, content to interpret results gathered by professional archaeologists in the field. W. F. Albright brought Biblical archaeology actively into field work. Albright was guided in his archaeological research by the desire to ground biblical studies, in the perceived realia of archaeology. He believed archaeology was an external, objective endeavor that could provide solid support for an historical understanding of the Bible. He systematized the pottery chronology of Palestine and his field methodology became the recognized model for excavation in Palestine. A common misconception of Biblical archaeology is to see the field as a monolithic structure. In reality, the endeavor has been fragmented along theological lines and these various strains are separated and examined. After the war, Albright's successor, G. E. Wright, linked Biblical archaeology to the Biblical Theology Movement. The resulting "classical" Biblical archaeology of Albright and Wright viewed Palestinian archaeology as the field adjunct of biblical studies, limiting the research agenda to questions of biblical interest. When at Shechem, Wright was forced to recognize the subjective nature of archaeological interpretation, the entire system collapsed because Biblical archaeology depended upon the understanding of archaeology as realia. In recognition that data only speak in response to a question, Wright and his students turned to a new paradigm that could provide a wider range of questions. Despite the almost total rejection of Biblical archaeology as a paradigm for research, it has a positive legacy.
Degree ProgramOriental Studies