AuthorElliott, Mark, 1948-
AdvisorWright, J. Edward
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 a study of the interpretation of archaeological data by Anglo-American Bible scholars, though the emphasis is primarily American, in scholarly and popular publications from 1900-1930. The major archaeological research interest for many Anglo-American biblical scholars was its direct reflection on the biblical record. Many were devout and reared on a literal reading of Scripture. Traditional scholars insisted that the function of archaeology was to provide evidence to validate the Bible and to disprove higher criticism. They were clearly motivated by theological concerns and created an archaeology of faith that authenticated the word of the Lord and protected Christian doctrines. Liberal or mainstream scholars rejected conservative methods that simply collated archaeological data to attack the documentary hypothesis and its supporters. Several eminent Bible scholars developed important studies on the interpretation of archaeological results from Palestine. They participated eagerly in analyzing archaeological material and refused to concede the field of biblical archaeology to theologically-motivated conservative scholars and theologians. They were determined to conduct important investigations of the archaeological evidence free from theological bias. Palestinian excavations lacked the spectacular architectural and inscriptural remains unearthed in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The popular press did occasionally report on the progress of several excavations from Palestine, but, for the most part, Palestinian excavations concentrated on tells and pottery and the results were disappointing. However, by the 1920s the New York Times was a major source of information concerning archaeological news and frequently carried stories that indicated that archaeology was confirming the biblical record and many of the Bible's revered figures. The Times played a vital role in popularizing biblical archaeology and contributed many illustrations of amazing archaeological discoveries that "proved" the historicity of the biblical text. W. F. Albright's scholarly conclusions in the 1920s were moderate. Albright's scholarship was not motivated by theological concerns as many have assumed. Though his religious convictions were assuredly conservative, his scholarship had little in common with the tendentious archaeological assumptions created by conservative Bible scholars and theologians. Albright's interpretations were based on the archaeological data and not on theological dogma.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle East -- Study and teaching