Friday, December 02, 2005

Archeology and David's Palace

The Washington Post has an article on some archeological research at a site that might contain David's palace. Though the story repeatedly suggests bad motives on the part of those who think the Biblical accounts of David's kingdom are historical, we're not given any reason to think that they're wrong. Near the end of the story, we read the following about Israel Finkelstein and other critics of the Biblical accounts:

But Finkelstein said Mazar's find appeared to show that Jerusalem, while perhaps not important during David's time, began emerging as an important city earlier than he previously believed.

"This is the missing link we have been looking for. It represents the first step in the rise of Jerusalem to prominence in the 9th century," he said. "Why does it have to be the palace of David? Once you bring that in you sound like something of a lunatic."

Seymour Gitin, director of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, said it was too soon to know precisely what Mazar had found. But, he said, "if this can be proven to be 10th century, it demolishes the view of the minimalists," referring to those who dismiss the unified monarchy as a petty kingdom or even as mythical.

No justification is given for Finkelstein's comment about those he disagrees with being "something of a lunatic". Despite the way the Washington Post presents the story, you get the impression that people like Finkelstein are the ones who have the more questionable motives.