Quotations from Scholars on the Record
Scholars on the Record is a collection of interviews that Hershel Shanks has conducted with archaeologists and biblical scholars over the last 30 years. I found it a fascinating read, though not one person interviewed shares my perspective that the Bible is a trustworthy source. I’ve selected a few quotations that provide insight on biblical studies, archaeology, and the way scholars think.
William Dever: “Originally I wrote to frustrate the biblical minimalists; then I became one of them, more or less” (19).
Hershel Shanks: “If I ever write a book on ‘How True Is the Bible?’ I’ll have to start out by saying that archaeology is not the way to find out; that it has very little to say” (57).
Israel Finkelstein: “Archaeology is relevant when somebody tells me that the patriarchal material in Genesis reflects the realities of the second millennium B.C. Then archaeology is in full steam to prove that he is wrong” (66).
Cyrus Gordon, explaining how they controlled for stratigraphy: “The Egyptian taskmasters were very good at implementing our instructions. They cracked whips. They used to beat the workers. I couldn’t imagine an American beating the workers, but the Egyptians did” (169).
Yigael Yadin: “I don’t think God has anything to do with archaeology” (194).
The book includes interviews with Elie Wiesel, Geza Vermes, David Noel Freedman, the Dothans, and others. I recommend it.