C O U R S E L E C T U R E
Interview with Bill Deaver
Notes taken on September 13, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
American archaeologist specializing in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times
1966: Ph.D. from Harvard
1975 to 2002: Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson
"The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel"
Deals with the 8th century BC and shows how those people whose lives are not reflected in the Bible actually lived.
"Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel"
examines what he calls folk religion in ancient Israel
"What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel"
this book contains two different works: one is a helpful introduction to the world of Syro-Palestinian archaeology and its possible interaction with biblical studies, while the other is a diatribe against a certain cadre of scholars and the philosophical background they represent, it will be rare to find a nonspecialist reader who has interest in the former but is also willing to dig through the latter
current book: "An Archeological History of Ancient Israel and Judah"
based on the material cultural evidence rather than on the Biblical texts
does not ignore the biblical texts but argues that they are secondary to archeology
"what I did was pretend I never heard of the Bible although I'm trained as classically as you are"
answers the question: what would we know about this area and time of history if we didn't have the Bible?
compared to the 1960s, today we know much more about the archeological history of Israel
the Bible is limited in what it can tell us about the area of Israel in the Iron Age, but archeology is open-ended
Israel is one of the more researched areas of the world when it comes to archeology
I tried to keep the controversies in the footnotes and allow the text to flow
80% comes from archeology and 20% from the Biblical texts
example which shows that there is much more archeological information than what is mentioned in the Bible
in the 9th century, Omri established a new dynasty in the Northern Kingdom and moved the capital to Samaria
the Book of Kings gives seven verses to his whole life
Biblical writers say basically that he was not a nice guy
there is a rich history that can be compiled of him based on archeological finds such as the Syrian records
we have at least one extra-Biblical text referring to a David of that time
the Biblical stories seem larger than life, the question is who was David, assuming that he lived
the later you come in time, the more knowledgeable Biblical writers are
when they talk about the fall of Jerusalem in 586, they were there
the farther back in time you go the more difficult it is to read the Biblical stories just at face value
they are probably not completely made up, but they are exaggerated
the Bible is didactic literature so these stories are most always moving in a certain direction, usually to teach the readers a moral lesson, it isn't interested in exactly what happened
archeology is a primary sources because
it is interested in exactly what happened
it is closer to the events that happened
it is expanding over time as there are new discoveries and studies
there needs to be more collaboration between archeologists and more traditional Biblical scholars