“The Birth & Death of Biblical Minimalism | Biblical Archaeology Review”


From Biblical Archaeology Review:

“Biblical minimalism,” as it is known, has gone through a number of permutations in the recent past. Its modern career began about 30 years ago…. Since then it has been part of the ongoing debate regarding the extent to which historical data are embedded in the Hebrew Bible.

In the mid-1980s the principal argument involved the dating of the final writing of the text of the Hebrew Bible. The minimalist school claimed then that it had been written only in the Hellenistic period, nearly 700 years after the time of David and Solomon, and that the Biblical descriptions were therefore purely literary.

Fast-forward through an archaeological discovery or two, and now the picture has changed dramatically:

[T]here is at least one, and possibly two, clear references to the dynasty of David in the ninth century B.C.E., only 100–120 years after his reign. This is clear evidence that David was indeed a historical figure and the founding father of a dynasty.

This led to the collapse of the minimalist paradigm in which David was little more than a myth. There was a David. He was a king. And he founded a dynasty.

The minimalists reacted in panic, leading to a number of suggestions that now seem ridiculous…..

[A]rguments like these can be classified as displaying “paradigm-collapse trauma,” that is, literary compilations of groundless arguments, masquerading as scientific writing through footnotes, references and publication in professional journals.

This is out of my field, but I thought you would want to know about it.

Hat Tip: Uncommon Descent