so is titled the third chapter of the amazing book, The End Of Biblical Studies, by Hector Avalos. Seriously, this is a must read for anybody the least bit interested in the Bible.
Biblical Archaeologist William Dever:
With most scholars, I would exclude much of the Pentateuch, specifically the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. these materials obviously constitute a sort of ‘pre-history’ that has been attached to the main epic of ancient Israel by late editors. All this may be distilled from long oral traditions, and I suspect that some of the stories-such as parts of the Patriarchal narratives-may once have had a real historical setting. These traditions, however, are overlaid with legendary and even fantastic materials that the modern reader may enjoy as ‘story’ but which can scarcely be taken seriously as history….much of what is called in the English Bible ‘poetry’, ‘wisdom’ and ‘devotional literature’ must also be eliminated from historical consideration…Ruth, Esther, Job, and Daniel, historical novellae with contrived ‘real-life’ settings, the latter dating late as the 2nd century BCE.
Historian Keith Windschuttle:
When historians accept observatons about the past as evidence that an event really happened, they are always reluctant to take one report as proof of this. They prefer the corroboration of observations from many observers. This is what they have with the death of Julius Caesar. Every report they have ever seen about the Roman Empire around 44 BCE, no matter how close or how removed the source, corroborates the assassination and not one has yet turned up to falsify or even raise doubts about whether the event occurred….we know that Julius Caesar was killed in Rome in 44 BCE just as surely as we know that John F Kennedy was killed in Dallas in 1963.
However, once some of a book of history is discovered to be fabricated, the reader can never be sure that it is not ALL made up. Under these conditions, how could we have any confidence that the composite version itself is at all accurate or authentic? When a writer presents what he or she says is history, then the reader takes it on faith that the writer is at least trying to tell the truth.
Josephus, from the beginning of his ‘Wars Of The Jews’:
Of these previous writers, however, some have taken no part in the action, have collected from hearsay casual and contradictory stories which they have edited in a rhetorical style; while others who have witnessed the events have, either from flattery of the Romans or from hatred of the Jews, misrepresented the facts, their writing exhibiting alternatively invective and encomium, but nowhere historical accurracy.
David’s existence is still more akin to that of Arthur, and the Tel Dan Inscription tells us no more about David than the Modena Inscription tells us about King Arthur.
Biblical archaeology has helped to bury the Bible, and archaeologists know it. Ronald Hendel was exactly right when he said,‘Archaeological research has-against the intentions of most of it’s practitioner’s-secured the non-historicity of much of the Bible before the era of kings’ we can now expand Hendels’ observation and affirm that there is not much history to be found in the era of kings either.
Biblical Archaeologist Andrew Vaughn:
Thus, we are back to the use of archaeology as a handmaiden of Theology, which helped to get archaeology into its own cinerarium in the first place.