Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All You Need Is One Odd Jew

Here's the lead-in of an ABC story on Jerusalem, its archaeology and its Jewish past, culled from Reuters:

Researchers Dig up Controversy in Jerusalem
By Erika Solomon
March 24, 2010

Archaeologists in Jerusalem are competing to unearth artifacts pointing to the ancient city's Jewish past, which are used to justify Israel's claim to all of it as the indivisible capital of the modern Jewish state.

But critics say some of "finds" are really just bending science to prove a "Biblical heritage" that is open to dispute.

"Archaeologists have given up many of their best practices in order to answer the continuing demands of mainly political actors," says Raphael Greenberg, an Israeli archaeologist from Tel Aviv University, who has worked in Jerusalem...

Greenberg is the odd-man out on this issue. His approach and claims have been shown to be not only politically-motivated but scientifically unsound. Ha-Ha-Haaretz promotes him and the radical loonie left has taken him up but that's it.

So, the foreign press, simply looking for a story, parades his views.

And there's the Arab who is angry:

...He names Eilat Mazar, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who drew attention last month after excavating a wall she says was built by the biblical King Solomon in the 10th century BC.

"She doesn't give any archaeological context to her findings other than dating pottery shards," Nur al-Din charged. "The Bible should be put aside. It's not a history book."

But Mazar, scion of an illustrious Israeli archaeology dynasty, disputes that: "Excavating Jerusalem without knowing the Bible is impossible," she says. She said she would write a scientific report of her find following laboratory study.

Pointing out the freshly excavated wall, Mazar says the Bible offers a "core of reality": "We've got a fantastic 10th century fortification line that indicates a central, powerful regime," she said. "The Bible tells us there was such a king at this time, and his name was Solomon. Why ignore it?

"The question is if we can trace that core and prove it existed. Well, here it is."

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