Sunday, January 02, 2022

An Attack on Tel Shiloh and the Biblical Narrative

I think I may have missed this hit piece on Shiloh's archaeological value at the time.


About 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, just west of the Israeli settlement Shiloh, lies Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site that attracts tens of thousands of evangelical Christians every year.

There, Scott Stripling, an evangelical pastor from Texas, heads a dig...

...Stripling calls Tel Shiloh Israel's "first capital", based on the idea that Shiloh was the first capital of the Israelites for close to 400 years from the 15th century BCE. ...Biblical scholars beg to differ.

"Properly credentialed biblical scholarship does not assume the historicity of anything prior to King David [ca. 1010-970 BCE]," says Southern Methodist University Professor of Old Testament Susanne Scholz. "That Stripling projects the biblical stories into the historical record exposes him as a Christian fundamentalist. That's the origin of his drive to do archaeology at Tel Shiloh."

Scholz also points out that the claim that Shiloh was the capital of ancient Israel is "utter nonsense".

"Such statements are used to advance geopolitical goals," she says.

The first question an academic like her should be asked is: have you reviewed any of the results of the dig? After all, to depend on a news media site is really an inadequate source.

Has she reviewed the previous results of any earlier digs? The pottery? The walls? Etc.

Some of the studies:

- Buhl, Marie-Louise, & Svend Holm-Nielsen, Shiloh--The Danish Excavations at Tall Sailum, Palestine, in 1926, 1929, 1932 AND 1962: The Pre-Hellenistic Remains. Copenhagen: The National Museum of Denmark, 1969.
- Finkelstein, Israel, et al. Shiloh: The Archaeology of a Biblical City. Tel Aviv, 1993.
- Hizmi, Hananya, and Reut Livyatan-ben-Arie. “The Excavations at the Northern Platform of Tel Shiloh the 2012-2013 Seasons [Translated from Hebrew].” Edited by D. Scott Stripling and David E. Graves. Translated by Hillel Richman. Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 62 (2017): 35–52.
Kaufman, Asher S. “Fixing the Site of the Tabernacle at Shiloh.” Biblical Archaeology Review 14.6 (Nov-Dec1988): 42-49.
- Schley, Donald G. Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition and History, Sheffield, 1989, 2009. 
and this from Stripling:
- Stripling, Scott. “The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh.” Bible and Spade 29.3 (Fall 2016): 88-95.
Or even a semi-academic presentation, as here.

Even Finkelstein accepts Shiloh as site of the Tabernacle (religion is not his driving force) and as 
"the sacred religious center of the Israelite population of the hill country"
More from Finkelstein, no Christian fundamentalist, here.

And in this article, evidence of Carbon-14 is presented dating a major conflagration at Shiloh at 1050 BCE, plus or minus 25 years, which corresponds with the Biblical narrative.

According to her CV, her archaeological experience is minimal:
Susanne Scholz is Professor of Old Testament at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. As a diasporic German-American feminist post-Holocaust scholar, she researches, writes, and teaches in the area of sacred text studies, primarily in Hebrew Bible studies.

Dr. Scholz holds a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Born and raised in Germany, she studied at the University of Mainz and the University of Heidelberg while preparing for the equivalent of the Master of Divinity. She also studied in a one-year study program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, prior to coming to the United States. During these years, she participated at an archaeological dig at Tell el-Oreme/Tel Kinrot on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, led by one of her professors in Mainz.

I would suggest that perhaps it is Scholz who has an agenda rather than an independent objective body of knowledge.

The ongoing excavation and the investigation of the artifacts discovered are impressive and present real evidence and not just theories.

Maybe, when she gets the opportunity, she should visit Tel Shiloh?


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