Is the Bible true? Was the Garden of Eden a real place that can be found on a map? Was there a Flood? Did a Hebrew man rise to great power in Egypt? Were the Israelites slaves in Egypt? Did they escape from bondage and were they saved from the pursuing Egyptians? Did the prophets correctly predict many of the major events in Israelite history? Were Elijah and Elisha agents in a great assassination plot? Did Amos become famous because of an accurate forecast? In thinking about the questions of biblical factuality, some embrace a rigid skepticism and are quick to dismiss the accuracy of the biblical narratives without weighing the evidence. They are content to read the Bible for its metaphorical and literary truths, forgetting that the Bible is based on the history of an ancient people. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, have the strong desire to find hard proof that the biblical facts are facts, only to be disappointed and frustrated. But is it reasonable to expect such proof? Archaeology and comparative texts must be examined for what they realistically can be asked to provide. In a series of readable essays written in an engaging manner and a positive mode, author Benjamin Edidin Scolnic evaluates the biblical texts in the light of all the information we possess at this time. Scolnic asks the reader to join the ongoing dialogue between faith and history by carefully reviewing the textual and material evidence with an open mind. He does not so much seek to prove or disprove the Bible, but rather attempts to find middle ground through the exploration of its historical dimension.
About the Author
Benjamin Edidin Scolnic, a rabbi and scholar, has been the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Sholom in Hamden, Connecticut since 1983. Rabbi Scolnic is also the Biblical Consultant for the North Sinai Archaeological Expedition investigating the route of the Exodus in the Sinai Desert. Rabbi Scolnic was the first person ever to receive a Ph.D. in Bible from the Graduate School of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is author of many books and articles including Alcimus, Enemy of the Maccabees (University Press of America, 2004), Chronology and Papponymy (University Press of America, 1999), and Theme and Context in Biblical Lists (University Press of America, 1995).
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: Presumed True Chapter 2 The Source of Rivers and the Source of Texts Chapter 3 Missing the Boat: Why Noah's Ark Sails Without Us Chapter 4 Follow the Dreams: Joseph and the Meaning of Dual Causality Chapter 5 Gold or Coal: Re-Imaging the Early Life of Moses Chapter 6 The Case for the Historicity of the Israelite Exodus from Egypt: If I Told Your What Really Happened, You'd Never Believe Me Chapter 7 The Search for the Site of the Miracle of the Sea Chapter 8 The Israelites in Canaan and the Minimalist/Palestinian Denial of History Chapter 9 Why Elijah is the Prophet of Waiting: How Archaeology Illuminates a Great Assassination Plot Chapter 10 Why is Amos Famous? Chapter 11 Like a Bird in a Cage: Why Isaiah is #1 on the Prophetical Canonical Parade Chapter 12 A Time for Treason or the Comfort in Destruction Chapter 13 Love is Stronger than Death: Archaeology and Beliefs in the Afterlife Chapter 14 What I Believe: A Theology of Biblical Archaeology Chapter 15 Bibliography