Finkelstein: the neo-Welhausenian German influenced Hermeneutics of Suspicion Archaeologist: A Book Review of Wikipaedia Reformulated


From the site of Wikipaedia someone wanted to write a flier marketing blog for Finkelstein with opportunistic endeavors but which falls short of the reality of the past nor the reality up to this time of the wealth of Ancient Near Eastern archaeological evidence that are available. Principle one is that everyone in New York has an American name and a Jewish name. Thus, it is not possible to always guess who is Jewish. Same in the Ancient Near East. One is not going to find the word Joseph in Egypt. Moses is easier with Thut-Moses…. Etc. Thus, Finkelstein’s methodology of walking around searching for the exact name of a character in the Bible does not work in archaeology of Israel. This is the first methodological handicap of that researcher of Tel-Aviv. The hermeneutics of suspicion of Rationalism of the Enlightenment Victorian Period that he was trained in Germany for, caused him to read neo-Welhausenian concepts into every stone, like the parking of all biblical narratives in the time of Josiah. It is an outdated Victorian construct by an Arabist Julius Wellhausen. It does not belong in biblical research. It may work for the Koran, articles of which Wellhausen is known for, or German Literature results, but not for the biblical text.  

Key to Van Wyk comments: Citation from Wikipaedia on Finkelstein’s new book in 2002 with Van Wyk Notes in italics Andala fonts] e.g. [neo-Wellhausen]

Extract starts here……….[see source below]

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, a book published in 2001, discusses the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins and content of the Hebrew Bible. The authors are Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, an archaeologist, historian and contributing editor to Archaeology Magazine.


The methodology applied by the authors is historical criticism [neo-Wellhausen] with an emphasis on archaeology [with an archaeological garb]. Writing in the website of "The Bible and Interpretation", the authors describe their approach as one "in which the Bible is one of the most important artifacts and cultural achievements [but] not the unquestioned narrative framework into which every archaeological find must be fit [negative hermeneutics of suspicion to start off with. He should never have studied in Germany]." Their main contention is that:[1] archaeological analysis of the patriarchal [Abraham and Cuneiform Studies e.g. Distanzeangaben article and Joseph and the Kahun Papyri, Joseph and Stela Workshops of the 12th Dynasty], conquest [Hatshepsut research, Thutmosis III 1450 BCE research Romer and the Wente X-rays results, Thutmosis IV research and Amarna texts for the conquest 1410-1405 BCE, Habiru studies], judges [Amenhoteps III and IV, Canaan a squatter country for traders and burocratic economic opportunists even Egyptian colonialism interspersed predating Thutmosis IV, chronology set from two different angles biblically precise], and United Monarchy [Philistine archaeology, Dever archaeology with red-burnished ware] narratives [shows][Chronology is very firm and precise see 1 Kings 6:1-4] that while there is no compelling archaeological evidence for any of them [a subjective synthesis based on an epistemological hermeneutics of suspicion borrowed from Rationalism of Enlightenment scholars like Julius Wellhausen et al], there is clear archaeological evidence that places the stories themselves in a late 7th-century BCE context [thumbology or eisegeses rather than exegesis].

On the basis of this evidence they propose

... an archaeological reconstruction [neo-Wellhausenian German borrowed constructed with pessimistic archaeological garb. As pointed out before by myself, Finkelstein works with the fallacy that what was unearthed is the 100% evidence of the site and thus ‘firmly’ and ‘absolutely’ proves whatever he deems is necessary to prove. Thus, one slice of a cake determines the other seven pieces no eaten. An this is with every site in Israel the case] of the distinct histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, highlighting the largely neglected history of the Omride Dynasty and attempting to show how the influence of Assyrian imperialism in the region set in motion a chain of events that would eventually make the poorer, more remote, and more religiously conservative kingdom of Judah the belated center of the cultic and national hopes of all Israel.

As noted by a reviewer on[2] the approach and conclusions of The Bible Unearthed are not particularly new. Ze'ev Herzog, professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, wrote a cover story for Haaretz in 1999 in which he reached similar conclusions following the same methodology; Herzog noted also that some of these findings have been accepted by the majority of biblical scholars and archaeologists for years and even decades [one million smokers does not prove that smoking does not cause cancer = majority does not prove correctness], even though they have only recently begun to make a dent [due to the brevity culture and its cognitive impact of smartphone using habits] in the awareness of the general public [the flash-flash less focused than a camelion digi-modernist public].[2]

Extract ends here……

Source:  Wikipaedia blog