Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Name calling

"Thompson (1992a) and Barstad (1996) argue that scholars who support an early date for the origin of Israel (the so-called maximalists) are perpetuating a “myth of Israel” and the “mythical past” of the Hebrew Bible. On the other hand, Oded (2003: 55–56) calls the so-called minimalists “mythographers,” because they propose that the origin of Israel should be dated to late periods (that is, Persian or Hellenistic periods). I do not wish to engage in a diatribe that would not advance the study on the origins of Israel. Name-calling and rhetorical outbursts have done much harm and do not promote progress in this discussion. Much of today’s literature is reactionary and does not advance our understanding. However, the dynamics of engaging a subject from different perspectives can be fruitful and the colorful language of these discussions generates interest."—Efraín Velázquez in Critical Issues in Early Israelite History, page 62

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