Talk About Circular Logic!

The busy bees in the Haifa University Press Office are churning out the overblown press releases again!  

From the University of Haifa Office of Communications and Media Relations:

Khirbet Qeiyafa identified as biblical “Neta’im”

Has another mystery in the history of Israel been solved? Prof. Gershon Galil of the Department of Bible Studies at the University of Haifa has identified Khirbet Qeiyafa as “Neta’im”, which is mentioned in the book of Chronicles. “The inhabitants of Neta’im were potters who worked in the king’s service and inhabited an important administrative center near the border with the Philistines,” explains Prof. Galil…

For the rest of this press release, click here.

*   *   *

Am I really getting this straight?  Professor Gershon Galil “creatively” translates an ostracon as a 10th century version of a biblical morality/social justice text and he uses it to prove 1.) the Bible (sort of) began to be written in the time of David and that 2.) it proves that more or less everything the Bible has to say about David’s realm (huge kingdom, specialized services, extensive literacy, etc.) are historically reliable. [See Jan 8 post Hallelujah or Caveat Emptor?]   

Newly Discovered Photo of Ruler of Neta’im

Now he uses a passage from the Books of Chronicles (date of composition uncertain, but certainly no one dates this adaptation of the Books of Kings any time even close to the time of David) to identify the site of the discovery of the ostracon with Neta’im, a Judean town listed in the Book of Chronicles description of the time of King David.

This Judean town, according to Chronicles, was reportedly known for its potters, thus according to Galil proving 1.) that the inhabitants were in fact Judean at the time of David and 2.) that the mention of specialized potters suggests a complex division of labor within a complex (Davidic) state.  

So let me see if I get the whole picture of what is going on here:  The Bible provides the historical background about David’s kingdom that is used to interpret this site.  And then the interpreted site is used to prove that the description of David’s kingdom is historically true.   

Is anyone else getting dizzy?



2 thoughts on “Talk About Circular Logic!

    • I react because this kind of “scholarship” has enormous ideological influence outside academia. Like the (academically) discredited theories behind racism and sexism, it still must be fought, contradicted, and argued against constantly.

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