minimalist and maximilist

I was surprised to find this article by Eugene H. Merrill on an evangelical apologetics site. It is a moderate article and contains good information.

This is the way he explains the minimalist and maximalist schools of assessing the historical nature of ancient Israel:

1. Scholars inclined to assign little or no historical or cultural validity to the Old Testament narratives suggest that either those narratives are late, retrospective renditions of traditions that enjoyed wide currency in Israel’s larger milieu, or that the alleged commonalities between the textual evidence from the ANE and the OT are illusory, coincidental, or derived from common stock.

2. On the other hand, conservatives of many varieties have largely embraced the findings of archaeological research and have employed them heuristically, apologetically, or even polemically. Sadly, the extremes of both positions have resulted, in the first case, in an even stronger denial of any independent historical reality to OT texts (a position known as “minimalism”), and in the second case, a naive, uncritical “proof’ of connections between archaeology and the Bible which, in fact, are incorrectly perceived or illegitimately employed to make a case for the reliability of the OT where no such case can be made on those grounds (misguided “maximalism”).

Merrill is probably more conservative than I am, but I share his desire for a way that avoids both disregarding the text and jumping on supposed proofs.

Further down in the article he gives a short summary of several major archeological finds that impact biblical studies.  I felt that he gave a fair evaluation of these.

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About theoutwardquest

I have many interests, but will blog mostly about what I read in the fields of Bible and religion.
This entry was posted in Ancient Israel, Bible and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to minimalist and maximilist

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Reblogged this on James' Ramblings and commented:
    Reblogging for future reference.

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