New Article: Sherrard, American Biblical Archaeologists and Zionism

Sherrard, Brooke. “American Biblical Archaeologists and Zionism: How Differing Worldviews on the Interaction of Cultures Affected Scholarly Constructions of the Ancient Past.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 84.1 (2016): 234-59.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfv063

 

Abstract

A major critique of American biblical archaeologists has focused on biblical presuppositions they brought to their work, whereas Israeli archaeologists have been critiqued for promoting Jewish ethno-nationalism through their work. I maintain, however, that American archaeologists also participated in the debate over Zionism, implicitly (and not necessarily consciously) through writings about the ancient past, and explicitly through political activism. This article focuses on contemporaries William Foxwell Albright and Millar Burrows, who disagreed about Zionism. Burrows, who opposed Zionism, characterized the ancient world in terms of cultural interaction and fluidity, while Albright, who favored Zionism, characterized the ancient world in terms of rigid ethnic boundaries. Burrows published a book about Palestinian refugees; thus, his political involvement was no secret. Albright’s political involvement in favor of a Jewish state, which he later denied, is reconstructed here from archival materials. The terms of this debate still resonate, as demonstrated by the current controversy over archaeological theory at the City of David site in Jerusalem.

 

 

 

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