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New Article: Sherrard, American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War

Sherrard, Brooke. “Mystical Unification or Ethnic Domination? American Biblical Archeologists’ Responses to the Six-Day War.” Journal of the Bible and its Reception 3.1 (2016): 109-33.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2016-1002

 

Abstract

After the Six-Day War, members of the American Schools of Oriental Research experienced conflict over how and whether to maintain the organization’s policy on political neutrality. This article argues that ASOR members who supported Israel framed their views as theological, lauding the war for achieving a mystical unification of Jerusalem, while members who opposed the war’s outcome responded that appeals to theology and neutrality were being deployed to justify one ethnic group’s domination over another. I present two main examples, George Ernest Wright and Paul Lapp, and connect their scholarly views on objectivity versus relativism to their political views on the conflict. Wright, a biblical theologian, argued the Old Testament was an objective record of a religion revealed by God to the Israelites and defended the slaughter of Canaanites in terms that echoed justifications for Palestinian displacement. Conversely Lapp, who read the Old Testament as a polemical text, overtly connected his perspectivalism to his pro-Palestinian politics. In 1968 Wright clashed with ASOR residents, including Lapp, who protested Israeli plans to reroute a parade through recently captured areas of East Jerusalem. A reading of the correspondence record created after the protest analyzes the political implications of these differing scholarly positions.

 

 

 

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.