Sunday, August 21, 2005

David's Kingdom

Another refutation of the approach of Al-Quds University archeologist Hani Nur el_Din's response to the possible finding of David's Palace.
As Al-Quds University archeologist Hani Nur el-Din put it to The New York Times, not only Mazar's work, but all of biblical archeology was but an effort by Israeli archeologists "to fit historical evidence into a biblical context."

Now first of all, one wonders what actually is wrong with seeking physical evidence for a textual echo; if that is not a legitimate intellectual endeavor, what is? Indeed, if anyone in this bizarre corner of our conflict is abusing science it is Prof. Nur el-Din, who rather than debate prefers to discredit an entire discipline whose findings threaten his political outlook.

Following in the footsteps of Yasser Arafat's memorable insistence at Camp David, that there never were Jewish temples where the rest of the world agrees they stood, Nur el-Din now says that biblical archeologists "have a button and they want to make a suit out of it."

Just what is so threatening about a finding like Mazar's is obvious. If science validates the texts about the Davidic kingdom's size, might and sway, then Israel can boast a claim to this land in general, and to its historic capital in particular, that Palestinian nationalism cannot match, at least chronologically.
More on this topic here and here.

Asa_El goes onto explain the importance of David theologically to the Jews.

Martin Peretz also weighs into the fray with some political perspective on the situation.

I suppose what the Arabs are also thinking of are future implications. From their point of view -- the future division of Jerusalem. Because no one is going to want to include land in a division that was once David's palace.

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