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Was Saul real king of Israel? page 2

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Date published: 1/4/2003


It's true that archaeologists haven't found great material remains from the time of David, but it's a "blunder" to expect these when the Bible itself "makes modest building claims for David," Byrne said.

And if we "curtail our expectations" on the material culture that might have been left behind, he said, there's no big conflict between the archaeological record and the biblical account of David.

Next, Walter Aufrecht of the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, dismissed as "bogus" the arguments biblical leftists raise against the most important David inscription of recent times.

In 1993, Israeli archaeologist Avraham Biran reported an inscription at the site of ancient Dan that he said reads "House of David," indicating a kingly line.

Readings are not open and shut because Hebrew used no vowels, and some skeptics proposed other translations. However, Aufrecht argued that the relevant experts are not Bible theorists or historians but epigraphers (specialists in deciphering ancient inscriptions), including many experts in his audience, and they mostly back Biran.

Finally, Avraham Faust of Israel's Bar-Ilan University offered a circumstantial case from southern Samaria for the biblical setting. He said that in the late 11th century B.C., many rural villages were abandoned, indicating concentration in central towns and formation of a more centralized state.

"These changes did not just happen," he argued. Some "agent" was involved. Archaeology doesn't give that agent's name but "in general lines" the archaeology supports the Bible, he said.

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