Garfinkel’s study, published in June in the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology, was greeted with reams of skepticism by many fellow archaeologists, who claim that his conclusions are based on assumptions and poorly interpreted data.I have been watching this story for a while. This article has a good presentation of the thesis, the implications, and reactions by other archaeologists.
He does not aspire to fully validate the biblical account, which describes the United Monarchy of the Israelites as ranging from Egypt to the Euphrates River (2 Samuel 8). Garfinkel maintains that the territory David and Solomon ruled over was small, with borders lying maximum a day’s walk from Jerusalem. But a kingdom it was nonetheless, marked by a bureaucracy and standardized urban planning, the archaeologist concludes.
It would be nice to find some informative lapidary royal inscriptions of David or Solomon to go with the archaeology. One can hope. But in any case, as the article points out, the range of possibilities being discussed by archaeologists for the reality of the United Monarch has narrowed considerably.
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