Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Atheists Need To Learn A Lot About Biblical Archaeology, And In The Meantime They Need To STFU About It

Whenever there's a story about Biblical archaeology a bunch of nimwits come out of the woodwork, attacking things with which the story has nothing to do: "Just because Jerusalem exists doesn't mean Jesus existed, any more than the existence of London means that Harry Potterexists." "Manhattan is real, but that doesn't mean that Spider-Manis." "There's no more evidence for the existence of Moses or Jesus or Nazareth than there is for Fred Flintstoneor Bedrock."

For one thing, it's always Harry Potter and Spider-Man and the Flintstones with these guys. This should give you a great big honkin' clue about these New Atheists' cultural reference-points, and their level of intellectual sophistication. You never hear them say something like "Ancient artifacts don't mean Jesus existed, any more than the V-2 rocket means that Tyrone Slothropreally caught a glimpse of Pirate Prentice" or "The existence of Paris doesn't mean that Bernardspent a night with Olivier." It seems that they're grown-ups reading novels written for children and comic books -- if, that is, I'm not giving them entirely too much credit as readers, and they actually only know Harry and Spidey from the movies. You're not going to catch these guys quoting Ovidin Latin or Dantein either Italian or Latin, or even Popein English, cause they've kinda got their heads up their asses.

More to the point in this particular case, you'll never hear them quote Finkelsteinor Dever,because they've never read them, although they will often drop Finkelstein's name, because they've heard, contrary to the truth, that Finkelstein is in sympathy with their positions concerning history and the Bible, and is as bitterly opposed to Biblical archaeology as they are. That's right: they go on and on about how horrible and reactionary and superstitious Biblical archaeology is, and they claim that Finkelstein is on their side in this matter, and they don't have a blessed clue that Israel Finkelstein is actually The. Most. Prominent. Biblical. Archaeologist. In. The. World.

They rail against Biblical archaeology without having any idea what it is. A century ago most educated people still assumed that Moses was an historical figure and that there was an Exodus and that centuries before Moses, there really had been an Abraham. Today no educated person assumes that Abraham is historical, and rather few still assume that Moses is. What brought about this change, what was it which educated people about these things? Why, it was the discoveries of Biblical archaeology, of course.

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