A reader to my article on the discovery of David’s palace raised several good issues about the implications of Professor Mazar’s discovery. I thank him for his comments. His comments deserve to be addressed in such way that it will allow for a broad discussion of the issues raised in his reply to my article. I invite you to read my article and then read his response.
First, any archaeological discovery requires interpretation. A careful stratigraphic study of the site can provide invaluable clues that can aid the process of identifying and dating the findings. Professor Mazar’s findings provide a good case for a 10th century B.C. date for the site.
Second, those whose ideological views are focused on denying a historical place for Israel as a people will not accept the validity of the findings. They will interpret the findings in such a way that they will eliminate any possibility that the site was related to David because in their minds, David never existed.
Finally, I recognize that the language about the Palestinians in my article was a little vague and that was deliberate. My information came from my reading of several articles on Professor Mazar’s discovery. One of those articles was written by Steven Erlanger, “King David’s Palace Is Found, Archaeologist Says,” published in The New York Times on August 5, 2005. In that article, Mr. Erlanger quoted Palestinian officials who dismiss Israel’s presence in Jerusalem as a myth.
I sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians. I believe that both the Palestinians and the Israelis must solve their problems and learn how to live together as two nations in a community of nations. However, a solution to the Palestinian problem will never happen as long as people insist on denying thousands of years of history by declaring that the existence of biblical Israel is a myth created to justify conquest and occupation.
Again, I thank the reader for his comments. I invite others to join us in this dialogue about this important topic.
Claude F. Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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