>Facts on the Ground: A Review

>For those readers following the case of Nadia Abu el-Haj, Jim David la has a good review of her book, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).

Jim’s review is very perceptive and points the strengths (not many) and the weaknesses of her argument. Jim’s conclusion is very telling:

Facts on the Ground makes some interesting observations about how nationalism and politics have fed into and fed off of Israeli archaeology. But these observations are offered in the context of an extreme perception of Israel as a colonial state, and I suspect that, whatever readers think of this viewpoint, the book’s tendenz is so transparent that no one’s mind will be changed one way or another by reading it. When it talks about things I know about, it consistently slants the presentation of the evidence according to this tendenz so that the conclusions are predictable and not very interesting. This book makes no contribution to the archaeology of ancient Palestine or what it can tell us about the history of ancient Israel. Others can decide whether the book makes a contribution in some other area.

Read the review by visiting PaleoJudaica.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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