If there were a boxing fight between the two premier heavy-weight archaeological fighters today, they might be introduced something like this in the ‘ring’.

“In THIS corner, disregarding any account from the Old Testament as genuinely historical, giving pre-eminence to pottery sherds and radio carbon-14 dating, and always skeptical of anyone trying to prove the Bible is true . . . the Minimalist!”

“And in this corner, wanting desperately to believe that the Biblical record is historical-literal and can be proven to be true based on archaeological evidence, skeptical of radio carbon-14 dating, and giving pre-emninence to history,the Bible, poetry and literature . . . the Literalist!”


And the announcer would continue, “All right boys, I want a clean fight. . . .” However, the fight seldom is ever clean, because so much is at stake for both fighters.

To get a good sense for the drama and the meaning behind the fight see this excellent article in The Smithsonian Magazine online to better understand the difference between how minimalists and literalists approach doing archaeology.

Read the full Smithsonian Magazine article