As related by the Associated Press’s Matti Friedman:
An Israeli archaeologist said Monday that ancient fortifications recently excavated in Jerusalem date back 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era.
If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century B.C.
That’s a key point of dispute among scholars, because it would match the Bible’s account that the Hebrew kings David and Solomon ruled from Jerusalem around that time.
While some Holy Land archaeologists support that version of history — including the archaeologist behind the dig,— others posit that David’s monarchy was largely mythical and that there was no strong government to speak of in that era….
The mention of the theory that “David’s monarchy was largely mythical” raises the notion that the king himself would likewise be “largely mythical,” i.e., unhistorical. The fact that this find is apparently being used to prove the existence of David and Solomon demonstrates that their existence has been in doubt, especially during the past few decades of serious archaeological and scientific examination and inquiry in biblical lands.
Although I contend that major biblical characters such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua and David are indeed “largely mythical,” a main reason I reserve some historicity for certain biblical characters and events is because much of the Temple mount, for example, has not yet been excavated, and the Bible wasn’t written in a void. There were people writing it, and they came from somewhere, including a culture that had developed somewhat. It wasn’t the supernatural megapower of the OT, but it wasn’t quite caveman either, as Israel has been occupied by humans for many thousands of years.
However, before we jump to the conclusion that this discovery indicates the biblical accounts of this period are true, we need to keep in mind several facts, including that the name “David” – among others, including “Saul” – can be found on Canaanite tablets at Ebla, some six centuries prior to the supposed existence of King David. Any king by that name, therefore, could still be a mere petty thane who was styled after a tribal god, rather than the great hero with the vast empire as depicted in the Bible. In other words, the Bible remains “proved” to be some history with much myth, fable and hyperbole thrown in.
Moreover, a “largely mythical” David could not be the progenitor of a “historical” Jesus, as asserted in the New Testament. That seems to be a fact largely overlooked by Bible-minimalists.
Sources & Further Reading