Israel Finkelstein is professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University and has codirected the excavations at Megiddo since 1994. Recently, he was the recipient of an award that provides a fund in excess of $4 million for a scientific study of the history of ancient Israel. Editor Hershel Shanks and Professor Finkelstein discuss, among other things, whether or not there was an Exodus from Egypt.
Hershel Shanks: Israel, I know that you are not a Biblical minimalist, and you’re not a Biblical maximalist either. You regard yourself as a centrist. But many people refer to you as a Biblical minimalist. How do you account for that?
Israel Finkelstein: To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I believe that I’m indeed in the center. I never take a sweeping view on Biblical history. You’ll never catch me saying, “Everything is not historical” or “Everything is historical.” For me, there’s never a black-and-white situation.