With a grant of more than $4 million, the project described at the end of Israel Finkelstein’s interview will be a unique scientific effort to reconstruct the history of ancient Israel. Never before has a project of this complexity been undertaken with such substantial funding and such an array of scientific researchers.
The grant proposal notes that we have “very few real-time historical records” relating to the history of ancient Israel. Moreover, the proposal notes, “the biblical testimony [was] written a long time after the events described (if not mythical) took place.” The proposal also recognizes “the strong theological agenda of both the original authors [of the Biblical text] and many modern scholars.”
While Biblical archaeology has “provided critical evidence for the material culture of Ancient Israel ... until recently it has been dominated by a conservative interpretation of the biblical text and was not given a true independent role in constructing Ancient Israel’s history,” the grant proposal explains.
In contrast, “The exact and life sciences are not restricted by these preconceptions ... Archaeological science,” the proposal asserts, “is the wave of the future.”