archaeology, biblical archaeology, Palestinian archaeology, brass plates


Contemporary Palestinian archaeology has produced two major threats to traditional interpretations of the history of ancient Israel. Scientific discomfort with the exodus story as an explanation for the sudden population expansion in southern Palestine at the beginning of the Iron Age (c.1200 BCE) has led to a wide variety of theories about how these Israelites could have been drawn from existing populations in the general area. And a glaring mismatch between the biblical glorification of David and Solomon’s “empire” and disparagement of the northern kingdom combined with the archaeological finding that the cities of the northern kingdom were far larger and more advanced than Jerusalem and the south provided support for the widely embraced theory that everything from Genesis through Kings has been revised to promote the political and religious preeminence of Judah above the other tribes. The first effort is answerable in ways that preserve the exodus account, which is fundamental to the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible. The second does fit the archaeology and contemporary textual interpretations. It also provides stronger grounding for the 1 2 hypothesis that Nephi’s Brass Plates could have been produced by an ancient Manassite scribal school of which he and his father were highly trained members.

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Working Paper

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Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science

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Full Professor