Out of Egypt

Lee R. Martin lmartin at vol.com
Mon Mar 26 11:20:03 EST 2001

Dear Samuel,
Much of what you say is true, but you seem to be afflicted with "scholaritis," the mistaken belief that scholars can be "objective."
First, the construction of ancient history will always involve interpretation of the evidence.  Unlike mathematics, biolology, physics, and other sciences, history cannot be placed into controlled environments and tested by repeated experimentation.  
Second, every interpretation involves preunderstandings, presuppositions, etc.
Thirdly, no act of interpretation can be done dispassionately.  
No historian is dispassionate.  He/she brings a belief system to the act of interpreting historical evidence.  Modern historians cannot even agree on Christopher Columbus or Abraham Lincoln.  It is no wonder that there are disagreements on ancient history.

Samuel Payne wrote:
  We know a good deal more now about who (for example) King Arthur was and was not than people who lived in the Middle Ages did. Why should it be different with the Bible? Historical research has come a long way - but it has to be applied without preconceived dogmas, like any other scientific exercise. After all, the Exodus account was itself written several hundred years after the date at which the events are recounted as taking place. The political and national motives for embellishment are self-evident. Historians now are a priori more likely than people writing under the monarchy or in Babylonian exile to be able to look at the evidence dispassionately. But when we desperately WANT the "evidence" to corroborate something close to our hearts, we cloud our scientific objectivity. This is a critical, scientific List.

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