Biblical Archaeology vs Arthurian Archaeology
- Biblical Archaeology versus Arthurian Archaeology
Joachim Martillo, Boston - ThorsProvoni @ aol.com
Biblical Archaeology is as much a serious scientific and academic
field as Arthurian archaeology based on the legends of King Arthur
Eric H. Cline, who is chair of the department of classical and Semitic
languages and literature at the George Washington University, writes
the following in "Raiders of the faux ark" (Boston Globe, September
30, 2007, http://tinyurl.com/2h67q7):
During the past century or so, archeologists have found the first
mention of Israel outside the Bible, in an Egyptian inscription carved
by the Pharaoh Merneptah in the year 1207 BC. They have found mentions
of Israelite kings, including Omri, Ahab, and Jehu, in neo-Assyrian
inscriptions from the early first millennium BC. And they have found,
most recently, a mention of the House of David in an inscription from
northern Israel dating to the ninth century BC. These are conclusive
pieces of evidence that these people and places once existed and that
at least parts of the Bible are historically accurate.
The use of old names in a compendium of legendary material proves
neither the historicity of Biblical Israel nor of Arthur's Camelot.
Cline later asks the following question.
If so, who was there first and to whom does the land [of Canaan]
really belong today? Does it matter? It does to many Palestinians, who
exert a (dubious) claim as descendants of the Canaanites and
Jebusites, and to many Israelis, who exert a similar claim based on
their own understanding of their ancestors' history.
The absence of the "dubious" qualifier with regard to Israeli claims
is striking. Non-biblical archeology, diachronic linguistics,
historical texts, and onomastics are completely clear on the issue.
Modern Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Greco-Roman
Palestinian populations that included Judeans, Galileans, Idumeans,
Nabateans, Philistines et. al. just as modern Syrians and Egyptians
are descendants of ancient Syrians and Egyptians.
Likewise, the archeological, linguistic, historical textual and
onomastic evidence is crystal clear on the origin of the modern
Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish population. It descends from
Eastern European and Southern Russian populations that started to
practice various forms of Judaism in late antiquity and the early
Middle Ages. Israeli archaeologists that want to learn about their own
origins should dig in Europe.
Cline's article focuses on trivialities. The misuse of "academic"
Biblical Archaeology by European settler colonists and their American
supporters to justify the theft of Palestine from the native
population has far less connection to genuine scholarship and has
resulted in far more evil than the mildly ridiculous claims of "pop"
Biblical Archaeologists, whom Cline criticizes.
Surge in students studying Arabic outstrips supply of teachers
By Tali Yahalom, USA TODAY
A shortage of Arabic-language teachers across the country is shedding
light on a classic economics question: What happens when there is
plenty of demand and not enough supply?
Since 9/11, the number of students interested in the Middle Eastern
language has been skyrocketing. More than 20,000 people in the USA
enrolled in an Arabic-language higher-education program in 2006,
double the number who signed up from 1998 to 2002, according to
projections from a study the Modern Language Association expects to
release this fall.
"Other languages will show an increase (in the fall report), but the
only language that might be as dramatic as Arabic might be Chinese,"
says association executive director Rosemary Feal.
Interest has also trickled down to the pre-collegiate level as
secondary schools and summer language camps surface across the
But generating student interest and enrollment is not the problem.
"There's definitely more demand for courses than there are qualified
instructors," Feal says. "There's no doubt."
Education experts agree that Arabic is a difficult language to learn,
more so than French or Spanish, the traditional alternatives.
Not surprisingly, the student dropout rate is high.
"We estimate that 20,000 students are studying Arabic at the
collegiate level, but not even 5% are likely to graduate with
functional speaking proficiency," says R. Kirk Belnap, director of
the National Resource Center at Brigham Young University in Provo,
In an attempt to fix the problem, programs are sprouting to provide
Arabic lessons to younger students.
More than 100 public, Islamic and other private schools nationwide
now offer pre-collegiate Arabic-language programs of three to five
sessions a week throughout the academic year, according to the
National Capital Language Resource Center.
Doing so does not come without risks, however. New York City this
week opened its Khalil Gibran International Academy, which requires
that its students study Arabic language. But the school has been
greeted with protests by some who consider it a training ground for
radical Islam. Others defend the school and say it helps meet the
need for more Arabic speakers in the USA.
This summer, STARTALK, a BYU-sponsored summer camp, offered a full
session in Arabic for the first time in its 46-year history. This
move represents further measures by the National Security Language
Initiative President Bush's 2006 effort to allot $114 million
toward the study of Arabic, Farsi, Hindi and Urdu to increase the
learning of "critical" foreign languages. Minnesota's Concordia
Language Villages recently completed its second annual Arabic
Whether creative and younger classrooms are the solutions is yet to
be determined. The dropout rate at the K-12 level is 75%, says Dora
Johnson of the Center for Applied Linguistics, an organization based
in Washington, D.C., that researches and promotes the teaching and
learning of languages.
But despite these numbers, academics say that there is potential for
"I don't think they're frustrated," University of Texas Arabic
professor Mahmoud al-Batal says of his "self-selected" Arabic
students. "This is a national challenge for us. The most important
thing is to provide teacher training for all those involved and
(create) more programs (overseas) and intensive programs in the U.S."
Concordia's director, Christine Schulze, adds: "Arabic is a language
in great demand in many areas of society. People are more
interested, curious and want to reach out."
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