Kathleen Kenyon

By UCL Institute of Archaeology – Pye, Elizabeth. “From the Archives: Women of the Early Institute”. Archaeology International 18: 131–133. DOI:10.5334/ai.1817., CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90485463

Twenty years ago—in the third issue of BAR—I wrote an article entitled “Kathleen Kenyon’s Anti-Zionist Politics—Does It Affect Her Work?” The article shocked and angered many in the academic world, which was not accustomed to this kind of journalism—or rather was not accustomed to asking this kind of question in public.

We have come a long way in 20 years. What I suggested may have been implicit in Kenyon’s work has become very nearly explicit in a paper delivered by Keith W. Whitelam at the Annual Meeting last November. A professor of religious studies at the University of Stirling, in Scotland, Whitelam accuses Biblical scholars and archaeologists, especially Israeli Zionists, of distorting ancient history in order to suppress the history of the ancient Palestinians who were there long before the Israelites.

Apparently Whitelam’s paper was considered so significant that it was delivered in one of the very few sessions sponsored jointly by the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Academy of Religion and the American Schools of Oriental Research. Almost all of the other talks are sponsored by one or the other, sometimes by two, but only on the rarest of occasions by all three.

Excerpted from Postscript: Keith Whitelam Claims Bible Scholars Suppress Palestinian History in Favor of Israelites, in “‘Annual Miracle’ Visits Philadelphia,” BAR, March/April 1996.