You’ve still got time — I’m in the Ridgedale public library, and Hector Avalos is getting ready to give his talk on “How archaeology killed biblical history”…come join the crowd if you’re somewhere in the Twin Cities area.
You’re too late now! I saw several familiar faces at the talk, and there was a huge crowd — Minnesota Atheists has to be growing, because every meeting I go to is larger than the last one. We got a good discussion of the increasingly evident failure of archaeology to back up any of the claims of the Bible. Whereas once upon a time, serious scholars argued that portions of the Bible actually echoed real historical events (and even today, many less informed evangelical/fundamentalist Christians still do), virtually all of it is considered ancient myth-making nowadays. No Exodus. No empire of Israel spanning a big chunk of the Middle East. No Solomonic fortress building. No Solomon. No David. Quite possibly no Jesus, and definitely no primary sources describing his existence. I thought the comparison of Solomon and David to King Arthur quite apt — they were inventions after the fact, legends built up to illustrate beliefs about a past golden age. It was subject matter that is quite different from my usual approach to debunking religion, so it was useful stuff … and I picked up copies of Fighting Words: The Origins Of Religious Violence(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) and his latest, The End of Biblical Studies(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), so I can do a bit more digging into the details.
Hector Avalos gets up into the Twin Cities now and then (his drive from Iowa is about the same length as mine from Morris), and if you get an opportunity to hear him speak, I recommend it!