Israel Finkelstein, who teaches at Tel Aviv University, belongs to the dying breed of minimalist archaeologists who don’t really believe the Bible contains accurate accounts. As one of Israel’s foremost archaeologists, Finkelstein has played a key role in shaping modern Israel’s views of its ancient history. For example, Finkelstein tells us that archaeology reveals King David to have been little more than a local sheikh of a nomadic tribe living in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
Though archaeological discoveries repeatedly challenge the minimalistic approach, those belonging to this school of thought continue to push that which has become increasingly difficult to prove.
Finkelstein’s latest excavation is taking place at the biblical site of Kiryat Ye’arim, where one now finds the Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church on the outskirts of the village of Abu Ghosh. There, Finkelstein seeks to prove that the church was constructed over an artificial mound that served as a cultic center for a strategic border settlement belonging to the northern Kingdom of Israel.