Archeology is the national hobby of Israel, according to an often heard tag. It was intense in the area long before there was a state of Israel, of course. Among other things the Holy Land is mostly stony desert, and thus is a place where, as in nearby Egypt and Mesopotamia, objects last exceptionally long. So the scientific explorer can be as much drawn to the place as the pious one, and the successes of the scientist have an exceptional interest and importance for the pious. The pious person is likely to start behaving like an amateur archeologist, like a collector of arrowheads in America, and the rewards of professional successes ratchet up the fascination. Naturally the pious and the scientific person can be the same; the outstanding digger Nelson Glueck was also an American rabbi. In extreme cases it’s a matter of proving by science the literal truth of the Bible. The Protestant Evangelical tradition, so easily linked to a liberal education...

 
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