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William G. Dever is an Americanmarker archaeologist, specialising in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times, who was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizonamarker in Tucson, Arizonamarker, from 1975 to 2002. Dever is a 1955 graduate of Milligan College, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard Universitymarker in 1966.

Dever was Director of the Harvard Semitic Museum-Hebrew Union College Excavations at Gezermarker from 1966-71, 1984 and 1990; Director of the dig at Khirbet el-Kôm and Jebel Qacaqir (West Bank) from 1967-71; Principal Investigator at Tell el-Hayyat excavations (Jordan) 1981-85, and Assistant Director, University of Arizona Expedition to Idalion, Cyprusmarker, 1991, among other excavations.

In retirement, Dever has become a frequent author on questions relating to the historicity of the Bible. He has been scathing in his dismissal of "minimalists" who deny any historical value to the Biblical accounts. However he is far from being a supporter of Biblical literalism either. Instead he has written
I am not reading the Bible as Scripture… I am in fact not even a theist.
My view all along—and especially in the recent books—is first that the biblical narratives are indeed 'stories,' often fictional and almost always propagandistic, but that here and there they contain some valid historical information.
That hardly makes me a 'maximalist.'


and

Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories.
Some things described there really did happen, but others did not.
The Biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the 'larger than life' portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence.


However, Dever is also clear that his historical field should be seen on a much broader canvas than merely how it relates to the Bible:

The most naïve [misconception about Syro-Palestinian archaeology] is that the rationale and purpose of 'biblical archaeology' (and, by extrapolation, Syro-Palestinian archaeology) is simply to elucidate the Bible, or the lands of the Bible


More recently, he has become friendlier to the minimalist position:

Originally I wrote to frustrate the Biblical minimalists; then I became one of them, more or less.


Dr. William G. Dever and Dr. Pamela Gaber joined the faculty at Lycoming Collegemarker in the fall of 2008. Dever was appointed Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, and Gaber, Professor of Archaeology and Judaic Studies.

Dr. Dever had the following comment to make of his move, “For a small college to have so many students majoring in archaeology is unprecedented. To find students who are interested in the discipline and a faculty and administration that are supportive, augurs very well. It was really refreshing to see what a small college with a sense of community, of commitment, and of values was like.”

Publications (selected)



A complete list of Dever's extensive credentials publications is available at: http://nes.web.arizona.edu/DEVER_VITAE_2002.htm

References

  1. Detailed curriculum vitae, University of Arizona. Accessed 2007-09-19.
  2. (interview with four biblical scholars by Hershel Shanks)
  3. [1]



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