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Bible authenticity

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanShevat 22, 5771
329
Question
ן I have recently returned from a month long trip to Israel. During that month I have been touring different places in the country. A few days of our trip were a guided tour of different archeology sites. Since our return, I have been troubled by some of the things we saw and heard. How does the rabbinical institution cope with the contradiction there is between the bible and archeology of Israel? The controversial topics are varied: david and Solomon, the conquering and occupation of the land of Israel, and many more. On one hand, we believe anything written in the bible is absolute truth, on the other hand- there or facts we could feel and see that contradict the text. Thank you.
Answer
I also guided tours in Israel for many years and I never found anything which was contradictory to the Torah. Quite the contrary, I found the places I visited and guided strengthening to faith. What can be more exciting than studying Bible in school for so many years and then you come to a certain place and you say to yourself "Wow! Am I actually standing in the same place where Abraham, Samuel, David etc. stood?" This is the type of special experience that you can get only in Israel. Unfortunately, there are those who have been misguided and are ashamed or live in denial of our heritage and wish to find contradictions. From your question, it seems that your guides unfortunately fell under that category. Within the academic world you can find those guided by preconceived notions of lack of faith in the Torah. This outlook then taints their interpretation of archeological findings. At the same time there are G-d fearing academics who come from a background of faith in the Torah and find strength in their faith by their findings. (The same is true in many other fields in the academic world) There are many professional licensed guides who give that exact feeling of faith. Perhaps for your next trip you should seek those types of guides to correct your experience. So it's not so much of a question of how the rabbinical institution deals with seeming contradictions, but how the rabbinical institution can further strengthen more Jews in their faith so people do not look for contradictory conclusions.
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