Last week I offered some first impressions of Jacob Wright’s excellent MOOC The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future.
The second week’s lecture material has been interesting for two strikingly different reasons. Jacob presents a mediating view between “Minimalists” and “Maximalists”, sensibly taking the best ideas and arguments from both “sides”. Though many conservative viewers will feel in this week’s that he is too ready to ditch the Bible’s account in favour of alternative ways to explain the archaeological data. And therein lies the rub, for although usually careful to present the evidence and arguments that underlie his presentation [my impression was that] here and there at key points the viewer is asked to accept a scholarly consensus or the views of a few named scholars without the evidence being presented. [ Inaccurate example deleted, see comments below.]
The interviews with three scholars about their work on Assyrian imperial intentions, the lemelek seals and the Judean Pillar Figures were excellent at presenting data and reasoning.
I understand that in such a brief course one cannot argue and present evidence for every point, but I suspect that the lectures would carry more people with them if there had been time to lay the foundations more solidly.
For me the formal issue raises questions about my own teaching.