Posted By MSH on May 6, 2011
For those unfamiliar with the “minimalist” vs. “maximalist” debate over biblical archaeology, the former basically believed the OT has little or no historical value, as it was entirely written during or after the exile. Maximalists, on the other hand, disagree, but on what I’d call a continuum of optimism about the biblical text as a historical source. Anyone who thinks the OT is not entirely late and contains actual history is a maximalist of some kind. Maximalists range from those who would take every jot and tittle of the biblical text as conveying real-time history to those who embrace portions. The term ought *not* be equated with any notion of inerrancy. They aren’t synonyms.
The latest brouhaha in the field of biblical archaeology is still Khirbet Qeiyafa. Maximalists have hailed it as the death of minimalism. This recent BAR article by Y. Garfinkel explains why. For an up-to-date summary on the fight, you could also try this post by Todd Bolen.