Abstract

It has become fashionable in recent decades for biblical scholars, sometimes termed "biblical minimalists," to deny thoroughly the historicity of virtually all biblical narratives. 2 Kings 3 has not escaped this trend to repudiate reconstructions that harmonize the biblical account with extrabiblical data, in this case with the Mesha Inscription (Moabite Stone). Rather, such minimalists label 2 Kings 3 "historical fiction" with the emphasis on fiction and see little genuine history in the chapter. This paper examines the arguments of biblical minimalists concerning 2 Kings 3 in comparison with the Mesha Inscription and presents what can be termed a "historical maximalist" response for this story, evaluating the arguments of the minimalists while providing a positive historical reconstruction of this period on "maximalist" assumptions. It is concluded that a reconstruction that takes both 2 Kings 3 and the Mesha Inscription as essentially accurate history is possible, and that the objections raised by historical minimalists to such a reconstruction, though not without weight, are by no means conclusive. Hence, historical maximalism for 2 Kings 3 appears to be a viable option.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.