This concern with objectivity leads historians to focus on data that can be verified, and not simply to assume that whatever is said in ancient texts, including Scripture, is exactly what happened from some supposed objective point of view.It is this approach in dealing with ancient texts as only possible sources of historical information awaiting verification from other sources that has led to some of the conflict over historical questions in Scriptures.

archaeological data dating patriarchs-21

The particular ways of examining ancient documents that came to be called historical-critical investigation and the emergence of archaeology and related fields shifted the historical questions into a new arena.

In terms of the Bible, prior to the 19th century, Scripture was basically accepted for what it appeared to say without careful examination of the details of how things were said, or how the biblical recounting of history related to historical sources outside the Bible.

The new methods of historical investigation forced Scripture to be viewed from both of those perspectives.

Historians are primarily concerned with objective data, with determining "what really happened." The idea of objectivity, that history needs to be viewed in terms of verifiable data apart from perceptions, later interpretations of events, or even manufactured history or legend, is a basic assumption in doing historical investigation.

However, historians are quick to point out that total objectivity is not really possible since everyone brings certain perceptions and points of view to such tasks.

So, there is the recognition that all history writing is a matter of interpretation within certain assumptions.

However, the historian works to identify and understand the perspectives and points of view that lie within historical documents, at the same time that they try to identify and understand their own point of view that allows them to see the evidence in certain ways.

Dennis Bratcher Fixing the date of the exodus has proven to be one of those contentious areas of biblical study that has produced two opposing views.

As with many biblical historical issues, the two views are more a clash of how people view Scripture and differing methods of study based on those views than they are a result of conflicting interpretation of the historical evidence.