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When the aging archaeologist has dug his last flake of earth, will he be able to uphold his long-time vow to defend his Christian tradition? He has hoped to find archaeological proof of the biblical kingdom of David-but he has not considered the effect his quest will have on his faith. Paul Gartin is a respected archaeologist. Raised and educated in an environment steeped in fundamentalism and deeply conservative Christianity, his life comes to focus on a quest for archeological evidence supporting the biblical record. Gartin's odyssey takes him to the Middle East, where he encounters the Israel-Palestinian conflict and meets graduate student Martha Eichhorn, a beautiful and intelligent woman who challenges Paul's philosophy and traditional morality. Caught between conservative Christian ideology and scholars' hostility to the idea of biblical archaeology, Paul embarks on an audacious undertaking-to locate physical evidence of the kingdom of David at Khirbet Hamam in the south of Israel. A fundamentalist source that expects his findings to mesh with their beliefs-and has little patience for contradictory evidence-offers him financial support but Paul must decide what to do should his scholarly findings dispute his own faith and ideas of the authority of the Bible. The public seldom sees the struggle within the souls of theologians and religious leaders when they carefully examine the Bible in the light of science. Digger offers a deeply moving account of one man's struggle with faith, traditional religion, and his commitment to science.
About the Author
Born in Washington, DC, James R. Kautz grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland. He received a PhD from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and studied anthropology at the University of Tennessee. Kautz did archaeological fieldwork in Palestine's West Bank, Israel, and Jordan for nine summers between 1966 and 1979. He has taught at Louisiana College, Carson-Newman University, and the University of Tennessee. The author of "Footprints Across the South: Bartram's Trail Revisited," Kautz currently lives in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina.
At the core of this novel is the compelling story of an archaeologist whose findings seemed to be at odds with the biblical narrative about King David. Many readers will identify with his pilgrimage and some will identify further with the resulting academic problems that he encountered in the denominational college where he taught Bible. Kautz writes with first-hand experience from both scenes. His description of the archaeology in Israel/Palestine during the late 1960s brings back especially fond memories. -- J. Maxwell Miller, Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Bible, Emory University and Director of the Archaeological Survey of the Kerak Plateau.
Readers will do their own finding when reading James Kautz’s sweeping novel. They will discover an author with deep and intuitive understandings of both human frailties and possibilities, and one with expert knowledge of archaeology. The characters resonate with life and reality and I cared about what happened to them. So go ahead. Dig into this book. You’ll be surprised at what you find. -- Don Aycock. Minister, writer, and educator living in Florida. www.donaycock.net.
What does it mean to “keep the faith”? When his religious institution attempts to “keep the faith” by circumscribing and policing it, faculty member Paul Gartin has to break free of its theological chokehold. Responding to the rocks and remains of the past and to the voices censored and censured in conservative circles, Paul discovers that ultimate fidelity is a matter of mind, heart, and moral responsibility. For any reader who has been entangled by fundamentalism but who hears the call of life’s larger truths, Digger is a story that speaks to the spirit. -- Danna Nolan Fewell. John Fletcher Hurst Professor of Hebrew Bible, Drew Theological School & Graduate Division of Religion, Drew University