THE MINIMALISTS. Since the 1980s, a prominent group of European scholars has insisted that the Hebrew Bible, which they believe was written down only in the Hellenistic period, cannot be used to write a history of ancient Israel. The most vocal of these so-called “minimalist” scholars— Niels Peter Lemch (pictured here) and Thomas Thompson of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and Philip Davies and Keith Whitelam of the University of Sheffield in England—have argued that David and Solomon, as well as most of the figures and events presented in the Bible, were the fanciful literary creations of the Biblical writers, with little if any basis in historical or archaeological fact.