Biblical Archaeology

John t

Active member
What I exclude is bible thumpers trying to manipulate archeology to suit their bible beliefs.

What you fail to understand is that the things in the ground conform to the things that are in the Bible.

Since you are so quick to vilify and name-call Christians, I call on you to provide ONE instance where "archeology is manipulated to suit Bible beliefs".

Come on, now. YOU made the accusation, now provide the example to back up your belief.
 

BJ Bear

Active member
What I exclude is bible thumpers trying to manipulate archeology to suit their bible beliefs.
So what you include in your measure of your reality is non Bible thumpers trying to manipulate archaeology to suit their non Bible beliefs?
 

En Hakkore

Active member
What you fail to understand is that the things in the ground conform to the things that are in the Bible.
So what you include in your measure of your reality is non Bible thumpers trying to manipulate archaeology to suit their non Bible beliefs?
I feel compelled to present a mediating view between the dichotomous one currently being bounced back and forth in this thread.

John, you and I go back many years on this forum and you are aware of both the seriousness with which I approach the biblical texts and that I have no need of an inerrant Bible to expose, for example, someone like Joseph Smith for the con artist he was.

BJ, if we interacted before our brief but pleasant exchange on the topic of film history, it has slipped my mind and I apologize, but I trust you got enough of a sense there of my general approach to know that it is a respectful and thoughtful one.

The idea that the archaeological data fully comports with the pertinent biblical texts is incorrect, however popular the notion may be within apologetic circles. Artefacts dug out of the ground do not speak for themselves, but must be interpreted... if one is hostile toward the Bible, this will influence that interpretive process, but the same can be said if one approaches the data set with an exalted view of this same text --- while we may never be able to fully set aside respective biases, the attempt to do so is important or else we see only that which we want to see and remain blind to any alternatives. Where would we be in our understanding of the universe or health care if we held tenaciously to traditions about a flat earth around which astral bodies rotated or that malevolent entities caused physical maladies? Religious faith survived those paradigm shifts and should be able to withstand others, provided its source is in a being beyond rather than in a text cobbled together by fallible humans.

With respect to archaeology and the Bible, one area where there is conflict concerns the settlement of the land by the ancient Israelites. According to the book of Joshua, the Israelites were an external invading force that swiftly destroyed a number of Canaanite cities under the leadership of the book's eponymous hero --- this model is not supported by the collective archaeological data. After an extensive review of the evidence, Dever concludes: "There was no statistically significant destruction of Canaan or mass slaughter of its inhabitants at the end of the Late Bronze Age, even with Philistine invasions" (189). This can be demonstrated by comparing the three 'flashpoint' cities of Jericho, Ai and Hazor -- all three of which are claimed destroyed by Joshua's invading force (see Josh 6:24; 8:19 and 11:11 respectively) -- to each other in terms of their destruction layers.

Jericho suffered a destruction about 1550 BCE and was subsequently abandoned, remaining so during the thirteenth and twelfth centuries (Laughlin 160; Dever 152, 185), the later portion of which being the period during which the Israelites first emerge in the archaeological record (Dever 231). Ai was violently destroyed around 2400 BCE and remained uninhabited for over a thousand years, finally being resettled in the middle of the thirteenth century and then abandoned about a hundred or so years later with no evidence of further destruction (Laughlin 18; Dever 162-63, 184). Hazor suffered two violent destructions, one around 1500 BCE and another around 1200 BCE, the period between the destructions identified as a renaissance of the earlier city with numerous Canaanite temples and a palace (Laughlin 143; Dever 95). The violent falls of all three cities cannot be synchronized within the space of a generation (at best only two if one uses the earlier destruction of Hazor, which creates another set of problems); there is a serious conflict here vis-à-vis the account in Joshua.

I will cite at some length Collins' evaluation of the aforementioned archaeological and textual data (187):

If the cities of Canaan had been violently destroyed, there should be evidence that could be found by the archaeologists. The leader in this endeavor was William Foxwell Albright. He and his colleagues believed that the biblical account was essentially correct and could be supported by archaeological evidence... however, the attempt to corroborate the biblical account by archaeological research backfired. There was indeed extensive upheaval in Canaan in the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth and twelfth centuries B.C.E.), the presumed time of the conquest. But the archaeological evidence does not match the biblical account of the conquest...

Neither [Jericho nor Ai] was a walled city in the Late Bronze period. Of nearly twenty identifiable sites that were captured by Joshua or his immediate successors according to the biblical account, only two, Hazor and Bethel, have yielded archaeological evidence of destruction at the appropriate period...

Archaeology is not an infallible science, and its results are always open to revision in light of new excavations, but a scholar can only make judgments based on the best evidence available at the moment. In light of the available evidence, we must conclude that the account of the conquest in Joshua is largely, if not entirely, fictitious.


The above is not intended to be inflammatory and it may bring some Christians comfort to know that the genocides narrated in Joshua were never divinely ordered or carried out, at least not by the Israelites --- the destruction layers themselves attest to violence in the ancient world, as today, and this should somberly be kept in mind, in any case.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Works cited:
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press, 2004)
Dever, William G. Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah (SBL Press, 2017)
Laughlin, John C.H. Fifty Major Cities of the Bible: From Dan to Beersheba (Routledge Key Guides; Routledge, 2006)
 

BJ Bear

Active member
I feel compelled to present a mediating view between the dichotomous one currently being bounced back and forth in this thread.

John, you and I go back many years on this forum and you are aware of both the seriousness with which I approach the biblical texts and that I have no need of an inerrant Bible to expose, for example, someone like Joseph Smith for the con artist he was.

BJ, if we interacted before our brief but pleasant exchange on the topic of film history, it has slipped my mind and I apologize, but I trust you got enough of a sense there of my general approach to know that it is a respectful and thoughtful one.

The idea that the archaeological data fully comports with the pertinent biblical texts is incorrect, however popular the notion may be within apologetic circles. Artefacts dug out of the ground do not speak for themselves, but must be interpreted... if one is hostile toward the Bible, this will influence that interpretive process, but the same can be said if one approaches the data set with an exalted view of this same text --- while we may never be able to fully set aside respective biases, the attempt to do so is important or else we see only that which we want to see and remain blind to any alternatives. Where would we be in our understanding of the universe or health care if we held tenaciously to traditions about a flat earth around which astral bodies rotated or that malevolent entities caused physical maladies? Religious faith survived those paradigm shifts and should be able to withstand others, provided its source is in a being beyond rather than in a text cobbled together by fallible humans.

With respect to archaeology and the Bible, one area where there is conflict concerns the settlement of the land by the ancient Israelites. According to the book of Joshua, the Israelites were an external invading force that swiftly destroyed a number of Canaanite cities under the leadership of the book's eponymous hero --- this model is not supported by the collective archaeological data. After an extensive review of the evidence, Dever concludes: "There was no statistically significant destruction of Canaan or mass slaughter of its inhabitants at the end of the Late Bronze Age, even with Philistine invasions" (189). This can be demonstrated by comparing the three 'flashpoint' cities of Jericho, Ai and Hazor -- all three of which are claimed destroyed by Joshua's invading force (see Josh 6:24; 8:19 and 11:11 respectively) -- to each other in terms of their destruction layers.

Jericho suffered a destruction about 1550 BCE and was subsequently abandoned, remaining so during the thirteenth and twelfth centuries (Laughlin 160; Dever 152, 185), the later portion of which being the period during which the Israelites first emerge in the archaeological record (Dever 231). Ai was violently destroyed around 2400 BCE and remained uninhabited for over a thousand years, finally being resettled in the middle of the thirteenth century and then abandoned about a hundred or so years later with no evidence of further destruction (Laughlin 18; Dever 162-63, 184). Hazor suffered two violent destructions, one around 1500 BCE and another around 1200 BCE, the period between the destructions identified as a renaissance of the earlier city with numerous Canaanite temples and a palace (Laughlin 143; Dever 95). The violent falls of all three cities cannot be synchronized within the space of a generation (at best only two if one uses the earlier destruction of Hazor, which creates another set of problems); there is a serious conflict here vis-à-vis the account in Joshua.

I will cite at some length Collins' evaluation of the aforementioned archaeological and textual data (187):

If the cities of Canaan had been violently destroyed, there should be evidence that could be found by the archaeologists. The leader in this endeavor was William Foxwell Albright. He and his colleagues believed that the biblical account was essentially correct and could be supported by archaeological evidence... however, the attempt to corroborate the biblical account by archaeological research backfired. There was indeed extensive upheaval in Canaan in the Late Bronze Age (thirteenth and twelfth centuries B.C.E.), the presumed time of the conquest. But the archaeological evidence does not match the biblical account of the conquest...

Neither [Jericho nor Ai] was a walled city in the Late Bronze period. Of nearly twenty identifiable sites that were captured by Joshua or his immediate successors according to the biblical account, only two, Hazor and Bethel, have yielded archaeological evidence of destruction at the appropriate period...

Archaeology is not an infallible science, and its results are always open to revision in light of new excavations, but a scholar can only make judgments based on the best evidence available at the moment. In light of the available evidence, we must conclude that the account of the conquest in Joshua is largely, if not entirely, fictitious.


The above is not intended to be inflammatory and it may bring some Christians comfort to know that the genocides narrated in Joshua were never divinely ordered or carried out, at least not by the Israelites --- the destruction layers themselves attest to violence in the ancient world, as today, and this should somberly be kept in mind, in any case.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Works cited:
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Fortress Press, 2004)
Dever, William G. Beyond the Texts: An Archaeological Portrait of Ancient Israel and Judah (SBL Press, 2017)
Laughlin, John C.H. Fifty Major Cities of the Bible: From Dan to Beersheba (Routledge Key Guides; Routledge, 2006)
Hi En Hakkore,

Although our interaction has been minimal it is as much or greater than any interaction with the other two posters. In other words, I only know the of the others and their views on the topic by their posts in this thread.

I was responding to the post which mischaracterized the faith and consequently its relationship or lack of it to archaeology.
 

John t

Active member
The idea that the archaeological data fully comports with the pertinent biblical texts is incorrect, however popular the notion may be within apologetic circles. Artefacts dug out of the ground do not speak for themselves, but must be interpreted... if one is hostile toward the Bible, this will influence that interpretive process, but the same can be said if one approaches the data set with an exalted view of this same text --- while we may never be able to fully set aside respective biases, the attempt to do so is important or else we see only that which we want to see and remain blind to any alternatives. Where would we be in our understanding of the universe or health care if we held tenaciously to traditions about a flat earth around which astral bodies rotated or that malevolent entities caused physical maladies? Religious faith survived those paradigm shifts and should be able to withstand others, provided its source is in a being beyond rather than in a text cobbled together by fallible humans.
Below are listed some of the proofs found by archeology and in the culture of other nations. God kept records in two different places so that one would prove the other. Here is a list of some of the many corroborating evidences:



1. Creation

2. Original monotheism

3. The Garden of Eden

7. The universal Flood (Genesis 6-9) EVERY civilization has an account of this

8. Mt. Ararat as the site of the landing of Noah’s ark

9. The table of nations (Genesis 10)

10. The Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9)

17 The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19)

18. The commonness in inscriptions of biblical names such as Adam, Eve, Lamech, Jabal, Noah, Hagar, Keturah, and Bilhah (Gen. 2:19; 3:20; 4:19–20; 5:29; 16:1; 25:1; 29:29)

21. The bricks without straw (Exodus 5:7–19)

22. The death of the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12)

23. The destruction of Pharaoh and his armies in the Rea Sea (Exodus 14)

25. The destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6)

32. Cities in the Book of Judges (Judges 1:21–29)

33. The Philistines’ use of iron weapons (Chron. 15:16)

55. Repentance of Nineveh (Jonah 3)

59. Ahaz’s money tribute to King Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 16:5–9)

66. The discovery of the book of the law in the temple during Josiah’s reign (2 Chron. 34:8–32)

67. Hezekiah’s water tunnel (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron. 32:30)

70. The captivity of Jehoiachin and the appointment of Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:10–19; 25:27–30)

73. The great stones buried by Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, Egypt (Jer. 43:8–13)

75. The pride of Nebuchadnezzar and the greatness of Babylon (Dan. 4)

77. The capture of Babylon and execution of Belshazzar (Dan. 5)

80. The edict of King Cyrus (Ezra 1:1–4)

81. The wall constructed by Nehemiah (Neh. 1–6)

82. The enemies of Nehemiah (Neh. 2, 4, 6)

83. The synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus preached (Mark 1:21–25; Luke 7:1–10)[1]



[1]Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington's book of Bible lists. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House.
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I was responding to the post which mischaracterized the faith and consequently its relationship or lack of it to archaeology.
I chimed in because I felt a follow up to my earlier post here was warranted since the discussion continued to become polarized between archaeology's role in proving or disproving the Bible/Christianity... the situation is more complex than that, as laid out in my last post.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Active member
Below are listed some of the proofs found by archeology and in the culture of other nations. God kept records in two different places so that one would prove the other. Here is a list of some of the many corroborating evidences... 25. The destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6)
The list provided is both too large and too vague to be of any value to the discussion here... it further includes a number of literary parallels, which are not the subject of this thread, however fascinating they may be. Given the specific example I focused on (Israel's settlement of the land), only #25 is directly related (#32 indirectly if we were to explore the competing models of settlement suggested by these two books) and by including it without further comment you have ignored what I previously posted about the impossibility of fully synchronizing the site's sixteenth-century BCE destruction layer with that of other cities claimed destroyed at approximately the same time in the book of Joshua.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

e v e

Well-known member
Why would an atheist’s interpretation of even one word of scripture be respected?

I cannot think of any reason to care about how an atheist scholar interprets even one word of scripture. It will be completely wrong (no matter how smart-sounding.)
 

En Hakkore

Active member
Why would an atheist’s interpretation of even one word of scripture be respected?

I cannot think of any reason to care about how an atheist scholar interprets even one word of scripture. It will be completely wrong (no matter how smart-sounding.)
To which atheist or atheists are you referring? :confused: The scholar whose name was kicked about in the OP and who I therefore made sure to quote (Dever) is actually an agnostic... and I trust you know the differences between agnostics and atheists, including the openness of some among the former to spirituality and the value of liturgical traditions. I'm not sure what Laughlin's position is (do you?), but Collins teaches at Yale Divinity and falls broadly within ecumenical movements focused on the church's role in bringing justice to the world (see the brief conversational video below). For someone who claims a higher education, you sure present a naïvely polarized and fallacious position as it regards critical scholarship... ever heard of poisoning the well?

Kind regards,
Jonathan

 

e v e

Well-known member
Scripture comprises His Words to His Souls, by definition, not said to those who cannot understand (everyone else.) God's intent is to talk to His People through his prophets and those souls who He chooses to represent Him.

Of course I know the difference of various degrees of belief. And, by the way, labels - such as atheist or agnostic - do not preclude that the person IS His soul and will come to Him...but can indicate that their current view keeps them blind, and they will not understand His Words. Now, they may understand all sorts of minutiae, but if they do not Understand His Context. The result will be meanings limited in scope to finite reason.

You may call it poisoning the well. I would counter that academically authorized versions poison the well, taking scripture out of His spiritual context (given to a prophet) and into an academic one (offered by a pharisee).
 

e v e

Well-known member
And the result of what I just submitted, above, is that souls end up listening to pharisees and NOT to Him. Which is a grave situation.

Now, a final point: hintingly disparaging of my 'higher learning' to question my point is not warranted here.
I paid my dues. I can speak in the manner I decide and am not bounded by someone else's disapproval thereof.

I've no interest in diminishing what scholars may unearth, find, or such. I am simply saying that it must conform to HIS context. It's not free-floating stuff that can be removed from its own context. Sure, scholars may write whatever they wish. They are free to do their academic research. But Christians have no need to be beholden to their opinions. If a fact seems not to conform to scripture, then some piece is missing which the scholar are unaware of. And there will be lacunae, that would be expected given that they are not listening to God and therefore derive their conclusions as to the meanings of scripture based on a thoroughgoing LACK of of the proper context.

This does not in any way preclude an ancient writer from lacking the proper context. There were pharisees in Christ's time as well. Misunderstanding scripture is, itself, a scriptural topic.
 
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En Hakkore

Active member
Scripture comprises His Words to His Souls, by definition, not said to those who cannot understand (everyone else.) God's intent is to talk to His People through his prophets and those souls who He chooses to represent Him.
Careful now, your esoteric brand of New Age Christianity is poking through. I have no idea why you're here on a thread devoted to archaeology when you situate at least some biblical narratives on some other earth in another dimension... an interpretation that makes sense only to you and others, if there are any, who hold the same special decoder ring. :rolleyes:

Of course I know the difference of various degrees of belief.
Yet apparently the adherents of these various beliefs can all be lumped together as "atheists" who have no belief, at least not in any deity... and somehow you think that's a reasonable means of classification and an effective way of communicating?

You may call it poisoning the well. I would counter that academically authorized versions poison the well, taking scripture out of His spiritual context (given to a prophet) and into an academic one (offered by a pharisee).
I guess you don't know what poisoning the well is... it is an attempt to discredit one's opponent by offering up something unfavorable about them in the eyes of the audience to distract from the topic being discussed. In this case you labelled the scholars I cited atheists so Christians might reel back in horror from considering what they have to say about archaeology and the Bible. Not only is this an irrelevant datum, hence the argumentative fallacy, but it also happens to be untrue in the case of Dever and Collins (and very likely Laughlin, as well).

Now, a final point: hintingly disparaging of my 'higher learning' to question my point is not warranted here.
I paid my dues. I can speak in the manner I decide and am not bounded by someone else's disapproval thereof.
Of course you're not bound by my disapproval, but my criticism of your contribution to this thread was warranted... particularly as this is now the third time you've chimed into a thread in which I was participating spewing your anti-intellectualism --- I ignored the first two, but felt compelled to say something this time. Now if you want to actually engage with the archaeological data vis-à-vis the biblical texts rather than indulge in argumentative fallacies and esoteric ramblings, by all means let's have at it... otherwise I once again bid you adieu.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

e v e

Well-known member
Careful now, your esoteric brand of New Age Christianity is poking through. I have no idea why you're here on a thread devoted to archaeology when you situate at least some biblical narratives on some other earth in another dimension... an interpretation that makes sense only to you and others, if there are any, who hold the same special decoder ring. :rolleyes:


Yet apparently the adherents of these various beliefs can all be lumped together as "atheists" who have no belief, at least not in any deity... and somehow you think that's a reasonable means of classification and an effective way of communicating?


I guess you don't know what poisoning the well is... it is an attempt to discredit one's opponent by offering up something unfavorable about them in the eyes of the audience to distract from the topic being discussed. In this case you labelled the scholars I cited atheists so Christians might reel back in horror from considering what they have to say about archaeology and the Bible. Not only is this an irrelevant datum, hence the argumentative fallacy, but it also happens to be untrue in the case of Dever and Collins (and very likely Laughlin, as well).


Of course you're not bound by my disapproval, but my criticism of your contribution to this thread was warranted... particularly as this is now the third time you've chimed into a thread in which I was participating spewing your anti-intellectualism --- I ignored the first two, but felt compelled to say something this time. Now if you want to actually engage with the archaeological data vis-à-vis the biblical texts rather than indulge in argumentative fallacies and esoteric ramblings, by all means let's have at it... otherwise I once again bid you adieu.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
I am not new age at all. But I get the reasoning for an accusation, right out of the gate in your first sentence, so to separate me from other Christians by that label. You have no idea why, true. As for decoder rings, He is the only one who would allow a soul to hear Him. Decoder rings wouldn't do the trick.

I've not lumped anyone together and even said that some atheists or agnostics, terms you previously used, could be His souls, and not know it yet. I'm careful about such things, including with you... for all I know you will come to Him too.

Well, you certainly should know what poisoning the well is. Grin. I'll leave that to experts.

As for reeling in horror...if anything I have exactly 0 persons here accepting a word I ever said on carm... so don't worry that your concepts would be toppled by their 'reeling in horror'. I've no such power only God does.

I'm well aware of all the fallacies, and that philosophy itself uses them freely, as do you and any person having an argument. I could find a number of such uses on any page of plato's dialogues, and have, right in the classroom.

I'm sure by your standard a criticism was warranted. But I do have one thing against your standard and, that is, that I am not anti-intellectual. The distinguishing detail here is the context of the mind or intellect in question... A mind, however brilliant, can be in concord with Him or not...and when the intellect does not accord with Him, then it must start over and find what it missed., And if not able to find such, then to trust God.

As Kant said, reason is a miasma and creates even more problems... and well we have, if I recall, was it Goya? Who painted something along those lines. Intellectualism is not without its own set of problems. The mind can be completely glued to the Self and not able to hear him and yet be quite a genius. There is nothing wrong with being smart and understanding and studying. That is what God wants His sons to do.

As for your adieu, that's your choice. Take care.
 
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