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Lessons in biblical archaeology

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Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby Chris » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:36 am

Here is a series of lessons on the archaeology of the bible from John Romer - one of the greats of archaeology and a truly great educator. Have a watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCgA1-XL ... 36D711E3A4
Last edited by Chris on Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby E-lad » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:19 am

Excellent series. Thanks Chris.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby lehman scott » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:06 am

Thanks, Chris, that was fascinating!
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby zilch » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:03 am

Ultracool, Chris, thanks. I had no idea the parallels between Genesis and the Mesopotamian creation story were so deep.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby pUREiNTENT » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:53 am

I wouldn't let archaeology put too much of a crimp on your trust in the Holy Scriptures.

The fact is, archaeology both a 'soft science' (largely a kind of conjectural detective work), and hence for the most part tentative, and secondly a kind of argument from 'silence'. That is, beliefs are formulated according to arguments of plausibility or certain assumptions about the forces of history, (usually overly skeptical), and then they are 'disproven' or corrected by the shovel or contradictory/modifying evidences of various kinds.

And therefore, archaeology, while often helpful, is not the ultimate yardstick by which to measure the accuracy of the Holy Scriptures.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby E-lad » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:01 am

pUREiNTENT wrote:I wouldn't let archaeology put too much of a crimp on your trust in the Holy Scriptures.

The fact is, archaeology both a 'soft science' (largely a kind of conjectural detective work), and hence for the most part tentative, and secondly a kind of argument from 'silence'. That is, beliefs are formulated according to arguments of plausibility or certain assumptions about the forces of history, (usually overly skeptical), and then they are 'disproven' or corrected by the shovel or contradictory/modifying evidences of various kinds.

And therefore, archaeology, while often helpful, is not the ultimate yardstick by which to measure the accuracy of the Holy Scriptures.


But...a yardstick nonetheless.

For example, the Exodus. Had there been a million or so people, with their attendant animals campsites, manufacturing facilities, et & et, wandering around the dessert for 40 years the area would be littered with artifacts, yet there are none; not as much as the remnants of a campfire.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby pUREiNTENT » Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:38 am

E-lad wrote:
pUREiNTENT wrote:But...a yardstick nonetheless.

For example, the Exodus. Had there been a million or so people, with their attendant animals campsites, manufacturing facilities, et & et, wandering around the dessert for 40 years the area would be littered with artifacts, yet there are none; not as much as the remnants of a campfire.


No archaeological find has ever contradicted the Bible. Archaeology has only confirmed what the Bible says. As has been the case with so many other things in the Bible, as archaeology progresses, they will most certainly uncover evidence in the future. The Bible has yet to be proven wrong by archaeology.

Also, it may be the incorrect path of the Exodus as many believe... and there is a path they believe may be the correct site in reference to Arabia and Mt. Sinai where they have started to find objects and artifacts and geology that is consistent with the Exodus.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby shadowmouse » Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:40 am

pUREiNTENT wrote:
E-lad wrote:
pUREiNTENT wrote:But...a yardstick nonetheless.

For example, the Exodus. Had there been a million or so people, with their attendant animals campsites, manufacturing facilities, et & et, wandering around the dessert for 40 years the area would be littered with artifacts, yet there are none; not as much as the remnants of a campfire.


No archaeological find has ever contradicted the Bible. Archaeology has only confirmed what the Bible says. As has been the case with so many other things in the Bible, as archaeology progresses, they will most certainly uncover evidence in the future. The Bible has yet to be proven wrong by archaeology.

Also, it may be the incorrect path of the Exodus as many believe... and there is a path they believe may be the correct site in reference to Arabia and Mt. Sinai where they have started to find objects and artifacts and geology that is consistent with the Exodus.


Yammering off the usual tripe by rote.

How about providing links to legitimate examples by actual archeologists? AKA nothing by AIG/ICR/creotard sites
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby E-lad » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:34 am

pUREiNTENT wrote:
E-lad wrote:
pUREiNTENT wrote:But...a yardstick nonetheless.

For example, the Exodus. Had there been a million or so people, with their attendant animals campsites, manufacturing facilities, et & et, wandering around the dessert for 40 years the area would be littered with artifacts, yet there are none; not as much as the remnants of a campfire.


No archaeological find has ever contradicted the Bible. Archaeology has only confirmed what the Bible says. As has been the case with so many other things in the Bible, as archaeology progresses, they will most certainly uncover evidence in the future. The Bible has yet to be proven wrong by archaeology.

Also, it may be the incorrect path of the Exodus as many believe... and there is a path they believe may be the correct site in reference to Arabia and Mt. Sinai where they have started to find objects and artifacts and geology that is consistent with the Exodus.


No, you are at best partially correct in that statement. First of all, you must remember that scientists do not try to 'prove' anything. That is the nature of science. They do collect evidence and data and when all that added together is strong enough with no contrary evidence they have a 'theory' which is the highest degree of certainty granted to any natural science.

You make the sweeping and supposedly factual statement that "they will most certainly uncover evidence in the future." That is the kind of crap that brings on the animosity between people like us since you have not one iota of evidence that that will become a true statement. You are merely hoping it will happen. Let's stick with logic and reason here, mmmmk?

Next you say, "it may be the incorrect path of the Exodus as many believe... and there is a path they believe may be the correct site in reference to Arabia and Mt. Sinai where they have started to find objects and artifacts and geology that is consistent with the Exodus."
The entire Sinai penninsula has been systematically scoured by archaeologists (especially archaeologists trying to prove the exodus happened) and in fact they did come across one area where a scant few artifacts were found, showing that ancient artifacts would survive well in that environment, but to say that those few artifacts were left by a million people is riseable as best. I will agree that this does not prove the story is wrong, but it definitely casts a strong shadow of doubt upon its veracity.

One thing we do know is that the word history or any of its derivatives are nowhere to be found in the bible because the writers were merely telling stories, but most important, the literary style shows it was far more important to them to tell what these 'stories' meant to them. That is why the bible is referred to as didactic literature.

Next, One of the first efforts of biblical archaeology in the last century was to prove the historicity of the patriarchs, to locate them in a particular period in the archaeological history. Today I think most archaeologists would argue that there is no direct archaeological proof that Abraham, for instance, ever lived. We do know a lot about pastoral nomads, we know about the Amorites' migrations from Mesopotamia to Canaan, and it's possible to see in that an Abraham-like figure somewhere around 1800 B.C.E. But there's no direct connection. It is curious that not one reference to an Abraham has never been found in all the carvings found so far.

But Moses lived much later when there is far more writings and eyewitness accounts, but no one has found a text or an artifact in Egypt itself or even in the Sinai that has any direct connection. That doesn't mean it didn't happen. But archaeologists think it does mean what happened was rather more modest. And the biblical writers have enlarged the story. At the same time the Egyptians were prolific record keepers but no Egyptian text mentions the Israelites except the famous inscription of Merneptah dated to about 1206 B.C.E. But those Israelites were in Canaan; they are not in Egypt, and nothing is said about them escaping from Egypt even while almost every aspect of Egyptian history from that time has been found.

Next, concerning the biblical stories of the Isrealites coming into Canaan as a conquering army, there are no signs to show this at all. The evidence shows that, in fact, the Israelites did not actually conquer any Canaanites. There have been found 300 of the earliest Israelite settlements and these were not built on the ruins of destroyed Canaanite towns but rather on bedrock or on virgin soil. There was no evidence of armed conflict in most of these sites. Archaeologists also have discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposedly destroyed by invading Israelites were either not destroyed at all or destroyed by "Sea People"—Philistines, or others. Archaeology has proven that towns the bible claims were ruined by the Israelites were not ruined at all.
So, the old conquest model,began to lose favor among scholars. Most (valid) scholars now think that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites, displaced Canaanites, displaced from the lowlands, from the river valleys, displaced geographically and then displaced ideologically. It is also important to note that in these hundreds of 12th-century settlements there are no temples, no palaces, no elite residences as described in the bible. In essence, the evidence shows that the Israelites were not "the chosen people" but rather "the choosing people"—choosing to be free of their Canaanite past.

Having said all that, archaeology does not actually prove or disprove "the Bible," but does indeed throw into question more than it 'proves' about the bible. But it is well shown that the bible is a bit like the DiVinci Code which uses the names of real places, while the stories were highly embellished, or were of pure fiction to show a point.

Even with that, archaeology is small potatoes in disproving the bible. It is the heavyweights of Geology, physics, astronomy and biology that show the bible for what it is, an ancient book of myths that were used by pre-scientific men to explain and justify their existence- A mere cultural artifact.
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Re: Lessons in biblical archaeology

Postby Chris » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:22 am

pUREiNTENT wrote:No archaeological find has ever contradicted the Bible. Archaeology has only confirmed what the Bible says. As has been the case with so many other things in the Bible, as archaeology progresses, they will most certainly uncover evidence in the future. The Bible has yet to be proven wrong by archaeology.

Also, it may be the incorrect path of the Exodus as many believe... and there is a path they believe may be the correct site in reference to Arabia and Mt. Sinai where they have started to find objects and artifacts and geology that is consistent with the Exodus.


There's just a few problems with your assertion. The entire nation of Egypt. :D

Problem 1: The economy of Egypt.
According to the book of Exodus a quarter of the population of Egypt just got up and walked out. This would drive the economy of Egypt through the floor. Trouble is this particular era was one of the most prosperous in Egypt's ancient history.

Problem 2: Egypt had a number of Hittite spies during this era. We know this from the discoveries of Hattusis. Not one mentions the destruction of the whole of the Egyptian army. Little bit of a problem.

Problem 3: The plagues.
Once again if the plagues actually happened then the Egyptian economy would have been ruined. Since this didn't happen then we may deduce that there were no biblical plagues.

Problem 4: No Jewish grave goods.
If hundreds of thousands of Jews had lived and died in Egypt then numerous graves would be found with numerous grave goods. On top of this we'd find numerous Jewish goods in Egyptian tombs. We find neither.

Would you like me to continue? Now you may declare all of this an argument from silence but what else would you expect if there is NOTHING to find? If these events never actually happened then we should find nothing and that's exactly what we do find.

Now biblical archaeology started out, as Froggie points out, trying to find evidence that the biblical account is accurate. But year after year, decade after decade no evidence turned up when there should be a huge mass of such evidence. With the story of the Exodus this becomes very apparent. We're not talking about traces of one or two people that it could well be argued have been missed but hundreds and hundreds of thousands. The complete lack of evidence must be explained. It simply won't do to assert - they'll be found one day. When? Where? When watering areas that the book of Exodus clearly mentioned and are well known are examined we still find NOTHING!

Not to mention the DNA evidence which shows that the Palestinians and Israelis are both Canaanites. The clashes between what is actually known of the area and the books of Exodus & Joshua and so on.
Last edited by Chris on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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