The Intersection of Archaeology and The Bible

With great interest I read this article relating a recent development in the world of archaeology. Doug Petrovich, described in the article as an Ancient Near Eastern history and biblical studies expert, has determined that the inscription on a piece of pottery is ancient Hebrew.  Read the whole article, it is an easy read and is directed toward non-scholars.

What makes this a key event is how scholars in so many different fields approach the biblical text.  There is a presumption that it is not historical, it is not factual and it is not to be taken seriously as a guide to the flow of human events in the past.  Even in the article itself this comes out.  Take for instance:

Tel Aviv University archaeologist Israel Finkelstein told that the Ophel Inscription is critical to the early history of Israel. But romantic notions of the Bible shouldn’t cloud scientific methods — a message he pushed in 2008 when a similar inscription was found at a site many now call one of King David’s palaces.

At the time, he warned the Associated Press against the “revival in the belief that what’s written in the Bible is accurate like a newspaper” . . . .

Professor Aren Maeir of Bar Ilan University agrees that some archaeologists are simply relying too heavily on the Bible itself as a source of evidence.

“[Can we] raise arguments about the kingdom of David and Solomon? That seems to me a grandiose upgrade,” he told Haaretz recently.

I do not write this brief post with any thoughts of trying to convince people of the bible’s historicity nor in its value to fields related to Ancient Near Eastern studies.  I merely use it to point out how the Bible has a way of sticking its “nose” into these realms whether people like it or not.  I don’t need to defend the bible, it continues to prove itself repeatedly and I have confidence that this is no fluke.

I do write this because some of my readers may feel at times that there is immense pressure to doubt the bible, or to place it either on the same level as other writings or even to place it in a lower position over other literature and sciences.  Rachel Evans got a lot of people in a blather with this little post where she posits her thoughts on what drives Millennials away from the Church.  All she really does is reveal her own set of presuppositions.  In that post she, apparently the recognized spokesperson for Millennials, “We want a truce between science and faith.”  

Once again you see the same issue rise up.  What happens if the bible teaches certain things about the beginnings of this universe, the root of death and disease, and the root of wars? And what happens if science, archaeology and history finds those ideas to be silly, ignorant or preposterous.  Who started the war that needs some sort of truce?  And what sort of truce is it to be, we all agree to stay in our little corner and play nice?  That is naive and foolish but it seems to be how things work.

Everyone has presuppositions (which is a presuppositions itself) but too often we don’t want to admit it.  I presuppose the bible to be the inspired revelation of God to man.  I presuppose that it is true and faithful and is a trustworthy description of history and reality.  Others presuppose it to be a unfaithful expression of history or science; filled with myths and legends and is nothing more that a product of man.

So, I look at the article regarding the inscription and I not surprised.

About Matt Henry

Middle-aged pastor trying to figure out how to be missional in his world. Loves his wife, his children, and his dog Bear. I have a love of woodworking even though woodworking doesn't always love me. The name is xagete but is pronounced exegete.

Posted on August 1, 2013, in Church, Theology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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