Biblical Archaeology and The Bible

It was interesting, as I was reading "Face to Face: Biblical Minimalist Meet Their Challengers", that William Dever confronts (pg. 7) Thomas Thompson about an incorrect estimate of the population of Judah before 701 B.C. According to Dever, Thompson mistakenly said, “There were only a few people in Judah.” Recent surveys by Avi Ofer and Nadav Na’aman contradict Thompsons assertions and estimate a significant population, possibly over 2,000, before 701 B.C.

Archaeology cannot prove that the Scriptures are divinely inspired. It does, however, confirm and support the reliability of the Scriptures as an historical document. Archaeology explores physical evidence or data that places the text of Scripture in proper historical and cultural context, which is crucial for Western readers to properly interpret an Eastern text. There is and always be various interpretations of evidences and this has caused various interpretations of the Scriptures themselves.

I believe the Scriptures have historical value and transmit accurate historical information. I agree that it cannot be a blueprint for history but being true in its statements does not mean it contains everything that is true in the world or universe.

The Bible always speaks the truth when interpreted correctly. When interpreted incorrectly that interpretation cannot represent truth. I believe the Bible to be true in whatever it teaches but not everything it says is to be taken literally. Neither does each verse teach a particular principle. Some verses contain prescriptive or descriptive information and has various literary meaning. The content of our canon contains what God wanted to be included and thus we use Biblical Archaeology to provide a Sitz im Leben, in order to provide a living context for an ancient document.

There is also a metaphysical or supernatural element contained in the Scriptures and therefore it must be considered as well. As believers we should not understand the Holy Scriptures as written merely by humans but as breathed into them by God (as in the case of the Adam). The words of the Bible came from God but were written by men. The apostle Peter affirmed this when he said that “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21 NKJV).

These men were literally “moved” (Grk. phero) to write or go into the destination that the Holy Spirit desired. It is as if the Holy Spirit picked them up in one place and carried them or bore them to another. They did not write by their own will, but were moved by the Spirit. These writings are living, not inanimate, and have the ability to encourage and convict the hearts of people.


William Dever, Editor: Shanks, Hershel. "Face to face: Biblical minimalists meet their challengers." Biblical Archaeology Review 4 no. 23 (1997) (pg. 7)


Johnnymmjammer said...

Sennacherib in 701 B.C. marched westward with a vast army, sweeping everything before him. Tyre was invested though not taken; on the other hand, Joppa, Eltekeh, Ekron, Ashkelon, Ammon, Moab, and Edom all promptly yielded to his demands. Hezekiah was panic stricken and hastened to bring rich tribute, stripping even the temple and the palace of their treasures to do so (2 Kings 18:13-16). But Sennacherib was not satisfied. He overran Judah, capturing, as he tells us in his inscription, 46 walled towns and smaller villages without number, carrying 200,150 of Judah's population into captivity to Assyria, and demanding as tribute 800 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold,

If they only counted the abs bodied men and not the old people or Women and Children, then I would yhink the population of Judah Population would be about a million or so. The 200,150 taken into captivity was only a portion of Judah. JMHO


JN Anderson said...

Sorry for the delay Johnny. Thanks for the insight. I agree as well. The minimalist, seemingly at least, try to squeeze the least they can from the biblical data while making the archaeological data paramount. Although, hard evidence is great and very useful it is difficult to make certain conclusions based on absence of evidence which does not mean absence of the Patriarchs themselves or pop. of certain provinces. I look forward to more of your input.

Adversus Trinitas

"...unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 ESV)