Unearthing the Ancient Near East
The ancient world, particularly those places mentioned in the biblical accounts, continues to fascinate and polarize people. RTB recommends using careful thinking when newsworthy archaeological finds are touted as either support for or against Scripture. Good questions to ask include: “How was the research conducted and documented?” and “Have other scholars verified the results?” and “Have any journals published the research related to the discovery?”
Fortunately, archaeologists have uncovered plenty of evidence that legitimately supports the Bible’s claims. Check out these RTB resources for information on various intriguing discoveries.
- Old Testament Conflicts: A piece of Canaanite pottery dated to the tenth century BC, and other similar findings, testify to the intense conflict between Israel and the Canaanites and Philistines during the reigns of David and Solomon. Hugh Ross comments on these and other discoveries in a July 12, 2013 episode of Science News Flash (SNF).
- Ancient Currency: In November 2011, bronze coins found at the base of the Western Wall in Jerusalem and dated at 17 AD support the credibility of ancient historian Josephus, whose accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provide important extrabiblical support for scriptural claims. Hugh covers this discovery and its value for Christian apologetics in the November 23, 2011 episode of SNF.
- Shekhem and Gath: In July of 2011, Yahoo! News posted articles on digs around these two ancient cities, both of which appear prominently in the Old Testament. RTB founder Hugh discusses the positive support this research provides for the Bible on the July 22, 2011 episode of SNF.
- Real Life “Atlantis”: Archaeologist Jeffrey Rose’s theory about civilizations submerged in the Persian Gulf backs up Genesis’ descriptions of both the garden of Eden and Noah’s flood. Hugh gives the details on Today’s New Reason to Believe (TNRTB) and SNF.
- James Ossuary: This find caused controversy when certain groups declared the ossuary (burial box) to be a fake. Further investigation appears to prove them wrong—the ossuary is a legitimate find. RTB has covered the James Ossuary debate in a Reasons newsletter article by RTB apologist Greg Moore and most recently in a Take Two blog post by Krista Bontrager, RTB’s dean of online learning.
- Dead Sea Scrolls: In July 2010, RTB editor Maureen Moser had an opportunity to tour an exhibit at Azusa Pacific University featuring Dead Sea Scroll fragments. The exhibit inspired her to research what role the scrolls play in the issue of biblical inerrancy.
- Existence of Edom: In 2009, archaeologists reported the discovery of a copper mine that supports biblical accounts of Edom, the land where Esau’s descendants settled. RTB astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink covered this finding on TNRTB.
- Hezekiah’s Tunnel: Radiometric dating of the tunnel built by Israel’s King Hezekiah affirms the Bible’s historical accuracy. The RTB scholars listed this finding as number eight among their “Top 10 Scientific Discoveries of 2003 that Support RTB’s Testable Creation Model” on Creation Update.