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Bob Cornuke (born 1951) is an American writer and amateur archaeologist. Cornuke is president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), which is operated from his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He describes himself as a Biblical archaeologist, but has no degree or training in archaeology.
Background and explorations
He holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and a Ph.D. in Bible and Theology, both from the unaccredited Louisiana Baptist University. He has been a police officer in Costa Mesa, California. He is the author of six books about his explorations over the last 20 years. Archaeologists and other critics characterize his approach of using of the Bible as a literal guide for his explorations as pseudoarchaeology.
Cornuke also makes a claim of discovering the anchors from the Apostle Paul’s ship wreck, as described in the Bible's Book of Acts, chapter 27 — by searching the sea floor off the coast of Malta.
His most recent expeditions were to Takht-i-Suleiman in Iran in July 2005 and June 2006, where he discovered a rock formation approximately 400 ft long at 13,120 ft (4,000 m) elevation. Cornuke's search appeared on Fox News, CNN, and Good Morning America as well as others.
Cornuke's book, In Search of the Mountain of God, claimed he was the original researcher of the biblical match of Biblical Mount Sinai to Jabal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia. Earlier, however, in 1984, Ron Wyatt had already claimed to be the discoverer of the Biblical Mount Sinai at Jabal al-Lawz. Author Gordon Franz claimed that Cornuke, "had forged a letter from the King of Saudi Arabia in order to obtain a visa into the Kingdom," and wanted to debunk Wyatt's, Cornuke and Wall Street millionaire Larry R. Williams claim that the Biblical Mt. Sinai was in Saudi Arabia. Franz argued that the "biggest problem with the identification of Mt. Sinai at Jebel Al-Lawz is that it does not meet the Biblical criteria for the site. These claims are based on three challenged assumptions and a supposed misunderstanding of the archaeological remains that they observed." The three assumptions were: 1) the Sinai Peninsula was within the territorial borders of the Land of Egypt, 2) "that Mt. Sinai is located in the Land of Midian, which is identified as part of the Saudi Arabian peninsula," and 3) "Apostle Paul says in Gal. 4:25 that Mt. Sinai was in Saudi Arabia."
Cornuke responded to Franz's accusations by calling him to "honestly examine and evaluate the [credible] historical, geographical, archeological and Biblical evidence that Jabal al-Lawz might be the real Mount Sinai". Allen Kerkselager, associate professor of Theology at St. Joseph's University stated "Jabal al Lawz may also be the most convincing option for identifying the Mt. Sinai of biblical tradition" and should be researched. Roy Knuteson former Professor of New Testament and Greek and Bible Archaeology at Northwestern College, Minneapolis, has argued that "None of the suggested sites in the Sinai Peninsula fit the biblical requirements.
According to Cornuke, the scholar Frank Moore Cross of Harvard Divinity School supports his Mt. Sinai claims, but according to Franz, "Frank Moore Cross, retired professor of Hebrew at Harvard University opines that the mountain of God was located in the Land of Midian. When asked if he had a guess what mountain might be Mt. Sinai, he responded, 'I really don't'" and Moore "later put the "Midian Hypothesis" in print, but did not endorse any mountains for the location of Mt. Sinai (Cross 1998: 60-68)." Another critic noted the "BASE institute site had some quotes from respected archaeologists which seemed to support the idea that Jebel al-Lawz was a good candidate for Mount Sinai," but, "when I contacted some of these individuals, they assured me they never made such statements, neither did they feel Jebel al-Lawz was the real Mount Sinai." Thus, "it became quickly obvious that some of the information on the BASE Institute site was not legitimate."
Island of Malta
In 2002 Cornuke claimed to have found anchors from the Biblical shipwreck of St. Paul. This claim has been disputed, however, with Cornuke being labelled by some as a "con artist" who was claimed "to have found the wreck of Paul's ship from Acts - and then got sued for breaking 'all aspects' of an oral contract with a former US ambassador to Malta." This case was unsuccessful with the judge ruling that the book was already released and could not be prevented from being sold. His critics believe he is "more interested in the money to be gained from their claims than in providing genuine evidence for anything." Cornuke says that these anchors were actually discovered by fishermen years before he went in search of them and had already been recovered.
Gordon Franz noted Charles Grech (a retired restaurant owner) found a third anchor in front of the same underwater cave that might have been found off the Munxar Reef, but this was not certain. Only one anchor was examined by Anthony Bonanno and it was only examined in Mr. Grech's home. Bonanno believes that anchor appears to be "consistent" with the "era of the shipwreck of St. Paul, in 60 A.D." and "a Roman/Alexandrian grain freighter," but he did not directly link the anchors with St. Paul.
Franz unilaterally dismisses every Maltese claim Cornuke has made. Franz has noted "had no tangible proof of the anchor stocks to show the world. The first of the anchor stocks was melted down; the second, third and fourth were in private collections; and the fifth and six had been sold." So Cornuke, with "the aid of the US ambassador to Malta, Kathy Proffitt, was enlisted to convince the President and Prime Minister of Malta to offer an amnesty to anyone who would turn over antiquities found off the Munxar Reef" and the pardons were issued on September 23, 2002." As a result, "two anchor stocks" were "turned over to the authorities."
Franz questions Cornuke's research in that "Mr. Cornuke does not interact with, or mention, some very important works on the subject of Paul's shipwreck; nor are they listed in his bibliography.". All these scholars have claimed different sites where St. Paul may have been shipwrecked. Gordon also has criticized Cornuke's understanding of the biblical story and description. On August 15, 2005, James Mulholland, a lifelong member of the Maltese community and a member of the Pauline Association in Malta, stated that Franz made four errors in his refutation of Cornuke and that Cornuke's evidence was not compelling. Mulholland pointed out three problems with Franz's arguments: 1) That Marsaxlokk bay was visible from Munxar Reef, 2) That Franz misidentified the Munxar reef referred to by Cornuke, 3) That Franz only dismisses, but does not refute Cornuke's identification of the real Munxar Reef as the location, and 4) while "Mr. Franz makes a compelling argument," but "these ancient sites would have been well-known by experienced sailors." Mullholland concluded, "we could pick each element of Mr. Cornuke's overall theory and propose other locations that could possibly match that single element. However, that's not the appropriate exercise here. The compelling nature of Mr. Cornuke's theory rests in the fact that ALL of the elements come together in one location. I could show you a place on the western side of the island where they possibly meet."
In 2003 Christianity Today reported that the then U.S. ambassador Kathryn Proffitt sued Cornuke to stop the sale of his book after she arranged for the "Maltese government to pardon the fisherman." (Cornuke would claim these "were from the apostle's ship.") Proffitt contended that as part of the pardon arrangement and several other issues, Cornuke agreed to remain silent about the pardon and "to allow Proffitt and the Maltese government to edit the book. He would also be required to encourage tourists to visit ancient temples." According to some he did not keep his part of the agreement.
A federal judge denied the request to hold up publication of the book since it was already released at the time. Even still, "what the Maltese government is apparently upset about, however, isn't that Cornuke's book was published without its permission, but that it claims that the shipwreck never happened in the traditional site on the northeastern tip of the island, now known as St. Paul's Bay."
Cornuke and his partner, Larry Williams, "snuck" into Saudi Arabia illegally. Later on Cornuke falsely told "guards" they were medical doctors after being captured so the Saudi Arabian guards did not consider them Jewish spies. However, "Cornuke found himself in a sticky situation when one by one each guard came to him complaining of various ailments."
Cornuke's surrogates claimed in June 2006 that Cornuke may have discovered Noah's Ark in a pile of dark-colored rocks on the Iranian Takht-e Suleiman ("Throne of Solomon") or Mount Suleiman in the Alborz (Elborz) Mountains. Cornuke relies heavily on one eyewitness of Noah's Ark, Ed Davis, in which there are problems with him being in Iran let alone at this site when he claimed to see Noah's Ark in 1943. Even creationist geologists doubt whether the rocks viewed by Cornuke are petrified and are urging caution. The research team included Arch Bonnema, film producer of The Genius Club and other well-known Christian businessmen. The oldest creationist organization does not believe the rocks viewed by Cornuke are petrified or Noah's Ark. Even Cornuke himself isn't completely convinced that what he observed was Noah's Ark or even if it was petrified wood. Associates for Biblical Research also produced a 7,800-word paper about problems with the Cornuke site. National Geographic critiqued the rocks at the site.
Ark of the Covenant
While investigating possible locations of the Ark of the Covenant, the BASE research team has conducted expeditions to Ethiopia, Egypt, Israel and Rome and now believes that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River to an eventual resting place in the remote highlands of ancient Kush—modern-day Ethiopia. Cornuke travels to Axum, where today he believes the Ark is kept in absolute isolation at Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion by a man referred to as "The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant".
- In Search of the Mountain of God: The Discovery of the Real Mt. Sinai, Part 1, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-8054-2052-5 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
- In Search of the Lost Mountains of Noah: The Discovery of the Real Mt. Ararat, Part 2, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001. ISBN 0-8054-2054-1 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
- In Search of the Lost Ark of the Covenant, Part 3, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-8054-2053-3 (Co-written with David Halbrook)
- The Lost Shipwreck of St. Paul, Global Publishing Services, 2003. ISBN 0-9714100-3-8
- Ark Fever:Legend Chaser, Tyndale House Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-4143-0296-7
- Relic Quest: Legend Chaser, Tyndale House Publishers, 2005. ISBN 1-4143-0297-5
- The Bell Messenger: A Novel, (with Alton Gansky), Howard Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-4981-9
- Wilson, Jennifer (August 1, 2006). "A piece of Noah's Ark?". The Gazette (Colorado Springs). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Wilson, Jennifer. "Is Noah's Ark on mount in Iran? Man scours the world looking for religious artifacts", Deseret Morning News, August 11, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2007. "Bob Cornuke doesn't have a degree in archaeology; he holds a doctorate in Bible and theology from Louisiana Baptist University."
- Cornuke, Bob (2006-06-17). Interview with John Kasich. Heartland with John Kasich. Fox News. Missing or empty
- Cornuke, Bob (2006-07-02). Possible Remnants of Noah's Ark. Interview with Susan Roesgen. CNN LIVE. CNN.
- Cornuke, Bob (2006-06-29). Mysteries of the Bible; Is This Really Noah's Ark?. Interview with Chris Cuomo. Good Morning America. ABC News.
- Franz, Gordon. Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia? July 1, 2006
- Reply to G. Franz by Bob Cornuke
- Where is Mount Sinai? St Catherine's or Jabal al Lawz?
-  Jewish Pilgrimage and Jewish Identity By Allen Kerkeslager
- Is Jebel al-Lawz the Mount Sinai of the Bible as Bob Cornuke of BASE Institute Asserts? Tentmaker Ministries. July 1, 2006
- Cornuke, Robert. New Zealand Cults & Religious Groups List
- Olsen, Ted. Apostle Paul's Shipwreck Makes Headlines. Christianity Today. May 15, 2003
- Franz, Gordon. The Sinking of The Lost Shipwreck of Paul July 1, 2006
-  University of Malta "Professor Anthony Bonanno Department of Classics and Archaeology "
- Cornuke, Bob. The Lost Shipwreck of St. Paul Global Publishing Services, 2003. ISBN 0-9714100-3-8 (Pg 129)
- Herrold, Leanne (2001-07-20). "Adventurer tells of search for Mount Sinai". The Goshen News. Archived from the original on 2005-11-24. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- Brannon Howse, Noah's Ark? For Real, Christian Worldview Network, June 16, 2006.
- Ed Davis Eyewitness Location, NoahsArkSearch.com.
- Tas Walker, Caution about 'Ark' discovery, CreationOnTheWeb.com, July 5, 2006.
- John Morris, Ph.D., Ark is rock not petrified wood, icr.org, July 21, 2006.
- Rick Lanser, M.Div, Noah's Ark in Iran?, abr.christiananswers.net, July 20, 2006.
- Kate Ravilious, Noah's Ark Discovered in Iran?, National Geographic, July 5, 2006.
- Bob Cornuke Homepage
- comments by geologist Paul Heinrich on Cornuke's geological claims
- NZ Cult List - a dictionary of cults & religious groups: C: Bob Cornuke
- A Critique of Bob Cornuke with a timeline
- Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia? by Gordon Franz