Talk:Biblical archaeology

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Missing text[edit]

Where is the text in this article? I see an outline of dates, which I suggest should be converted to headings under which relevant finds are mentioned. Each find should indicate, if available:

  • About the discovery: Who discovered it, when, and where
  • About the age: How it was determined, by whom
  • What book(s) and chapters of the Bible mention the subject related to the find, or otherwise how is it related? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Re-work the links section[edit]

It has a link for a resource of religious bigotry in its purest form, Christian Answers. That is not a valid archaeological reference, they claim the world is as old as civilization ( 6000 years ) and although they aknowledge the age of the dead sea scrolls they consider radiocarbon dating not valid.

Stop being so close minded, there is archeaological evidence for both evolution and the bible. Have you ever heard of Enki or the Temple of Eridug? They actually existed. I like to try and prove that something is true and if I have a large statistical average between the said things, places, people, etc of elements of the main subject than I would then believe in that subject. We all need to study, I like to study, and if we don't study those subjects and if we have almost meaningless statistical thoughts like "but the odds are so high, that's what I think" without using observations of seeing the objects than we close our minds. I have great evidence that evolution and things, places, and people in the bible are both true. Evolution precedes history in the bible.-- 02:36, 19 March 2007 (UTC)Kyle McKenzie Street, age 16

What! not even in Leviticus?[edit]

"Though not mentioned specifically in the Bible, Warren discovered the first Israelite inscriptions..." (—from the entry. Wetman 13:28, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC))

People in the Bible confirmed by archaeological evidence[edit]

This needs to be expanded there is quite a large list. Kuratowski's Ghost 14:52, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'll try and add a section with details. Here's a provisional list, only for the pre-Persian period:

Pharaohs: -Shoshenq I ("Shishak") -Necho II -Apries ("Hophra")

Judean kings: -David (Tel Dan stela) -Jehoram (Dan stele) -Ahaziah (Dan stele) -Ahaz -Hezekiah -Manasseh -Jehoiachin

Ephraimite kings: -Omri -Ahab -Joram (Dan stele) -Jehu -Joash (paid tribute to Adad-nirari III) -Jeroboam II (his cylindar seals) -Menahem -Pekah -Hoshea

Other Levantine monarchs: -Hazael of Damascus -Ben-Hadad son of Hazael -Mesha of Moab -Baalis of Ammon (mentioned in Jeremiah)

Prominent Judeans just before and during the Exile: -Sheshbazzar (mentioned among Jehoiachin's sons in the Babylonian ration records) -Baruch the scribe (?- heard his seal might be among Oded Golan's forgeries, not sure) -members of the Shaphan family mentioned in Jeremiah

Mesopotamian monarchs: -Tiglath-pileser III -Shalmeneser V -Sargon II -Sennacherib -Merodach-Baladan II -Esarhaddon -Ashurbanipal (the "Osnappar" of Ezra) -Nebuchadnezzar II -Amel-Marduk ("Evil-Merodach") -Belshazzar (viceroy)

--Rob117 04:03, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

"POV" intro[edit]

The intro is very POV. Many consider Biblical archaeology to be simply the part of Near Eastern Archaeology that deals with areas typically mentioned in the Bible. Kuratowski's Ghost 14:52, 30 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Gee, thanks Wetman, not only have you put back all the POV you have spammed the article with quotations and snide remarks. Hopefully someone will wade through it and organize relevant points in a section on controversy surrounding Biblical archaeology. Kuratowski's Ghost 05:21, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Quotations from respected archaeologists working in the field and a list for further reading help bring this entry up to Wikipedia norms. A list of names said to be "confirmed" by non-Biblical sources, with no context, seems less than useful. What's it for? "POV" when looked at for a moment always seems to mean "not my POV." These cards have been played. --Wetman 07:15, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
Well the list had been started by someone else, I'm just adding to it. There is still a lot more names that can be added, taking time cos one has to check that it isn't an Oded Golan forgery that was used as confirmation. I think a lot of people would find the list interesting, but perhaps it should be moved to its own article and expanded with info on the confirming evidence. All in good time. Kuratowski's Ghost 07:58, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
Bringing in sourced information is helpful, but please reorganize your information in a more encyclopedic manner. You should use quotes sparingly, and put the references into footnotes, not in the body of the text. --Blainster 07:34, 1 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia readers are invited to survey the edit history at the left, to assess whether the suppression of material is justifiable and see how judicious "pruning" can warp quotations. I shall return in due time and correct any grossfalsehoods I find, but I leave this as it stands for the time being. --Wetman 08:36, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

"Social Science"?[edit]

This sentence: "The purpose of this social science is to establish the historical accuracy of Biblical texts..." is contradictory. The way it is phrased suggests that biblical archaeologists are looking for evidence to validate the bible. If so, then drop "social science". Otherwise, I'd suggest changing "establish" to "examine". I'd suggest removing social science, as biblical archaeology is a bit fringe to mainstream anthropological archaeology (i.e., it is less concerned with human behaviour and more concerned with history, and thus closer to a humanity than science), but I'm happy to be contradicted. Rattus 15:17 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

'Social science' removed. Rattus 15:00 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)]]

Jericho's walls?[edit]

There have been many cities found in Tell Sultan (ancient Jericho), and since 8500 BC most of these cities were fortified. The Jericho at the time of Israel's emergence in Canaan, however, was not fortified. The site is neither a confirmation or refutation of the Biblical story. The rubble of the walls could have been entirely removed or the walls may never have existed at that time. --Cypherx 00:16, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I've seen studies claiming quite the opposite. This was about 6 years ago. The finding demonstrated a wall with an unusualcollapse pattern. One that would be consistant with the wall being knocked over from the inside pushing out. I was unable to verify this claim because whenI was in Israel it wasunder palestinian control and they wouldn't let foreigners in. --Home Computer 13:31, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
That would be pretty difficult as Kathleen Kenyon established pretty definitively that Garstang's "walls of Jericho" dated to the Middle Bronze Period, and that it was against Egyptian policy (until at least 1150 BCE) to allow walled cities in Canaan which could resist Egyptian policing actions. Walled cities only developed again once there was a centralised administration such as we find in the periods of the Monarchy (eg as at Lachish and Jerusalem under Hezekiah).John D. Croft 21:47, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Neutrality template needed?[edit]

One editor put up the "Disputed Neutrality" template, and commented that the article should be "reworked into non-religious POV", but declined to elaborate as the template states he will. Biblical archaeology exists as a separate subject from Near-Eastern archaeology because of its religious pov. The science involved is to put the Biblical records to (neutral, refereed) archaeological test. There are multiple views represented in the article, and I toned down the rhetoric in the opening paragraph and one of the quotes. The quoted commentary has been moved to a separate section, where it can be expanded/changed as needed without interupting the flow of the article. So I am removing the template. If you still think it should be there, please explain why on the talk page. --Blainster 04:32, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thank you, Blainster, Exemplary handling. --Wetman 06:31, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Sorry about that. I put up the NPOV notice and forgot about it. My impression of the article is that it is biased towards the proving of the Bible. Upon second inspection this isn't nearly as bad as I first thought. Still could use improvement of POV. I'm quite certain Jericho's walls did not exist in the time period of the Israelite invasion. And certainly if Canaanite cities whose remains support the Biblical narrative of Joshua are included, why not mention the city of Ai, whose remains seem to exclude the possibility of a destruction by Israelites in the Late Bronze Age? --Cypherx 11:47, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Because those views were subsequently shown to be erroneous?
Evidence at Jericho Supports Biblical Testimony
Was Ai a ruin at the time of the Conquest? Kuratowski's Ghost 13:50, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'll look into the Ai article later when I have time, but your Jericho link refers to Wood's redating which has been disqualified.
"when Wood first published his claims, there was only one radiocarbon measurement available for City IV. It was from a piece of charcoal dated by the British Museum to 1410 plus or minus 40 years B.C. (Wood "Israelites" 53). Unfortunately, this date was later retracted by the British Museum, along with dates of several hundred other samples. The British Museum found that their radiocarbon measurement apparatus had gone out of calibration for a period of time, and thus had yielded incorrect dates during that period (Bowman 59-79). The corrected date for the charcoal sample from City IV turned out to be consistent with Kenyon's ca. 1550 B.C. date for the City IV destruction."
Is Bryant Wood's chronology of Jericho valid?
--Cypherx 15:20, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hmm thats written by Aardsma who is trying to push his missing millenium hypothesis which does not have much following. Wood defended his dating against subsequent critiques and still has the last word as far as I know. Kuratowski's Ghost 16:43, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
After a little digging it seems that we're both citing Young Earth Creationists, and I think that casts some doubt on their acceptability as scientific sources (not that YECs are necessarily wrong, but fall outside the mainstream of accepted science). I'll try to find a peer-reviewed journal to weight in on Jericho...--Cypherx 17:02, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Wood is indeed a fundamentalist Christian but he is also a respected archaeologist, his Creationist views have nothing to do with his arguments for dating Jericho. There was no sound basis for the recalibration of C14 dating that produced the "corrected date" that Aardsma mentions. Kuratowski's Ghost 17:27, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
"The final destruction of MBA Jericho occurred during the late 17th or the 16th century BC" Radiocarbon --Cypherx 17:45, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
That is one of the disputed recalibrated datings in 1995. Following the excavations in 1997 Wood still concluded that the date of the destruction was late 15th century. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:03, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Do you have a link for that? I'd like to read about it. Also what do you think of what I wrote below? How is the destruction of Jericho matched up with the destructions of Lachish and Hazor? --Cypherx 23:13, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Here is a link critiquing Wood but summarizing his various counter arguments Jericho Debate. Here is another link about Jericho that also discusses Hazor Myth or History: Did Jericho’s Walls Come Down ??. Yadin favoured the 13th century date for the exodus and interprets the c. 1200 BCE destruction of Hazor as Joshua, and earlier destructions with pre-Israelite wars. Those who identify the Jericho destruction with Joshua place one of the earlier destructions of Hazor at the time of Joshua and the 1200 CE one with the Judges Deborah and Barak Kuratowski's Ghost 23:45, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
First link says "Wood cites studies showing regional differences among trees with respect to the quantity of C-14 at given times. Since there is not enough data from local trees to calibrate raw C-14 dates, Wood refuses to accept the above findings for Jericho." but provided no link to the studies Wood cites. This is where him being a Young Earth Creationist really is a problem for me, because I cannot on faith trust his interpretation of scientific data, which on aother issue (the age of the earth) is so drastically at variance with the mainstream. Can you find a link to studies Wood is citing? --Cypherx 01:22, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Also, I wonder if any theory has been put forward to tie together the destruction of Lachish and Hazor (around 1200BC) and the destruction of Jericho several hundred years earlier. Know of any? --Cypherx 17:56, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Discuss Jericho's walls and Israelite settlement patterns[edit]

To Kuratowski's Ghost- Why did you feel it necessary to delete archaeological facts about the Israelite settlement? The Israelite villages appear in the archaeological record shortly before 1200 BC. Jericho's walls fell, at the very latest, around 1300 BC, and probably at least a century earlier. But even if the latest date for the walls is accepted, they still predate the Israelite settlement by nearly a century. I do think these facts are relevant, and the article as it stands only reports findings that could be considered corroborations of the biblical record. Material that contradicts or is neutral to the biblical account should not be kept out of the article. If a discovery is both relevant and legit, there is no reason for its deletion from the article.--Rob117 00:06, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Because the usual dating of Joshua is 15th century[citation needed] which is consistent with the dating of the walls. The fact that the earliest villages currently identified with certainty as Israelite are from shortly before the 12th century does not mean that it is universally agreed that Israelites only appeared at that time. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:44, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
The usual dating of Joshua is notthe fifteenth century BCE. Please give reputed archaeological references John D. Croft 21:52, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

In fact, the entire article as it stands seems to be little snippets about certain events and structures mentioned in the Bible. Biblical archaeology is not limited to things mentioned in the Bible; much of the literature labeled as dealing with "biblical" archaeology focuses on the settlement patterns of the Israelites and their neighbors. I think we should include a section on the settlement patterns of the Israelites and neighboring cultures; good references to start with would be stuff by William Dever, Israel Finkelstein, Thomas Levy, and Amihai Mazar, among others. If I get enough time I'll try to make a section about this topic.--Rob117 00:19, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

I'd include Kitchen for balance. Kuratowski's Ghost 00:44, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Kitchen is not a biblical archaeologist, he's an Egyptologist. He's a good Egyptologist. But he is not a biblical archaeologist, and quite obviously has a vested interest in proving the reliability of Genesis. IMHO, he's not a valid source for this topic, and including him here would not be balanced, as on this subject he is not a mainstream source. Amihai Mazar accepts the basic historicity of the Patriarchs, and both Mazar and Levy accept the Exodus, so that should be balanced enough. As for Finkelstein, I'll reference his 1988 work on the Israelite settlement(this was before he proposed his chronological revisions, so that won't be present), and while I do intend to mention his chronological revisions and his 2001 The Bible Unearthed, I will make sure to note that they are currently accepted only by a minority of archaeologists (I personally am on the fence with regard to Finkelstein's revisions, although I tend to lean toward the conventional chronology). I have no intention of using the Copenhagen drek, if that's what you're worried about.--Rob117 01:16, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Not a valid source because he is 'not mainstream' on this topic? How many past breakthroughs have stemmed from someone bucking the accepted dogma? The validity of a source simply *cannot* depend on his/her being completely in lock-step with contemporary dogma. It must instead depend on the quality of his work and the plausibility of his interpretations. Tallil2long (talk) 05:25, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
That depends on your definition of "Biblical archaeology" I think. I, and more importantly people like Dever and Moorey, draw a distinction between the archaeology of the Levant/Syro-Palestine (call it what you will) and Biblical archaeology. The former is anything archaeological in the area, while the latter is applying these archaeological discoveries to the interpretation of the Biblical text. So, by that definition Kitchen (and the Assyriologist Alan Millard) is a Biblical archaeologist. So, I think we need to include both these POVs and also the POV of the Copenhagen idiots here (but I wouldn't want Kitchen or the Copenhagen school on the History of Levant page). --G Rutter 08:24, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Dating Joshua to the 15th century is based solely on biblical genaeologies. So far as I know, this date is common among conservative theologians. Moderate and liberal theologians have largely abandoned this dating in favor of the 13th-12th century dating based on archaeology and other biblical references- for example, Exodus 1 states that the Israelites built the city of Rameses (Pi-rammese), and this has led to the popular identification of Rameses II (1279-1213 BC) as the pharaoh of the oppression. Granted, this is speculation, as we really don't have much evidence for an exodus in the first place. But my main point is that the 15th-century dating has been largely abandoned, and saying there "might have been" Israelite settlements before the late 13th century that we just haven't found yet is pure speculation without any archaeological basis. We can't omit archaeological evidence just because it might offend some people.

Perhaps a separate "Israelite Archaeology" or "Levantine Archaeology" article is in order that does not focus exclusively on the Bible as this page does, and can discuss the archaeology of Israel from a historical-anthropological point of view. The Bible would still be used as reference material, but secondarily to archaeology.--Rob117 19:56, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Sorry for the delay in replying. We've got two somewhat overlapping articles on this (not including this one): History of the Levant and History of Palestine. There's also History of Israel but that's just the modern history. At the moment things are a bit of a mess and really need sorting out- it's one of those things I keep on meaning to do. --G Rutter 07:26, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Anyway, I reinserted the info about the walls predating the Israelite settlement in a form that I hope would be considered more neutral in tone, simply stating that this is the current majority opinion. It is important to leave this info in, as it is relevant to the subject in question.--Rob117 04:10, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Is this really the majority opinion though? And is it not simply a case of the agreement being that the destruction predates earliest currently known confirmed Israelite site - not the same thing as saying that the majority opinion is that it predates the Israelites. Kuratowski's Ghost 21:49, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

It is the majority opinion. Aside from Kenneth Kitchen, I have not read anything from an archaeologist that disagrees with the late 13th-12th century date for the Israelite settlement. Archaeologists don't like to invoke "ghost settlements" when they don't have to (occasionally they do have to, such as for the Byzantine period in Jerusalem, but this is very rare. The Israelite settlement does not appear to warrant invoking this).--Rob117 23:21, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

I've never understood the mentality that says something never existed because archaeological evidence hasn't been found. I know of many examples of buildings that I have seen in my own lifetime which no longer exist and for which absolutely no evidence remains. Kuratowski's Ghost 01:09, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

We're talking entire towns, not just buildings. We're supposed to give what mainstream scholars say, not our own personal opinions.--Rob117 03:48, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

And I keep seeing timelines placing Joshua in the 15th century and arguments rejecting Rameses II as the pharaoh and arguing against a 13th-12th century dating for the exodus. Kuratowski's Ghost 12:30, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

Where are you seeing them? The only place I've seen the 15th century date given is from old books (1970s and earlier), and from modern-day apologetics, which are not a valid source.

Does Kenneth Kitchen even give a 15th-century date? I was under the impression that he thought Rameses II was the pharaoh of the Exodus.--Rob117 23:33, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

In his excellent book, Israel in Egypt (published in 1996 and dedicated to Ken Kitchen), James Hoffmeier (Professor of Biblical Studies and Archaeology at Wheaton College, Illinois) discusses the dating of the Exodus (p122-126). He notes that a literal reading of the 480 years given in 1 Kings 6:1 would give a date for the Exodus of 1445 BC (which, for example, is the date given in the timeline in the NIV Study Bible). He notes there are problems with trying to make this number symbolic, but concludes (p126):
"It is clear that even after over a century of academic inquiry into the date of the exodus, we are no closer to a solution today. ... If there is a prevailing view among historians, biblical scholars, and archaeologists, an exodus in the Ramesside era (1279-1213 B.C.) is still favored. The Merneptah stela (ca. 1209/8 B.C.) serves as a terminus ad quem for arrival of Israelistes in Canaan. The question remains: How long had they been there prior to Meneptah's time?"
Hope that helps! --G Rutter 11:12, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Noting the following section: "In Biblical Archaeology Review Cyrus Gordon is noted to be a scholar of enormous range. He is one of the few proponents that the Semites arrived in the Western Hemisphere as early as 800 B.C.E. and that the inscription at Bat Creek, Tennessee reads "for Judea"... etc etc. If this isn't too zany for the rest of you, why should I be one to complain? --Wetman 13:53, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

POV Problem![edit]

I think the lengthy quote by Devers under "Professional Commentary" is highly biased and antagonistic against the Bible and Biblical archaeologists. It implicitly assumes certain motives on the part of the archaeologists and certain preconceptions about the historicity of the Bible. There should at least be opposing quotes by authorities who hold different points of view, or it should be removed. 20:12, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

ditto Kuratowski's Ghost 21:59, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

The commentary is by a "professional" Biblical archaeologist. If Biblical archaeology is above criticism in its own field what is its value? If Biblical archaeology ever expects to be taken seriously it must stand peer review from its own new archaeologists. Revision is expected in science. If you can find quotes by other professional Biblical archaeologists that disagree with Deaver by all means add them. Blowing my stuff away seems to me to be sneaky way of avoiding and hiding the problem. Whatever pleases you tickles me to death. User:Kazuba 25 Jun 06

I don't think anyone has a problem with a sensible section on Methods of Biblical archaeology and sensible academic discussions on the role of BA, but you insist on putting in an off topic paragraph dealing with some eccentric commnents by Gordon while mistitling it as Methods of Biblical archaeology. Its pretty clear that you are not trying to be serious. Similarly the Devers stuff over represented raw quotes of Devers instead of a distilled neutral summary of various points of views. Kuratowski's Ghost 12:37, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

It would appear Kuratowski's Ghost doesn't think the snobbery of early Biblical archaeologists, who refused to dirty their hands and their approval of the use of whips on arab excavators worth mentioning here in Biblical archaeology. So I will remain silent. This will avoid creating anxiety. User:Kazuba 25 Jun 06

This phenomenon wasn't confined to archaeology let alone Biblical archaeology and reflects a general attitude Europeans had to non-European labour so it doesn't deserve special attention in this article. Kuratowski's Ghost 13:01, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

William F. Albright the Dean of Biblical Archaeology and other American and British Biblical archaeologists were not Europeans! It does deserve special attention in this article. It illustrates character when these indivividuals were away from home excavating in Biblical lands for RELIGIOUS artifacts using laborers of the possible ancestors of Biblical people until 1948; when Isreal put a stop to this seemingly common brutal practice.User:Kazuba 26 Jun 06

Dude stop clowning around. Your Methods section is not all about Methods of Biblical archaeology, its a POV interview "soundbite" intended to create a negarive impression. Kuratowski's Ghost 23:19, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

You are wrong I am not clowning around. You are the one who keeps changing their mind with what is wrong with my entries. Just read the previous discussions, and your other comments. First, it is this, than it is that, than something else. So far anytime there is any criticism about Biblical Archaeology you jump. My material is simply historical and from the inside professionals themselves. I am not trying to create a negative impression. I don't like keeping secrets in an encyclopedia. Archaeologists are only people, it seems here they were proud of being snobs. They are not to be unquestioned Gods. Things are never black or white accept within cognitive distortions, Dude. User:Kazuba 27 jun 06

So what do other people think? Should the first section in a serious encyclopedic article on Biblical Archaeology start with this:

The past methods of Biblical archaeology

In Biblical Archaeology Review Cyrus H. Gordon, noted to be a scholar of enormous range, informed Hershel Shanks that William Foxwell Albright, Ovid Sellers, and other educated people, including himself, found soiling their own hands by digging beneath their dignity. (This changed when the Isrealis were running the place, after 1948). Arab laborers were supervised by taskmasters that used whips. Gordon explained,"That's the only communication they understood". [1]

Kuratowski's Ghost 08:42, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

First, let's get this straight, the interview is in Biblical Archaeology (magazine), obviously the magazine is focused around Biblical archaeology. The acknowledgement of the violation of human rights of humble people and the prejudice and pride of a so-called pious scholarly elite, who wouldn't dirty their hands, is more important than the collection of the musty artifacts and ruins that will make these jerks famous in the religious world. User:Kazuba 28 Jun 06

The fact that an article is about practices in a particular field doesn't make it unique to that field or even particularly a "method" of that field. The fact that it is covered in a magazine whose remit is in one area doesn't make every comment it makes exclusive to that subject. Please calm down a bit and pause a bit here. I agree that this practice was and is reprehensible. However we must target the correct culprits. Yes "biblical" archaeologists were at fault, but so were archaeologists of many nations and persuasions. Highly valid criticisms, but the problems were deeper and more pervasive than you might grasp from the short section. Also technically speaking this is nothing about "method" in the archaeological sense, but you could perhaps say it is a flawed practice. Also as this criticism is not the "main2purpose of this article it is inappropriate to place this matter at the head of the article. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 12:21, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

3rr rule[edit]

I hope everyone is keeping in mind the 3RR rule. You are not going to get your content in the article by simply adding it and adding it over again. That isn't how wikipedia works. You can't force things like this to get a sounds resolution. Please, everyone, talk this out on this talk page before editing this section again. Seriously.--Andrew c 14:51, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

More Up to Date Research[edit]

A group called the BASE Institute has recently reexamined a variety of texts for the purposes of locating Noah's Ark, the anchors from Paul's Shipwreck off of Malta, and Mount Sinai (as well as the events leading up to the encampment at mount Sinai.) Rather than post their findings here, I will provide their home page web address for reference:

Their research supports a different route taken by the wandering Hebrews, including altars, pillars, boundary markers, a raised sand bar(land bridge), bitter springs, fresh springs with palms, and a charred mountain top. At the very least, it is interesting to consider.

Mr. N.

False research[edit]

Hello, I'm very interested in helping this article expand. First thoughI wanted to ask about Ron Wyatt. I've read several disturbing repots and had a chance to meet the man in person. I do not believe his research to be legitimate. Where ever there is truth there is also an imitation of it. How do you all propose we deal with this? SHould I show some examples and we could discuss them further? --Home Computer 13:37, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Biblical archaeology[edit]

I've done a little editing for the entries on [[Ron Wyatt] and Noah's Ark. More broadly, I feel the article needs to change its focus: at the moment it's little more than a collection of lists; it needs to get into what biblical archaeology was and has become, the challenges it faces, and its future directions. I leave this for another, more energetic, editor. PiCo 10:22, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

New section, "Historical background"[edit]

I've added this new section, which overlaps somewhat with the first two "milestones" sections. This shouldn't be a problem it should be easy to join them. But I want to ask other editors what you think of this addition - it's taking a more historical approach then the "milestone" sections, trying to explain what the importance of people like Petrie and Albright was in the wider world of archaeology and scholarship. So, views please. PiCo 09:21, 13 September 2007 (UTC)


I deleted this Definitions section as the History sections now contain definitions. But there's good material here, so I'm pasting it here in case anyone wants to mine it in the future. PiCo 06:56, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

+++++++ "The purpose of Biblical archaeology is the clarification and illumination of the Biblical text and content through archaeological investigation of the Biblical world." (J. K. Eakins)[1]

Bryant G. Wood wrote, "The purpose of Biblical archaeology is to enhance our comprehension of the Bible, and so its greatest achievement, in my view, has been the extraordinary illumination of the... time of the Israelite monarchy." [2]

In a statement of a more nuanced opinion of Biblical archaeology, Robert I. Bradshaw notes, "It is virtually universally agreed that the purpose of biblical archaeology is not to 'prove' the Bible, however as much as archaeology sheds light on that history it is important to biblical studies". [3]

The American archaeologist William Dever contributed to the article "Archaeology" in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (see Anchor Bible Series). There he assessed several negative effects of the close relationship that has existed between Syro-Palestinian archaeology and the Biblical archaeology of the Holy Land, which have especially caused American archaeologists in this field to lag behind the new "processual archaeology" in the region, generally considered: "Underlying much of the skepticism in our own field [about the adaptation of the concepts and methods of the "new archaeology"], one suspects, was the assumption (albeit unspoken, or even unconscious) that ancient Palestine, especially Israel in the biblical period, was unique—somehow 'superhistorical' not governed by the normal principles of cultural evolution," and he claims "...the 'new archaeology' of the 1970s-1980s became passé before we had even caught up with it" [4](p 357).

Dever finds that Syro-Palestinian archaeology in American institutions has been treated as a subdiscipline of Biblical studies. American archaeologists in this region were expected to try "to provide historical validation for episodes in the biblical tradition." According to Dever, "[t]he most naïve [misconception about Syro-Palestinian archaeology] is that the rationale and purpose of "biblical archaeology" (and, by extrapolation, Syro-Palestinian archaeology) is simply to elucidate the Bible, or the lands of the Bible" [5](p 358)

Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, William G. Dever writes:

Until about a generation ago Biblical achaeologists spoke confidently about William Foxwell Albright's "archaeological revolution". It would assuredly enhance our understanding and appreciation of the Bible and its timeless message-which was thought to be absolutely essential to our cherished Western culture condition.

The Bible and the "Christian West," as formerly conceived, are fighting for their lives. Not only has modern archaeology not helped to confirm the earlier tradition, it appears to some to be part of the process to undermine it. This is a not-so-well kept secret among professional archaeologists.

The failure of the "archaeological revolution" means tryng to occupy the beleaguered middle ground, neither extreme skeptics or naive credulists. The clock cannot be turned back to the time when archaeology allegedly "proved the Bible." Archaeology as it is practiced today must be able to challenge, as well as confirm, the Bible stories. Some things described there really did happen, but others did not. The Biblical narratives about Abraham, Moses, Joshua and Solomon probably reflect some historical memories of people and places, but the "larger than life" portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and contradicted by the archaeological evidence. Some of Israel's ancestors probably did come out of Egyptian slavery, but there was no military conquest of Canaan, and many, if not most, of the Israelites throughout the Monarchy were polytheists. Monotheism may have been an ideal of Bible writers. Archaeology cannot not decide what the supposed events described in the Bible mean. That decision is left up to each individual. Archaeology cannot decide this question; it can only sharpen our focus.[6](Dever, 2006

Charles Warren[edit]

Dear User:PiCo, I appreciate all the work you're putting into your revisions, but don't appreciate your recent removal of Charles Warren's contributions. Please put it back in, or explain your justification here.--Funhistory 13:46, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I've restored that material. What I want to do though is to create a new section dealing with the achievements of biblical archaeology in the past and the work being done at persent. The editing I've done so far is more to set the theoretical and intellectual framework, but the achievements also need to be covered. PiCo 01:45, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

  • Support - after years of reading this subject I have never come across the term "Christian archaeology" the usual one is "Biblical ... " and even that is being challenged but from a different perspective. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 17:27, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

The opening sentence of Christian archeology points out, correctly, that its subject is "more commonly termed "Biblical Archaeology"". While there are those who make a distinction between the two, I think that even if we accept that position, these two articles fall into the category of "Overlap" at Help:Merging_and_moving_pages#Merging. I won't state support since I am the proposer, so my support is implicit. Merenta (talk) 17:31, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Support, for the excellent reasons given above. PiCo (talk) 15:14, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I've done the deed - all that I moved here were a few references. All other subjects there were already covered here and in links herein. The former talk page for that article is now at Talk:Biblical archaeology/Archive of Talk:Christian archaeology. Merenta (talk) 00:33, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm a bit worried about the fairly recent addition to the article:

Nevertheless, "biblical archaeology" is yet not discredited in the eyes of all experts. Although the academic community today has largely rejected the approach of Albright[19], saying that the Bible's histories are politically-motivated stories without historical basis, many claim the current scholarship itself has political biases, largely aimed at discrediting Zionism. [20][21]This school claims the current scholarship is heavily reliant on speculations that the Bible's history is largely "politically motivated fables", and that this hypothesis is unsupported by any evidence.[22]
Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Neil Silberman, in their 2001 book "The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts" and their 2006 "David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition", have posited that Jerusalem at the time of David and Solomon was nothing more than a small village. But in 2005, Dr. Eilat Mazar (under the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; with the Ir David ("City of David", the original Jebusitic Jerusalem) Foundation, the Israel National Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities authority), in excavating Ir David, found what is believed to be the remains of King David's massive palace; it dates to the proper era, is found in the proper location, and is distinctively Phoenician in architecture (the palace, according to II Samuel 5:11, was built by King Hiram of Tyre). This undermines the theory that the kingship of David was but a myth, and even more so the theory that Jerusalem was only a village at the time.[23][24]
Moreover, many ranking archaeologists have not bought into the new view (or have not accepted it in toto). For example, the Hebrew University’s Amnon Ben-Tor and Amihai Mazar, the University of Pennsylvania's Baruch Halpern, and Dr. Eilat Mazar. [25] Furthermore, the new theories, in asserting the untruth of the Biblical history (especially its political history), themselves rely on speculation of political context, speculations unsupported by any archaeological or literary evidence. [26]

Is this on-topic? Albrightean biblical archaeology is a philosophy (we use archaeology to illuminate the bible - and, by implication, ignore everything else, which is the reason it fell out of favour), but this editor seems to view it as a set of results - basically the questions over the nature of the Davidic kingdom raised by Finkelstein et al. This is a matter of history, not archaeology - it's easy to confuse the two, when arcghaeology is the means by which the history is written, but there is a difference. Anyway, I think the author is a bit off out topic (although perhaps it points to the need for a new section discussing these matters?) PiCo (talk) 02:46, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

So, the section of addition mentioned is talking about what, "Biblical Archaeology", and what is the title of the article "Biblical Archaeology"! So surely then the question is, 'are the comments notable?', appear so. And are they appropriately referenced and appear to not be Original research. Can't see the concern. Bang on topic as far as I can see. Regardless of your opinion on the subject in hand. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:19, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

That's what I was getting at in the last sentence of my post - off-topic for the section, therefore a new section is needed? PiCo (talk) 09:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Ok, grasp the meaning better now. I can agree to that. How about "==Debate still open==" or something like it. :: Kevinalewis : (Talk Page)/(Desk) 09:55, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

My intention in writing this text, was that the preceding text told how Albright's theory was overturned by recent activity, and so I added that this conclusion was not forgone. However, I have no objection to making it into its own section, even though I think it was perfectly on-topic; if anything, this will improve readability. Sevendust62 (talk) 04:00, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The list is growing[edit]

Thanks for adding the ration tablets, but the list is getting longer and longer. Is it time to try to reduce the number of words, if not the number of entries? (The Stone of Scone could go, surely).PiCo (talk) 05:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Personally, I'd prefer to see the "William F. Albright and the Biblical Archaeology school", "Biblical archaeology today", & "Debates over the status of biblical archaeology today" sections go, or at least be reduced to a single paragraph, or spawned off to an entirely new page called something like Biblical archaeology's debated history. That would be the first victim of my scissors since it mostly contains speculative opinions, & my original intention for this page was to simply show examples & when & what was found related to something characteristic of "Biblical archaeology". In other words, this page should answer the question, "What constitutes B.A.?", not "What is the problem with the label, 'B.A.'? or "How have different people from different backgrounds differed over 'B.A.'?" B.A. is essentially an excavation &/or artifact with a specific connection to the Bible; nobody's gonna argue that the Rations Tablets have no bearing on 2Kings & Jeremiah.
    • No objection to this idea. Not sure about an alternative title, but we'll think of something.
  • Secondly, I would agree that much of the textual descriptions could be chopped from the lists, but there should be some criteria. If the list item does not already have its own wiki-entry, its description should be limited to what I did for the Rations Tablets--What is its specific content related to the Bible?, What are the relevant Biblical verses?, & What's its provenance (since this last criterion is what determines which list it belongs in)? If it already has its own wiki-entry, its entry in the list should only be a single phrase containing the link that gives the reader an immediate/obvious idea of why it belongs in this particular list.
    • Could the list be recast as a table? The table headings would help organise the description of each item - headings could include "Provenance", "Description", "Comment" and maybe "Bible ref." The Joash inscription, for example, could then be described as "antiquities market - stele ascribed to King Joash (wikiling included) - identified as forgery - bible-verse" This is off the top of my head and something more thought-out would be better.
  • Let the chopping commence!--Funhistory (talk) 15:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
    • It's your list, so I'll let you do the editing if you agree with the suggestion - but I'm ken to help. PiCo (talk) 03:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Deleting section "Debates over biblical archaeology today"[edit]

I deleted this section as it confuses biblical archaeology, which is a process, with biblical historicity, which is a matter of interpretation. The question of whether the bible is a reliable guide to the history of ancient Israel is not quite the same thing as whether the bible is a good guide to the interpretation of archaeological evidence. Please, there's another article on the historicity of the bible.

Please explain deletion of WP:RS for archaeology[edit]

Verifiable facts from two reliable sources have been deleted. The reliable souces deleted are distinguished archaeologists who have published their conclusions in peer reviewed literature, books, and the popular press. Professor Israel Finkelstein is the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and is also the co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel. Professor Ze'ev Herzog is at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University, and the director of The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology since 2005. The deleted reliable sources are:

Also, even if it is your personal opinion that these sources are biased, please bear in mind Wikipedia's "non-negotiable" WP:NPOV policy:

All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. This is non-negotiable and expected of all articles, and of all article editors. … The acronym NPOV does not mean "no points of view". The elimination of article content cannot be justified under this policy by simply labeling it "POV".

I will restore the deleted highly relevant verifiable facts from these reliable sources. If there is a good reason based upon other WP:RS or Wikipedia policy for not including this significant and highly relevant information, please explain. Écrasez l'infâme (talk) 15:58, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

You make a number of NPOV violations in this content, which you have also plastered onto Ten Commandments with no modifications. I agree that the "non-traditionalist" perspective needs adequate representation, you must be careful to avoid language like "shocking revelations" etc etc. You might be convinced that the traditionalists are wrong, but the reader is (presumably) unprejudiced and does not need to be "persuaded" beyond giving a reasonable representation of the facts. JFW | T@lk 16:06, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the f/b. Here is my attempt at an WP:RS WP:NPOV representation of their views:

Extensive archaeological research and findings contradicts the Bible's main historical account given in Exodus,[7][8] resulting in the general historical conclusions reached by a consensus of several prominent archaeologists who have studied the record: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the Land of Israel in a military campaign, did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel, there is no evidence of the existence of David's or Solomon's conquests, kingdom, or vast empire, and Jewish monotheism appeared in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.[7][8]

I'll reinsert, and please criticize where appropriate. Écrasez l'infâme (talk) 17:31, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

At the risk of being accused of copyright infringement, I will copy here, verbatim, a paragraph from a reliable source on the Bible, that is, the introduction of Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties from Gleason Archer.

Whenever historical accounts of the Bible are called in question on the basis of alleged disagreement with the findings of archaeology or the testimony of ancient non-Hebrew documents, always remember that the Bible is itself an archaeological document of the highest caliber. It is simply crass bias for critics to hold that whenever a pagan record disagrees with the biblical account, it must be the Hebrew author that was in error. Pagan kings practiced self-laudatory propaganda, just as their modern counterparts do; and it is incredibly naive to suppose that because a statement was written in Assyrian cuneiform or Egyptian hieroglyphics it was more trustworthy and factual than the Word of God composed in Hebrew.

So if you want an NPOV wording on the fact there is no archaeological evidence of this or that part of the Bible narrative, you must take into account Archer's position. --Blanchardb-MeMyEarsMyMouth-timed 22:55, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Hi! I agree that deleting the content involved without attempting to discuss the issues (See WP:CONSENSUS) was probably a mistake. I agree that there may be wording issues in the presentation of some of this material. In particular, it might be useful to source assertion's of these researcher's importance. Instead of simply asserting "extensive archaelogical research...", it might be useful to find a secondary source that conveys Professor Finkelstein's reputation in the archaelogical world and the extent to which his views have gained acceptance there. Particularly given the article subject, rather than simply give the conclusion it might be useful to provide a brief foundation for it, saying something about the research leading to those conclusions and how people arrived at them. The explanation doesn't have to be detailed in the introduction, just enough to convey a flavor. I might something like "decades of archaeological excavation and examination of sites associated with the biblical accounts (source to general text), together with improving methods to identify and date evidence of structures and artifacts (source to general text), have resulted in evidence that some of the events described may not have taken place. Professor Finkelstein has concluded that sufficient evidence has developed to rule a number of these accounts out, in particular...According to Source X, Professor Finkelstein's view has gained widespread acceptance in the archaeological community and is considered the current working view..." By providing more explanation of the context and building a better foundation for the views involved, and by providing sources for conclusions and assertions of importance, one can be both more informative and neutral at the same time. It might also be useful to mention any significant minority opinions or doubts within the archaeological world. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:01, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The deletion is not justified, simply because edits need not be perfect, to say nothing of WP:PRESERVE. Besides, I'm not sure how much can be said to a biblical inerrantist like Archer, but your point is well taken that the Bible is an archaeological document. Like any other such document, if you go dig a bunch of holes in an attempt to unearth confirmation of that document, but instead find that the results contradict that document, then one is compelled to certain conclusions, some stronger than others. The cited WP:RS rely mainly on stuff they dug up, or didn't dig up where and when it should have been to agree with the Bible, and the pagan record, though relevant is secondary—but even no non-Biblical record even mentions any the Exodus events, so you don't even have a case of disagreement, but one of nonexistence. Furthermore, this is a relatively recent problem for biblical inerrantists (after Archer), as these archaeological conclusions have been reached in the last thirty years or so, while Israel has been busy attempting to establish an archaeological argument for their occupation of the entire Land of Israel. I'll also add that the Illiad too is a archaeological document, and arguments like Archers could be used for it too, proving nothing. For these reasons, I'm reverting the deletion and will come bacl later to incorporate some of the other suggestions. If Shirahadasha would like to improve the edit, please feel free. Écrasez l'infâme (talk) 00:41, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
While facts are always welcome, unwarranted conclusions are not. There are no less than 6 statements in your edit that qualify as unwarranted conclusions. (See Talk:Bible to see which statements should be removed altogether from your edit.) Per WP:3RR, I'll let someone else do the revert. --Blanchardb-MeMyEarsMyMouth-timed 01:08, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Revert accomplished. Rlsheehan (talk) 01:52, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Some of the material from Écrasez could go into the article on Biblical archaeology‎ which is a much better fit than in the Bible article. Facts must be properly cited (without editorializing) and conclusions must fit the facts. Specifically, the lack of proven archaeological artifacts does not prove that something did not exist nor does it prove that artifacts never will be found. Rlsheehan (talk) 13:09, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Deleting section Exodus[edit]

I deleted a section on the archaeology of Exodus. This article cannot possible cover the archaeology of every single biblical book and incident - there isn't space. This material belongs in the article Exodus if anywhere. PiCo (talk) 06:45, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I concur! And as I stated in response to the person who felt it was important to mention that the Wailing Wall disproves the prophecy by Jesus, the purpose of this page is merely to list & describe things that represent what Biblical archaeology "is", or has uncovered in terms of tangible artifacts (where & when), not what the implications are from interpretations of those artifacts.--Funhistory (talk) 15:53, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Changing to wikilists[edit]

I propose putting the material in sections 4-11 in sortable lists. I experimented with putting everything in a single list but it doesn't seem to work. Below are examples of the two tables I propose creating. Please let me know what you think of the basic idea, and if you approve, feel free to suggest changes. PiCo (talk) 10:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

(Examples no longer necessary; see article's history.--Funhistory (talk) 15:17, 10 August 2008 (UTC))

There's no point putting up more examples as they all look the same. A question mark indicates that the entry is uncertain, a dash indicates simply that there's no entry. Entries under the Comments field should ideally be restricted to the major aims/results of the excavation, without interpretation.

I've tried to show how three different items might be recorded in this table. It would be good if it could be combined with the first table - it has the same number of columns - but the information seems too different.

For comment and suggestions. PiCo (talk) 10:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Great job! I like it very much! Thanks!--Funhistory (talk) 14:41, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I've converted the material in the Milestones Before 1914 section to the Excavations table as a beginning. I've included surveys with excavations, as they do seem to have a fit under the column heads. I've changed the Modern Name heading to Site, because the essential point is to identify excavations by means of the reports, and reports are always in terms of sites, rather than simply modern names. On the technical side, I found it was necessary to have something in each cell - it simply makes editing too confusing if you have empty cells. Let me know what you think. PiCo (talk) 07:53, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I've finished off the excavations/surveys. There may be errors, feel free to correct them. At the moment I'm leaving the existing sections so they can be used as a reference, but eventually they can be deleted. PiCo (talk) 05:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It still looks fine, & I don't think the dates/sites need to remain in the existing sections, though I think the Milestone sections themselves can stay.--Funhistory (talk) 15:17, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I've started the 2nd table, for artifacts. As I was writing I realised that the column for "Excavated/discovered by" is probably unnecessary - that information can be given under "Provenance." I might go back and fix this up later. I've also left out most of the inscribed bullae - there's so many of them, and I would strongly suggest instead that we have a single entry describing them as a class and mentioning some of the more important names found on them...PLUS, I'd suggest the creation of a new article about this class of artifact, rather like the existing article on LMLK seals. Then any reader who wants more detailed information can find it at that article. I've also tried to shorten a few entries. Anyway, I'll stop now and and invite comments. (talk) 09:46, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I've made a third table for "artifacts of doubtful/disproven provenance", as it needs fewer columns and the other artifacts table was getting too long anyway. PiCo (talk) 04:45, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Split - creating new article for Biblical archaeology school[edit]

I've more or less finished the creation of wikilists for the factual material in the Landmarks sections, although they need to be checked.

I've also hived off 2 paragraphs, dealing essentially with Albright and the Biblical archaeology school which he founded, as a separate article. Albright's movement was an academic one concerned with theory, while this article is concerned with recording excavations and artifacts, not their interpretation.

I believe that all the material from the landmarks sections is now reflected in the tables or in the new introduction. If others agree, those sections can be deleted.

PiCo (talk) 09:57, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


A section on interpretation has been added to allow editors to include different interpretations of biblical archaeology. A sub-section on Nomadist Theory has been moved from the Bible page for a better fit: see the Bible talk page for discussion. Note that editors on that page believe that there may be a POV and other problems with the present wording. Editors can fix this section here. Rlsheehan (talk) 13:39, 22 August 2008 (UTC)


This article establishes a point of view rather than describe the topic. It establishes Dever as the authority on the subject, but does not cite his election or credentials. Overall neutrality is not maintained.

Stay Faithful (talk) 20:07, 3 January 2010 (UTC) trbryant

I've given you a welcome message with some useful links. Articles are meant to have a 'neutral point of view', which is not the same as being neutral. I suggest you read WP:NPOV and WP:RS and that might help you understand the article, or return here with questions directly related to our policies and guidelines. Dougweller (talk) 20:46, 3 January 2010 (UTC)


This article, especially the section on the Hebrew Bible, presses a pretty obvious POV. Its mostly cites biblical minimalists like Finkelstein and Dever, as well as the dubious "Biblical Secrets Unearthed" series. A good number of scholars would disagree with what it says. The real problem isn't that it shows what biblical minimalists say, but rather than it A)suggests that their view is the mainstream view and B) uses certainty language, suggesting we can be sure about more than we can be sure about.RomanHistorian (talk) 03:02, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

I've removed the 10 'dubious' tags you added - even one linked to a book, which is clearly inappropriate. That's complete over-tagging. Take up specific issues by all means. There is no such series as "Biblical Secrets Unearthed", by the way. And "[Israel Finkelstein|Finkelstein]] and Silberman regard modern archaeological evidence[dubious ] as showing that this is a pious fiction" seems to indicate a complete lack of understanding about such tags - how is that dubious? Dougweller (talk) 05:08, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I understand and apologize. As for the quote, it is dubious because it implies that the view of a couple of biblical minimalists is

the 'consensus' view.RomanHistorian (talk) 14:31, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Israel Finkelstein is not a biblical minimalist, he is a biblical centrist, despite what some people say about him. Also, Bill Dever is a maximalist, not a minimalist, I have never heard anyone suggest at any point that he is a minimalist or even in the center camp. Who told you this? I am biased as I am an acquaintance (if that) of Prof. Finkelstein's, but he is no minimalist, he just goes by the evidence, although he has maybe gone a bit too far once or twice (such as in determining the size of Persian period Jerusalem). Finkelstein is mostly in the mainstream for today's views last I checked. He doesn't suggest tossing out the bible or that it has minimal history, but says we need to be careful in our use of it. He is not like Lemche or Thompson in saying it was written in the Persian period or some such nonsense. The Bible Unearthed isn't dubious as you put it btw, it's solid archaeology. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 02:09, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Statement " Many scholars, such as Darrell Bock, believe they were written, directly or indirectly, by eyewitnesses"[edit]

I couldn't find that in the source, can someone else find it please? Or remove the claim? Dougweller (talk) 20:52, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Look here:[1]RomanHistorian (talk) 04:35, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
I did, that's why I asked. Please be more explicit. The word eyewitnesses isn't there, or at least my eyes don't see it. Dougweller (talk) 05:42, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Read the paragraph that begins with "in fact" and then the rest of the page for context. When he says "many scholars think we know who wrote these works", he is referring to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for the gospels and acts, and the other traditional authors (Paul, James, ect) for the rest of the NT. Some of these (Matthew, John, Paul, ect) were eyewitnesses. The scholars who doubt these traditional accounts have no historical persons as candidates for having written these books.RomanHistorian (talk) 06:06, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

What does this have to do with the article?[edit]

I just realised that I've gotten myself lost as to what page this as I was looking at my watchlist at Authorship of the Bible edits. This is not that article, this is 'Biblical archaeology' and this doesn't belong here at all. Dougweller (talkcontribs) 07:41, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I've removed the non-archaeological discussion - no reason why stuff about C14 dating, etc. shouldn't be there however. Dougweller (talk) 07:59, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

WikiProject Israel[edit]

Why isn't this covered in WikiProject Israel as well? Most of our work occurs within the internationally recognised borders of Israel. I see no reason not to include this in it. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, AKA TheArchaeologist Say Herro 02:38, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Göbekli Tepe, lead[edit]

Göbekli Tepe has nothing to do with biblical archaeology. I've gone back to the orginal lead as I think 'biblical world' is open to too many interpretations. Dougweller (talk) 15:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Merger... again?[edit]

Apparently (see above) the Christian archaeology article was already merged into this one once. But it (again?) exists as a separate article, and is fairly substantial. If Christian archaeology is a genuine, New Testament-focused sub-discipline of Biblical archaeology (and my oh-so-scientific survey of one archaeologist suggests that it's not), that article needs to be heavily rewritten to make it clearly subordinate to this one. If not, it needs to be redirected here and any useful content merged into this article. -- Perey (talk) 13:49, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Definitely approve of a merge and redirect from Christian archaeology. I'll have a crack at a merge if no-one more qualified jumps up soon PatHadley (talk) 17:09, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I've been at Syro-Palestinian Archaeology (also called Biblical Archaeology in the very recent old days/when you need funding from donor kebabs) for almost six years now and I've never actually heard the term "Christian archaeology" before. The two major problems with that article are that it ignores the Old Testament aspects of biblical archaeology and it is little more than a list. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 30 Shevat 5774 17:47, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Good to know! If you're confidant that there's not much to be saved from Christian Archaeology perhaps a bold delete and redirect is in order? PatHadley (talk) 18:40, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not by any means an expert-I've only a B.A. in archaeology at the moment, for one thing-and my never having heard of Christian archaeology shouldn't be grounds for deleting an article, especially when the info from that article could be used for other articles (unless it's been cut-and-pasted from existing articles). Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 30 Shevat 5774 18:57, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Better look at [2] although the existence of such a field doesn't mean they should be separate articles. Dougweller (talk) 19:28, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
First thing would be to make sure it's about archaeology and not the study of texts, and that any sections that have main articles are actually summaries of the main article per WP:SUMMARY. Then we can make a better judgement. Dougweller (talk) 19:31, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Just realised as it stands it says "Christian Archeology (more commonly termed "Biblical Archaeology"" which makes it a fork from this one of the sort we try to avoid as if it's called Biblical archaeology, well, that's this article. Dougweller (talk) 19:33, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Not suggesting they should be, I'm just thinking the text should be salvaged, if possible. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 1 Adar I 5774 01:33, 1 February 2014 (UTC) And thanks for the link as well. We never really distinguised between biblical archaeology and 'Christian archaeology' in undergrad. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 1 Adar I 5774 01:34, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

Biblical and "Syro-Palestinian" Archaeology[edit]

Let me just clear up the overwhelming tilt the overcitation of Dever seems to be creating in this article. First, neither Dever nor any other archaeologist in Israel suggests that most of the Bible (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible) is ahistorical in its entirety. This is perfectly shown by a broadcast on April 24, 2000 between Dever, Gerald Steinberg (politican studies professor) and Ze'ev Herzog, an expert archaeologist and professor of archaeology at The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. Herzog says the following:

"We should distinguish within the biblical literature and documentation between two periods. First, the period of the monarchies of Judah and Israel from the ninth century to the sixth century is well-documented, both in archaeological and in documents from neighbouring countries, mainly Assyrian and this chapter in history as well is grounded in both sources and there is no debate about its historicity. The discussion is about the earlier phases which we would call a protohistory of the Israelites, the episodes in Egypt, the wandering in Sinai, the very story of the patriarchs, the military conquest. And all these events, which are described in detail in the biblical stories, appear to be contradicting. Not the absence of evidence, but very detailed investigations of archaeology over the last 70 years, which presents factual evidence different from the biblical one, basically showing that the population which later was developed into the states of Judah and Israel, originally orientated from within the country, did not come from Egypt, or from any other place." [3]

But if he's really willing to stretch the rubber band to the last 70 years (twice as much as what Dever gives who considers the end of biblical archaeology's conservative tyranny to have ended in the last generation - Biblical Archaeological Review, Vol. 32 Mar/Apr), has he not read David Noel Freedman and Edward F. Campbell's, The Biblical Archaeologist Reader? In Volume 2 (1964), I paraphrase the following remarkably accurate, historical confirmations of the earliest traditions about the Patriarchs in Genesis:

1. The names Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph are typical names of the period and places. (The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol.2, p.16)

2. Sarah gives Hagar, a concubine, to Abraham due to her own infertility. This was exactly what the custom was there at the time. Although Eliezer was a slave of Abraham's, he was his heir, just like in those times. (Ibid., p.22). The custom was that if the wife would have a child, the servant-woman who had children should not be exiled, which is why Abraham was so upset with Sarah. (p.23)

3. The Hurrians (biblical sons of Hamor/Horites) were the nobles of Western Asian cities (i.e. Shechem), thus how Shechem was able to convince the entire town to circumcise themselves so he would have a bride.

4. The blessing of Isaac upon Jacob was legally binding even in a literate society like Mari! Also, a similar case exists in the documents of Mari to Esau's selling of his birthright for a bowl of soup - a brother had sold his inheritance for three sheep, no doubt induced by similarly dire circumstances that were exploited by the other brother. (Ibid. pp.23-24, 27).

5. The situation with Laban and Jacob's toil under him as well as every detail of the story completely matches the situation of the time. (pp.25ff.)

Many more examples exist that completely contradict the general impression Dever et al try to create with their assessment. If the traditions got so many cultural details that wouldn't have existed in their own time right, how is it that they practiced "creative writing" with much of the proto-history of Israel? On the one hand Herzog admits the historical picture (for which he says we have plenty of archaeology and history) is not under question for 900-500 BC, on the other hand there was a mythology-spree for the history of 900 BC and earlier even though much of the customs are confirmed!

But what of other events such as the Exodus and the Conquest? In the case of the Exodus, the ancients were not in a habit of recording their losses and often turned them into victories (so the chroniclers of Shalmaneser III regarding the Battle of Qarqar which he most certainly lost - Ibid. p.158). Secondly, one cannot expect archaeological evidence in the case of a nomadic, non-sedentary people as the Hebrews were for a mere 40 years during the Exodus. This is perfectly exemplified with the origin of the Ammonites. Hence, George M. Landes writes in, 'The Material Civilization of the Ammonites' (p.70): "The biblical tradition that the Ammonites, along with their brothers the Moabites, originated in southern Transjordan (near Zoar, cf. Gen. 19:30) can probably never be demonstrated historically, since in all probability they began as nomadic clans who would leave behind little or no evidence of their existence." It is of course no different with the Exodus.

What about the Conquest? First, the reason why the situation is said to contradict the Bible is because the Conquest is dated to the late 13th century BC, instead of the early 14th! The evidence fits the Bible much better if we assume a 15th/14th century BC. As for the general impression given by the lack of specifically Israelite pottery and objects in Canaan is because the Israelites had no such original culture - they would have been thoroughly saturated of the Semitic and Canaanite influence of the Goshen already. The same is the case with early Christian artwork which is indistinguishable from Greco-Roman artwork because that's the culture the Christians inherited culturally!

In the same BAR article, Dever writes, "Monotheism may have been the ideal of Biblical writers, but many, if not most, Israelites throughout the Monarchy were polytheists."

This is no secret even in the Bible that the Israelites frequently abandoned the Israelite religion for Canaanite religions. Even Solomon succumbed to this in the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 3:2-3). One can still hear the Old Testament lament of how only Israel abandoned their religion. But it's quite a different story to suggest the original religion was polytheistic. Had this been the case there would have never been a monotheistic cultic center in Jerusalem or Bible! The few obscure references one can strain in the Old Testament as signs of polytheism cannot account for a polytheistic origin that was replaced, especially as late as the "waning monarchy" of Ze'ev Herzog. When Akhenaten attempted to merely bring to prominence one deity exclusively (but not even attempt to eliminate the rest of the gods), after his death his changes were forcefully reversed to the point that he was given a Damnatio Memoriae by the follow Pharaoh. A pharaoh, who was considered a divine incarnation of a god was completely shunned from Egyptian history and the public mindset for merely attempting something like this - who could have gotten away with this in Israel and the endless polytheistic Israelites? The constant external pressures that Judah faced from c.900 BC - 500 BC completely rule out a strong centralized system that could have changed the entire already established and centralized cultic system at Judah that certainly wouldn't have allowed something like this and keep it so for generations. Proof of this is the consistent stubbornness of the Israelite population itself! Thus Dever's statement that the Biblical writers had a monotheistic ideal completely falls apart on itself - these writers were ISRAelites themselves who would have preferred the same thing as the Israelites if the Judaic cult's origin was polytheistic (they would have certainly known this as in the case of Akhenaten it was known that the Egyptians had many powerful deities, not just one strong one). If the Judaic cult had major problems bringing and keeping the majority of people under monotheism, how can some monotheistic movement or force be powerful enough to come, being extremely unpopular, replace the cult with monotheism, and keep it that way in the face of the Israelites? Royal support? But none of the kings are recorded as being anti-pagan and removing the high places, except three: David, Hezekiah, and Josiah! It is completely impossible!

Perhaps some of this information should be at least obliquely reflected in the article and not make it seem like archaeology is basically the Bible's worst nightmare! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Renassault (talkcontribs) 12:38, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Please read WP:TALK and WP:NOTFORUM. Your opinions on the subject matter are not appropriate here. You should find a different outlet. Zerotalk 15:21, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

"branch of the archaeological sciences"[edit]

If a Google search is any guide, the term "Biblical Archaeology" is rarely used except by self styled "Biblical Archaeologists" and "Bible Historians" and suchlike. I did find "biblical archaeology, which seeks evidence and explanation for events described in the Bible" Society for American Archaeology.

As evidenced by the Expert commentaries section, the definition and "scientific" nature of biblical archaeology is controversial. This is not reflected in the intro and "Archaeology" sections, which are based entirely on the opinions of Biblical Archaeologists and their proponents. Keith McClary (talk) 20:17, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Periods in biblical archaeology section[edit]

I feel like Cline's Table 2 in Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (2009; 33-34) would be a better and more up-to-date source than Mercer's Dictionary of the Bible (1990) for the relative dating time periods used in Syro-Palestinian Archaeology. That said, I was a student of Cline's and have worked with him a lot, so I don't want to sound like I'm biased. That said, I do think this would be a good edit to make as the current one is out-of-date (it's almost as old as I am!) and it doesn't really make sense in the MB section. It was based on Mazar's Table 2 in Archaeology of the Land of the Bible - 10,000–586 B.C.E. (1992; 30), but has been updated to reflect the views of 2009 (at least his view as confusion over this dating system is an ever-present mess). Does anyone have any objections? Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 11 Shevat 5775 06:06, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Strong support for this. Dougweller (talk) 10:25, 31 January 2015 (UTC)
Done, although I had to use Mercer for the later bits and my computer botched the initial edit.



  1. ^ Eakins, J. K. (1977). "Benchmarks in Time and Culture". 
  2. ^ Wood, Bryant G. "Article on the purpose of Archaeology". Biblical Archaeology Review (May-June, 1995): p. 33. 
  3. ^ Bradshaw, Robert I. "Biblical Archaeology comments". 
  4. ^ Dever, William G. "Archaeology". The Anchor Bible Dictionary. p. 357. 
  5. ^ Dever, William G. "Archaeology". The Anchor Bible Dictionary. p. 358. 
  6. ^ Dever, William G. (2006). "The Western Cultural Tradition Is at Risk". Biblical Archaeology Review. 32, No 2: 26 & 76.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (|date= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference Herzog was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference Finkelstein was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

Out-of-date dig list[edit]

From what I can see, the list of digs hasn't been updated in almost seven years. If BAR's Find a Dig is any indication, this list needs quite a bit of work. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 27 Shevat 5775 15:13, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

A lot of stuff needs to be added. More, and more evidence keeps getting dug up. The anti-semitic attitudes, and bible naysayers have held everything back far too long. You cannot ignore what is right in front of your eyes.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 13 May 2015 (UTC) 

The subject is too large and contentious.[edit]

I think we should break it up into six linked pages. First we separate the secular Israel Finkelstein type interpretations from the purely biblical interpretations. Then we separate the history into three phases as (pre-Iron Age), (Age I, IIA, IIB, IIC), (Exile to Roman/Christian).

So you're talking about the high and low chronology debate in Israel (which is now pretty much resolved because of how close the dates have gotten) or the three main schools of archaeological interpretation (Minimalist, Centrist, and Maximalist)? I'm a wee bit confused here as you seem to be talking about several different things as if they're one issue. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 20 Adar 5775 01:54, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
As I said, the three primary schools of interpretation are Minimalist (also called Copenhagen school, and believe the Bible has little or no value as a history) supported mainly by Niels Peter Lemche, but none of them are archaeologists (I'm a biblical centrist and like my fellow centrists, don't much care for the minimalists), Centrist (Bible has some truth borne out by archaeology), supported by many people such as Eric H. Cline, Fink, and a whole host of others, and lastly the Maximalists (the Bible is 100% true and this is proved by archaeology), that's the biggest school, and there you have Dever, all the Mazars, Tom Levy, etc. As for Pre-Iron Age would be Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Bronze Age. Unless we're talking about history in terms of written records, in which case, hmmm... maybe the Merneptah stele. A good book to start with would be Cline's a A Very Short Introduction to Biblical Archaeology so we can attack this problem best. Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 20 Adar 5775 03:12, 11 March 2015 (UTC)


The list of "unknown or disproved" items contradicts what is written in the article about these items (see Jehoash inscription and James ossuary for example). It seems that the situation is not as clear as this article wants us to believe. Do you also think that the article should be changed to reflect the uncertain status of these objects? Alæxis¿question? 20:55, 10 November 2015 (UTC)