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archaeological_evidence

Archaeological Evidence

Claims

  • Possibility: Various evidence may or may not exist on either side of the argument. What then is this evidence, can we collect sources of information and use the information to inform any conclusion?
  • Against: No such evidence exists, therefore there is no evidence for the Bible. This doesn't necessarily disprove the Bible (although some people act as if it does) but it might have some minor significance in areas where you would expect evidence to be found.
  • For: Evidence exits and therefore we may draw a conclusion. Then, we would go to the section evidence for and evidence against.
  • Evidence For: Archaeological evidence exists which supports (or does not discount) the Biblical narrative.
  • Evidence Against: Archaeological evidence exists which explicitly disproves the biblical narrative.

The Outside Context Problem

The outside-context problem is essentially the idea that something which exists which appears outside the context of a particular belief, would de facto disprove that belief merely by it's existence. I.E. the existence of a black swan immediately disproves the theory that all swans are white. Another more complex example would be if some event were to occur which was explicitly different than the narrative of a book such as the Bible; such as, if we came across evidence that there were actually three Jewish temples of antiquity instead of two (the first and second, the second being the one which was destroyed in 70ad). So the idea of archaeological evidence existing sort of reminds me of the outside context problem.

Since this is loosely an apologetics website, we are primarily concerned with the idea that there is information which disproves our brand of theology. The idea that there is archaeological evidence to support our position is somewhat less interesting. In any case we will begin by looking for any evidence which can disprove the narrative of the Bible.

Responses

The Bible Unearthed

First watch through, there were some interesting points made before 19:00 but it was at about 18:55 and 19:05 to 20:00 that the first really interesting things were said; that they knew many of the areas spoken of as being inhabited were not inhabited. Speaking solely of the context of the book of Joshua, for example the statement was made that Jericho was simply not inhabited during the 13th century (when Joshua was said to have been there). This claim is worthy of investigation. However, this appears to be one made out of silence, so the strong statement made that “this is not history” does not appear to be supported by the evidence they presented. Further, at 19:57 it is in fact admitted that they have found evidence of at least one of the cities mentioned, which was in fact destroyed at the appropriate time. So then it seems as if the available evidence does verify what it says moreso than these authors have assumed “an absence of evidence is a proof of non-existence” which is a clear logical fallacy.

other notes

  • 21:55 “the sea people did it” the philistines
  • 23:25 argument made that no local group could have done it because it was so powerful
  • 24:00 the statement that as it turns out the existing archaeological evidence only supports the idea that the Israelites destroyed hazel, (so whats the problem?)
    • This type of conclusion is disappointing because I was informed this video presented information specifically disproving the biblical account. To learn that there is no such evidence, that the claim is made out of a lack of evidence, and that all available evidence suggests the story is true, is something of a disappointment.
  • 26:43 archaeological evidence (a steele) from the 9th century BC has been found that refers to King David by name.
  • 27:45 Silberman remains skeptical because there is no archaeological evidence found of Jerusalem being a big city. Again this is a position out of an absence of evidence (see 27:58)
  • 30:10 What do I mean by no evidence –> they claim to have found a settlement or three, but that there was “no garrison, no scribal activity..” etc. None at all implies that the scribal activity was elsewhere and they did not find it (yet), not that none existed – we do know that activity such as scribal activity was prevalent in that age and due to the fact larger settlements were in fact found in the area, esp. those confirming the time of Jherico and King David, that there would have had to be scribal activity somewhere. Again – that none was found – at all – is not evidence that there was no scribal activity!
  • 31:00 Strong archaeological evidence for the Solomon narrative, no doubt among archaeologists that the evidence found confirms Solomons work
    • Yet 10 seconds later, Silberman states we cannot be 100% sure it is true. Why? because he did not find any inscription that stated “I, King Solomon, built this building”(!!) This is actually his stated reasoning in the video, despite consensus over the existing evidence.
    • Remarkably, 10 seconds after making this claim he then admits that there is no reason to doubt the biblical account and that the evidence is so strong the onus has now shifted to the people who claim Solomon has no strong evidence – it is up to them now to dis-prove the theory, i.e. sufficient evidence has been shown that Solomon existed and built his city and temple.

Many other issues were raised that I will comment on during a future watch-through.

Simcha Jacobovich

A two time emmy awarded investigative journalist, his video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XObk07uabLI) discusses the following evidence.

Why the Roadblock?

Egyptian authories usually prohibit filming and exploring areas like Avaris because they are afraid that any discovery which would promote the biblical timeline would strengthen Israel's claim to the land. This bias is shown to exist in modern scholarship as well, where the evidence is usually ignored, buried or misfiled (ex. the prohibition against viewing the Ahmose stele in the Cairo Museum). Why the roadblock? Why the shout-downs and the refusal to discuss evidence in the face of modern academia's biased anti-religious speculation (ex. late date authorship based on refusal to admit prophecy)? Is it just that their atheist nature is unable to hide itself? That they cannot bring themselves to accept the facts in front of their eyes?

The Ahmose Seele

This part of the video discusses the archaeological finds of the mummies of Pharaoh Achmose, his father, and two of his wives, along with the Achmose stele which discusses some of the plagues of Egypt, including statements that 'Egypt was enveloped in Darkness,' and references to a singular (monotheistic) “God” despite Egyptian polytheism.

(ach-moshe: egyptian, 'the moon is born'; hebrew: 'the brother of moses')

Dating past 1500 BC, the Ahmose stele is “covered with heiroglyphic inscriptions that mirror the biblical tale” (8:45).

This Stele was verified by Egyptologist Dr. Donald Redford of Pennsylvania State University (9:10).

Avaris Discoveries

Commented on by Professor Manfred Bietak of the Australian Archaeological Institute (15:30).

The Hyksos Expulsion

The video then links the Hyksos Expulsion, which Ahmose was known for, to the Expodus, using discoveries at Avaris.

Dr. Charles Pellegrino (Author) (16:10) “I think definitely the two stories are related; they are telling the same story from different viewpoints.”

Dating the Exodus

If we go by the scholarly account we want the expodus to occurr at 1270 BC during the reign of Ramses the II. However Prof. John Bimson of Trinity college points out that in the biblical narrative gives information that would put the exodus 480 years before the reign of King Solomon – at least in the middle of the 15th century BC (ex. 1470 BC) – less than 100 years away from the traditional date of the Hyksos expulsion. Due to the close proximity of these dates we have a new 'scholarly' account for the date of the exodus: 1500 BCE.

Prof. Donald Redford (Penn State U) “The Hyksos, and the Hyksos expulsion, are what we are talking about when we talk about the Exodus.” (18:43).

Evidence for the arrival of the Amo (1700BCE)

This evidence confirms and supports the evidence given above, but is a separate set of evidence.

The Tomb of Beni Hassan (1700BCE)

Wall paintings record the migration of Israel into Egypt prior to 1700BCE. Images consistant with biblical descriptions; people named as the 'Amo' (God's People) by the inscription itself.

Joseph son of Israel's seal of Authority was discovered at Avaris – at the archaeological layer it was expected to be found (21:30).

In addition, nine other seals were found which were shown to have been worn by Joseph's court officials (Bietak).

All of the seals were inscribed with the name “(son of) Jacob”. This is the only time that a Hebrew name appears on an Egyptian royal seal.

Literature

Some amount of proof exists in the ancient writings of Egypt. Sources include https://www.thetorah.com/article/the-egyptian-magicians

Plague of Blood

This event has three analogues in Egyptian texts.

Tale of Ipuwer

The Tale of Ipuwer (ca. 1650-1550 B.C.E.), which laments the chaos that has engulfed Egypt, claims: “The river is blood. If one drinks of it, one rejects it and thirsts for water… Foreign tribes have come to Egypt” (2:10, 3:1). As in the biblical text, the Egyptian story describes a bloody Nile and a defeat at the hand of foreigners.

A Demon of Bastet

A ritual text that identifies one of seven demons of the goddess Bastet (here a manifestation of Sekhmet) as “The one who is in the Nile-flood who makes blood” (924-889 BCE). As Thomas Schneider observes: “This could be understood as a demon who creates carnage in the Nile, and thus turns the Nile into blood (Exod 7:17-20).”

Tale of the Heavenly Cow

The Tale of the Heavenly Cow (14th-12th c. BCE), describes how the goddess Sekhmet wreaks havoc upon humankind. When the Nile fills with their blood, she wades into it as far as Herakleopolis. The sun god Re, then tricks Sekhmet by filling the Nile with beer that is the color of blood. When Sekhmet drinks the beer, she becomes drunk and is unable to recognize humankind. The sun god, Re thus averts the complete annihilation of humanity.

These three accounts of the water/Nile being likened to blood in Egyptian literature certainly bear on the blood plague in Egypt, especially since that plague, like the Egyptian accounts, shares in common a theme of destruction.

Hezekiah

2 Kings 18:4 describes Hezekiah as having abolished the bamot, worship sites outside Jerusalem. Archaeologists have discovered decommissioned temples and altars from this period in Lachish, Beersheba, and Arad. (https://www.thetorah.com/article/hezekiahs-reform-the-archeological-evidence)

archaeological_evidence.txt · Last modified: 2022/09/08 16:09 by appledog