Have you ever come across (or been sent a link via email or facebook) about a giant skeleton discovery that confirms the size of Goliath? I have. Many times. They have all been internet hoaxes (like the picture below).
Over at Epic Archaeology Ted Wright has written an excellent article titled “A Quick Guide to Internet Archaeology” in which he provides some principles “and a plea to Christians to be more cautious and use critical thinking skills when it comes to posting internet articles on archaeological discoveries as they relate to the Bible. Not all archaeological discoveries are equal in terms of weight and evidence.”
He recommends five principles before clicking and sharing a post about an archaeological discovery as it relates to the bible.
- Primary and Secondary Archaeological Reporting – Pay attention to who is reporting the excavation.
- Avoid Sensationalism – Double check the facts and not be taken in just because it supports one’s preconceived ideas.
- Know How Archaeology Works – Do some background reading so you know how archaeology is done; what it can do and not do.
- Theological Commitments – Everyone has a theological commitment (or a-theological), so vet the sources, and understand how that commitment colors the excavation.
- The Questions of Apologetics – Archaeology has been a powerful ally of the bible, but there are limitations.
It is definitely worth the read given the proliferation of memes, posts, shares, and tweets that are inundating us today concerning biblical archaeology.
He also provides some helpful internet resources on biblical archaeology. An abbreviated list:
Some other suggestions I would add include:
- Fact check it at some fact checking websites like snopes.com or truthorfiction.com. While not everything is correct at snopes (and they have a theological commitment as well), it is a good place to start to determine if it is an outright hoax.
- Get the ESV Archaeology Study Bible or the NIV Archaeology Study Bible to see what archaeological insights and confirmational discoveries relate to scripture.
- Subscribe to the Biblical Archaeological Review, a bi-monthly journal to keep up to date with some of the discoveries.
Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include: