Archive for the ‘archaeology’ Category

In 1 Samuel 27:5–6 we read about David receiving refuge from King Saul. It reads:

Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” So that day Achish gave him Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.

Archaeologists and researchers from the Hebrew University, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Macquarie University believe that they have discovered the long-lost town of Ziklag mentioned in 1 Samuel (and other passages) which provided refuge for David from King Saul.

Image result for 2 samuel 3

Here are some videos about the discovery:

1 Samuel 30 details how the town of Ziklag was raided and burned down by the Amalekites. The first two verses of that chapter:

Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. 

The Israel national news, Arutz Sheva, reportst that:

The excavation, which began in 2015 at the site of Khirbet a-Ra‘i in the Judaean foothills – between Kiryat Gat and Lachish, has proceeded in cooperation with Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, Head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dr. Kyle Keimer and Dr. Gil Davis of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. The excavation was funded by Joey Silver of Jerusalem, Aron Levy of New Jersey, and the Roth Family and Isaac Wakil both of Sydney. The excavation has been ongoing for seven seasons with large areas being exposed – approximately 1,000 sq.m., leading to this new identification for Ziklag.

Aerial stills of the excavation site. (Emil Aljem, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Resources:

Biblical City From Time of King David Discovered” by staff | Arutz Sheva: Israel National News 7/8/19

Biblical City with Links to King David Discovered in Southern Israel” by James Rogers | Fox News 7/9/19

Lost biblical city of Ziklag discovered by archaeologists” by staff | By Strange Sounds -Jul 9, 2019

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

A Guide to Internet Archaeology

Clay Seal of King Josiah’s Aide Found

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible


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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).

Image result for giant skeletons found israel goliath

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.

  1. Primary and Secondary Archaeological Reporting – Pay attention to who is reporting the excavation.
  2. Avoid Sensationalism – Double check the facts and not be taken in just because it supports one’s preconceived ideas.
  3. Know How Archaeology Works – Do some background reading so you know how archaeology is done; what it can do and not do.
  4. Theological Commitments – Everyone has a theological commitment (or a-theological), so vet the sources, and understand how that commitment colors the excavation.
  5. 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:

Christian Sources:

Associates for Biblical Research

Epic Archaeology

Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

Non-Christian Sources:

Israel Antiquities Authority

Heritage Daily 

Biblical Archaeology Society  

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.

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Clay Seal of King Josiah’s Aide Found

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

2 Kings 23:11 – “He [Josiah] removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.” (NIV)

A clay seal of King Josiah’s aid mentioned in the above passage was found recently found.  According to the Daily Mail, “The seal was found inside a two-storey office building which experts say was burned down by the Babylonians when they conquered the city in 586 BC.”

Nathan-Melech, a high-ranking official in the court of King of Judah, is named in the inscription of one of the tiny clay seals (pictured). It was found inside a two-storey admin building which archaeologists say was burned down by the Babylonians

Nathan-melech, the aide described in the 2 King’s passage, is described as one of Josiah’s officials.  There apparently is little extra-biblical evidence of King Josiah, but this find makes an archaeological connection to this individual.  The inscription on the ring above says, “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.”

Here is a short video of the discovery:

 

Other sources concerning this archaeological discovery:

Clay seal of King Josiah’s aide is found in the remains of an ancient office burnt down by Babylonians in 586 BC – adding weight to proof that the king really existed” by Joe Pinkstone | Daily Mail. April 1, 2019

Tiny First Temple find could be first proof of aide to biblical King Josiah” by Amanda Borschel-Dan | The Times of Israel. March 31, 2019

Archaeological discovery: Small seal mentioning King Josiah court official mentioned in Bible found in Israel” by  Michael Gryboski | The Christian Post. April 1, 2019

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Ring of Pontius Pilate Discovered

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Apologetics is not usually known for producing gripping fictional thrillers, but it does have a few.  In fact, I think you might be surprised by how many novel apologetic works are out there.  Here is a sampling.  If you know of any others add it to the list below with a link to its amazon page.

1. A Skeleton in God’s Closet by Paul L. Maier

As far as I know this was the first (and one of the better imho) novels incorporating apologetics.  Paul L. Maier is the professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University and has written and translated some important historical works such as Josephus: The Essential Works, Eusebius: The Church History, and In the Fullness of Time: A Historian Looks at Christmas, Easter, and the Early Church.

Amazon describes A Skeleton in God’s Closet: “When an ancient skeleton is discovered in Israel, will it shed new light on the life of Jesus or plunge the world into chaos?”

Dr. Jonathan Weber, Harvard professor and biblical scholar, is looking forward to his sabbatical year on an archaeological dig in Israel. But a spectacular find that seems to be an archaeologist’s dream-come-true becomes a nightmare that many fear will be the death rattle of Christianity.Carefully researched and compellingly written, A Skeleton in God’s Closet explores the tension between faith and doubt when science and religion collide. In the end, it’s a thought-provoking page-turner, driven by one man’s determination to find the truth―no matter the cost.”

I really thought Maier did a fine job on this work.  I just happened to discover codexit for a dollar at a resale shop.  The title caught my attention and I devoured it.  It essentially explores what would happen to Christianity if we discovered that Jesus did not rise from the dead.  He had two sequels to this volume: More Than a Skeleton and The Constantine CodexMore Than a Skeleton explores eschatology and the return of Jesus (it was my least favorite of this Skeleton series) and the Constantine Codex explores what would happen if we discovered missing manuscripts to the New Testament.  Maier even gives cameo appearances of real scholars such as Daniel Wallace and Edwin Yamauchi in The Constantine Codex.

[Caveat] – Maier has also written two books in the historical fiction genre, but he likes to categorize it as a “documentary novel” because the former emphasizes the fiction opilatever the history (many times to the flames of romedetriment to the history) while in his works he has devised a structure that only resorts to fiction to fill in the historical gaps.  Essentially, he is a historian first and a novelist second, while most historical fiction is the other way around.  He has done a fine job in both Pontius Pilate and The Flames of Rome.  As the titles suggest Pilate is about the true story of how and why the crucifixion took place, from the perspective of the Roman politician who changed history.  The Flames of Rome follows the family of Flavius Sabinus, the mayor of Rome under Emperor Nero, in order to capture the tension of the political conflict in Rome before the Great Fire.

2. Five Sacred Crossings: A Novel Approach to a Reasonable Faith by Craig Hazen

Five Sacred CrossingsCraig Hazen, the director of the M.A. program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University and editor of the journal Philosophia Christi, wrote this quick read (168 pages) which has a nice plot while investigating worldview claims of other religions and philosophies.”Professor Michael Jernigan, a Christian, is teaching a religions course at a community college by using a rare text he owns—“The Five Crossings.” Each “Crossing” unveils a universal spiritual question, which only Christianity can satisfactorily address because it is testable, presents salvation as a free gift, paints a picture of the world that matches reality, makes a non-compartmentalized life possible, and has Jesus at the center.”Craig prefaces this novel in his introduction: Defenses [of Christianity] usually come from believing theologians, philosophers, lawyers, and scholars of various stripes. From time to time, however, scholars who are fascinated by presenting reasons for faith have used allegories, analogies, novels, and other modes of storytelling to make specific points about the truth of the Christian view of the world…. This present work certainly does not compare to what [C.S.] Lewis produced except that it fits in the same category of literature.”

3. The Lazarus Effect: A Novel by Ben Witherington III

lazaruseffectThis is a series of six books that doesn’t deal with apologetics proper, but it does touch on archaeology and biblical scholarship, which apologetics interacts with regularly.  Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University, and the author of over thirty-five books.  He begins this series with The Lazarus Effect.  This work has been described as an archaeological thriller.  Apparently, the protagonist of this series Art West is based on Ben’s grandfather, James Arthur West, who was also an archaeologist.  West makes a discovery of a lifetime in Jerusalem finding the tombstone of Lazarus.  This indicates that Jesus raised him from the dead, but the stone is stolen, sold to the British Library, and West is implicated in an antiquities fraud that will lead to a trial.  Other books in this series includes: Roman Numerals, Papias and the Mysterious Menorah, Corinthian Leather, Roma Aeterna, and Ephesian Miracle.

 

4. The Coffee House Chronicles by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

Dave Sterrett (who I am glad to say I know personally and taught with several years ago) teams up with Josh McDowell to produce this trilogy which follows Nick, a coffeehousechroniclescollege freshman at a state school in Texas. Nick has his spiritual world turned upside-down with what he hears in an introduction to religion class. His questions turn into conversations as he dialogues with professors, friends, and family about the authenticity the Bible, the identity of Jesus, and the historicity of the resurrection.  This series includes: Is the Bible True…Really?, Who Is Jesus…Really?, and Did The Resurrection Happen…Really?
which from the titles you can tell the topics of each book.  Amazon: “The Coffee House Chronicles are short, easily devoured novellas aimed at answering prevalent spiritual questions. Each book in the series tackles a long-contested question of the faith, and then answer these questions with truth through relationships and dialogue in each story.”

 

5. The Owlings: A Worldview Novella and The Owlings: Book Two by Dan DeWitt

owlingDan DeWitt; dean of Boyce College and teaches courses on worldview, philosophy, apologetics, and C. S. Lewis; provides a short young adult story in which Josiah learns that the world is not all there was, is, or ever will be from the most unlikely visitors: Gilbert, a talking owl and three of his friends.

This series, deemed a “worldview adventure” continues in book two.  Josiah returns with Gilbert the talking owl touching on moral themes like poverty, bullying, charity, sympathy, and the like, but its main goal is to demonstrate the limits of science.

 

6. The Chronicles of Adonai series by Braxton Hunter

Dr. Hunter is president of Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary and professor of apologetics.  He has written several books on apologetics proper such as Evangelistic Apologetics and Blinding LIghts: The Glaring Evidences of the Christian Faith. Active in the apologetics community, Hunter has debates and blogs on the Christian truth.  and He has dipped his hand into apologetical fiction with his Chronicles of Adonai series. Image result for the chronicles of adonai

Set in a post apocalyptic dystopian society, all references and talk of God is removed by the leaders of the community call Adonai.  A great review by Mark Evans reveals that Dr Hunter “includes the cosmological argument . . .the teleological argument . . . and the moral argument. . . . He also gives a clear explanation of the Gospel and repentance. There are some characters who respond to the Gospel. He also emphasizes the clearness of general revelation (Romans 1.20) Early on in the book one of the characters examines the purpose of all that exists.”

The series is in two volumes: The Colony and The Island.

7. The Testimonium by Lewis Ben Smith

One day as I walked into my local Half Price Books I stumbled upon Lewis Ben Smith, a local author who was personally selling his books at a side table. Lewis has been a high Image result for The Testimoniumschool history teacher for the past three decades at a private school in east Texas. An avid archaeologist, he routinely takes his classes out to tributaries to find arrowheads.  In 2014 he published The Testimonium. This novel explores the questions: What if there were new findings that proved, in today’s science, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true? Smith’s focus is on the archaeology, but The Testimonium begins a series of books called The Capri Team Adventures which follows the excursions of a team of archaeologists as they uncover other earth shattering discoveries. Other titles in the series:

Matthew’s Autograph – The back cover description: “Finding the undisturbed tomb of one of Image result for matthew's autograph ben smiththe Apostles of Jesus leads the Israeli government to call in Duncan’s companions, who had discovered the Testimonium of Pontius Pilate three years earlier. When the three archeologists arrive in Tel Aviv, they discover an amazing document inside the tomb: the end of Matthew’s Gospel, written in the Apostle’s own hand! Excitement turns to pandemonium when they translate the scroll and find the text varies drastically from every copy of the Book of Matthew in existence. Have the New Testament Gospels been altered since they were written? Has this tomb really lain undisturbed for two thousand years? Is this ancient manuscript really . . . MATTHEW’S AUTOGRAPH?

Gnostic Library – Smith’s most recent work concludes the Capri Team Adventures when theImage result for the gnostic library ben smith archaeologists are captured by terrorists when they were investigating the manuscripts of the Gnostics found in Egypt. One Amazon reviewer states that The Gnostic Library is “A fast-paced, globe-spanning novel about human love and inhuman brutality, that mixes ancient history and modern headlines into an edge-of-your-seat thriller!”

 

 

 

 

The December cover story for National Geographics is on biblical manuscripts and  features comments from Dr. Wallace, the director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM). CSNTM, founded in 2002 by Dr. Wallace, utilize emerging technologies to preserve and study Greek New Testament manuscripts by digitally photographing existing manuscripts.

National Geographics article “Inside the Cloak-and-Dagger Search for Sacred Texts” provides an insider view of the discovery and study of biblical manuscripts. It has some wonderful pictures and a lengthy article on the archaeology, collectors, scholars, and schemers in the world of biblical manuscripts along with the history of bible hunting. It is well worth the time to read this article.  It even discusses the early fragment of Mark that I have previously posted about (and here).

Some other institutions, individuals, and items mentioned in the piece include: Liberty University, Randall Price (archaeologist from Liberty), the Dead Sea Scrolls, Mark Lanier (Houston lawyer and avid collector), Museum of the Bible (the new D. C. museum opened by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby), Konstantin von Tischendorf (famous 19th century scholar who discovered Codex Sinaiticus), the École Biblique et Archéologique Française, The Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster (which keeps the official count of New Testament fragments), Bart Ehrman, the Oxyrhynchus papyrus collection, amongst others.

Some notable quotes from the article:

“And while it’s true that more than 5,500 Greek New Testament manuscripts have been found, close to 95 percent of those copies come from the ninth to the 16th centuries. Only about 125 date back to the second or third centuries, and none to the first.”

“In the case of the New Testament, whose authors wrote in Greek, more than 5,500 Greek manuscripts and fragments have been found—more than any other ancient text. They total as many as 2.6 million pages, Wallace estimates, and like the Oxyrhynchus papyri, most of them have yet to receive scholarly attention.”

“Scholars were thrilled to learn that among them [i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls] was a nearly complete copy of the Book of Isaiah from the Hebrew Bible. Its content was virtually identical to another copy of Isaiah dated almost a thousand years later.”

” ‘Evangelicals have had a tremendous impact on the market,’ says Jerusalem antiquities seller Lenny Wolfe. ‘The price of anything connected to the lifetime of Christ goes way up.’ “

close-up-of-ring-300x480

A ring found 50 years ago has just recently been deciphered to bear the inscription of Pontius Pilate’s name, the Roman prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from AD 26/27 to 36/37 during the time of Jesus.

The ring was found amongst thousands of other artifacts in 1968-69 excavations at Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium. The current director of the Herodium archaeological site Roi Porat ordered the 2,000 year old small copper alloy ring cleaned recently and given a thorough scholarly examination.  What was discovered was the inscription “of Pilatus” on the ring. The ring was originally discovered by  Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University in the late 1960s.

Image result for herodiumImage result for herodium on map

Borschel-Dan reports for The Times of Israel that:

Pilate, a Roman prefect who ruled the Roman province of Judaea from circa 26–36 CE, is mentioned in several accounts in the New Testament, as having ordered the trial and crucifixion of Yeshua, a Second Temple-period radical preacher from the Galilee, more commonly known as Jesus.

Image result for pontius pilate stoneUntil know, the only object to bear his name was the Pilate Stone discovered in 1961 at  Caesarea Maritima which is now currently located at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.  The Pilate Stone inscription included the following:

“Pontius Pilatus, Prefect of Judea, has dedicated to the people of Caesarea a temple in honor of Tiberius.”

Hasson goes on the report about the discovery of the inscription on the ring for Haaretz:

The name Pilatus has been linked to that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate, mentioned in the New Testament as Jesus’ executioner. Pilate was the fifth of Roman leaders in Judah, and apparently the most important of them. He ruled in the years 26 to 36, and some say even from the year 19. The name was rare in the Israel of that era, says Professor Danny Schwartz.

“I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” Schwartz said.

The Israel Exploration Society published the findings of this inscription discovery in their journal the Israel Exploration Journal Volume 68, Number 2.

Resources:

2,000-Year-Old ‘Pilate’ Ring Just Might Have Belonged to Notorious Jesus Judge” by Amanda Borschel-Dan | The Times of Israel, Nov 29, 2018

Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank” by Nir Hasson | Haaretz, Nov 29, 2018

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

Caiaphas Ossuary

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

 

 

 

Image result for caiaphas ossuaryCaiaphas the high priest mentioned in Mark 14:53-65.  In verses 61-64 we read about this famous exchange between Jesus and the High Priest Caiaphas:

61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

Was Caiaphas a real person? Apparently so.  Here is a quick video from Frank Turek of Crossexamined.com about this remarkable archaeological discovery of the bone box (i.e., ossuary or coffin) of Caiaphas:

 

Here is another video from Drive Through History about Caiaphas and the discovery of the ossuary:

 

The historical Caiaphas can be crosschecked in history by the Jewish historian Jospehus, as mentioned in the video above.

Here is a bulleted point reference to the history, discovery, and significance of Caiaphas and the ossuary:

  • Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest of the Sanhedrin.
  • The primary sources of Caiaphas are the New Testament (Matt 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; 18:13, 14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6) and Josephus.
  • Caiaphas ossuary discovered in south Jerusalem in November of 1990.
  • An inscription on the side of the ossuary contains the phrase “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.
  • Inside that ossuary where the bones of a man.
  •  Most ossuaries are plain and contain no inscriptions; the Caiaphas ossuary is ornately decorated as would be the case for a high priest such as Caiaphas.

For further information on the Caiaphas ossuary see:

Ossuary of the High Priest Caiaphas” | Center for Online Jewish Studies

House of Caiaphas Ossuary is Authentic” by Gil Ronen | Israel National News 6/29/2011

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 2.48.45 PM.pngThe earliest fragment of the gospel of Mark has been published.  Elijah Hixson, adjunct lecturer at Edinburgh Bible College and a regular contributor to the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, wrote for Christianity Today on May 30, 2018 that “Egypt Exploration Society has recently published a Greek papyrus” and “that the manuscript was written in the range of A.D. 150–250. The manuscript itself is tiny, only 4.4 x 4 cm. It contains a few letters on each side from verses 7–9 and 16–18 of Mark 1.”

There has been much speculation about this manuscript of the years (namely that it was possibly from the first century), but nevertheless, this is an incredible publication.  For more about the sensationalism and speculation about this small fragment you can read my blog entry titled: “First Century Manuscript, Mummy Masks, Hobby Lobby, The Museum of the Bible, and waiting! [UPDATE: and . . . not first century].” That aside, the publication of this fragment is important:

  1. Likely the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark
  2. It dates between A.D. 150-250
  3. Excavated from a garbage dump next to the city of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in 1903
  4. Contains Mark 1:7-9 and 16-18
  5. Presents no new variants showing stability of the New Testament text over time

It is designated P137 because it is the 137th fragment of the New Testament written on papyrus (the writing material of the early copies of the New Testament), while the Egyptian Exploration Society (who is responsible for publishing the finds from Oxyrhynchus for the past century) has designated it as P.Oxy. 83.5345.  The latter designation (P.Oxy.83.5345) is a reference to Oxyrhynchus fragments discovered in the late 19th and early 20th century in which many Old Testament, New Testament, and other fragments where discovered.

A great interview of Dr. Daniel Wallace, New Testament textual critic and scholar of Dallas Theological Seminary and director of The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, on Veracity Hill (the first 20 minutes).

The EES has made the publication, including images of P137, available here.

Sources:

First-Century Mark Fragment Update” by Daniel Wallace | DanielBWallace March 23, 2018

Despite Disappointing Some, New Mark Manuscript Is Earliest Yet” by Elijah Hixson | Christianity Today March 30, 2018

First-Century Mark,” Published at Last?” by Elijah Hixson | Evangelical Textual Criticism May 23, 2018

Was One of World’s Oldest Bible Passages Found in a Garbage Dump?” by Candida Moss and Joel Baden | The Daily Beast May 25, 2018

 

 

A great apologetical resource will be made available by Crossway Publishers. They are about to release their new ESV Archaeology Study Bible in April 30, 2018.  Dr. John D. Currid, the Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, is the Old Testament editor, while Dr. David Chapman (PhD, Cambridge) is the New Testament editor.

Some of the features include:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 2,000+ study notes
  • 400+ full-color photographs
  • 200+ maps and diagrams
  • 200+ informational sidebars
  • 15 articles like “The Bible and History,” “Archaeology and Preaching,” Major Biblical Finds,” and “Daily Life in the New Testament Era”
  • 4 timelines
  • Book introductions
  • 4-color printing

Crossway’s website on the bible can be found here. A description of the new Bible:

The ESV Archaeology Study Bible roots the biblical text in its historical and cultural context, offering readers a framework for better understanding the people, places, and events recorded in Scripture. With editorial oversight from Dr. John Currid (PhD, University of Chicago) and Dr. David Chapman (PhD, University of Cambridge), as well as contributions from a team of field-trained archaeologists, the Archaeology Study Bible assembles a range of modern scholarship—pairing the biblical text with over 2,000 study notes, 400 full-color photographs, 200 maps and diagrams, 200 sidebars, 15 articles, and 4 timelines. These features bring life to the ancient texts, helping readers situate them in their historical context while recognizing the truth that the eternal God became flesh entered human history at a specific time and in a specific place.

Ted Wright if Epic Archaeology writes a review of the ESV-ASB.

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

The Prophet Isaiah

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically

A clay seal stamped with the prophet Isaiah’s name was found recently.  This seal, that would be impressed upon scrolls, is over 2,700 years old and was found next to the other much reported clay seal (or bulla) for Hezekiah.  It would be the first extra-Biblical evidence of the prophet Isaiah.

In a statement Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem said that, “We found the eighth-century B.C.E. seal mark that may have been made by the prophet Isaiah himself only 10 feet away from where we earlier discovered the highly-publicized bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah.”

The clay seal is only a half and inch in width.  The seal reads “[belonging] to Isaiah nvy.”  Bible History Daily reports that:

archaeologist Eilat Mazar and her team have discovered a small seal impression that reads “[belonging] to Isaiah nvy.” The upper portion of the impression is missing, and its left side is damaged. Reconstructing a few Hebrew letters in this damaged area would cause the impression to read, “[belonging] to Isaiah the prophet.”

Major Biblical Discovery: Archaeologists May Have Found the Prophet Isaiah’s ‘Signature’”  by James Rogers Fox News | Feb 22, 2018

Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem: Evidence of the Prophet Isaiah?” by Megan Sauter | Bible History Daily Feb, 22, 2108

An Unprecedented Find: Prophet Isaiah’s Seal Mark Possibly Discovered in Jerusalem” by Robert Cargill | Biblical Archaeological Society Feb 22, 2018

 

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Post about other biblical archaeological discoveries from this blog include:

23 New Testament Figures Confirmed

History Has Gone to the Toilets-The Ancient Latrine of Lachish

Virtual Unwrapping of Levitical Scroll

City of Geza

Philistine Cemetery

Ancient Shopping List Provides Evidence of When Bible Was Written

Hezekiah Bulla

12th Dead Sea Scroll Cave Found!

Bethsaida

53 People in the Old Testament Confirmed Archaeologically