June 10, 2012

Archaeology Supports the Bible

"In my view, most of the revisionists are no longer honest scholars, weighing all the evidence, attempting to be objective and fair-minded historians, seeking the truth. Determined to unmask the ideology of others, they have become ideologues themselves. The revisionist and the postmoderns are dangerous because they have created a kind of relativism ― an anything goes attitude ― that makes serious, critical inquiry difficult if not impossible."
William Dever, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Arizona
For many years, it has been an established fact that archaeology supports the Bible. (I did an article on that here.) Sure, there were people who were daft enough to say, "Aha! Archaeologists have not found evidence of the Hittites. They did not exist. Your Bible is wrong. There is no God!" (Yes, I have encountered people whose "logic" works that way.) Anyway, they had to eat their words because the Hittites' existence was verified after all.

The previous somewhat hyperbolic example used the logical fallacy of argument from silence. Similarly, revisionists, haters, skeptics, misotheists and liberals will use arguments from silence such as, "There is no evidence that the Israelites were captives in Egypt". Then they will cite a "scholar" that breaks from the rest and wants to prove his own bias against the Bible. Amazing.

"What about the evidence for the Israelites in Egypt, Uncle Bob?"
A storm of debate has erupted in the Jewish world, following the well-publicized assertion by Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles that "the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all."
Wolpe made his declaration before 2,000 worshippers at the Conservative Sinai Temple, and the speech was reported on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. The article entitled, "Doubting the Story of Exodus," asserts that archaeology disproves the validity of the Biblical account.
While people don't usually get worked up about archaeology, the debate about archaeology and the Bible is often passionate and vitriolic.
Biblical Archaeology is often divided into two camps: The "minimalists" tend to downplay the historical accuracy of the Bible, while the "maximalists," who are in the majority and are by and large not religious, tend to suggest that archaeological evidence supports the basic historicity of the Bible text.
As a science, we must understand what archaeology is and what it isn't.
Archaeology consists of two components: the excavation of ancient artifacts, and the interpretation of those artifacts. While the excavation component is more of a mechanical skill, the interpretive component is very subjective. Presented with the same artifact, two world-class archaeologists will often come to different conclusions -- particularly when ego, politics and religious beliefs enter the equation.
You can read the rest of this extremely interesting article, "Archaeology and the Exodus", here. Then you can further your education by reading "Archaeology and the Bible - Part 2", here.

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