For one who loves biblical studies and is intensely interested in its intersection with history and archaeology, the potential impact of the latter on the former deserves attention. In various academic and popular settings, numerous scholars in these fields make sweeping statements about the disjuncture between archaeology and/or history and the Bible. Those statements are made with authority and have widespread impact, eve on an evangelical audience. How do the plain statements of Scripture fare when related to what seem to be the objective facts of archaeology and history? According to Ron Hendel,
Archaeology did not illumine the times and events of Abraham, Moses and Joshua. Rather, it helped to show that these times and events are largely unhistorical. The more we know about the Bronze and early Iron Ages, the more the Biblical portrayals of events in this era appear to be a blend of folklore and cultural memory, in which the details of historical events have either disappeared or been radically reshaped. The stores are deeply meaningful, but only occasionally historical. Archaeological research has – against the intentions of most of its practitioners – secured the non-historicity of much of the Bible before the era of the kings.¹
In this paper I hope to consider a few examples of intersections between the Bible and archaeological excavations. My primary intended audience is the evangelical world. This paper has a clear apologetic function. It offers a different “take” on the intersection of the Bible and archaeology than one often hears in academic and popular settings. Although this paper has a clear apologetic core, let me make this important point very clear. The archaeological evidence cited below and in any similar study never provides certifiable proof that a given individual lived or that a certain event took place. Our confidence in the accuracy and historicity of the people and events referred to in God’s Word draws on other evidence, primarily theological statements the Bible makes about itself. Regardless, one should recognize that the archaeological evidence does not rule out the people or events described in the Bible. As a matter of fact, archaeology provides a “picture” that points to the feasibility or plausibility that the people and events described in the Bible lived and occurred just as they are described.2
As you can imagine, a brief study like this paper that draws on archaeological data drawn from various sites has built-in challenges. (1) Anyone who has worked in archaeology to any degree understands that the collection of data from a dig site is very scientific and objective, while the interpretation of that data is much more subjective. All archaeologists bring numerous presuppositions to their work and that affects what evidence they emphasize and how they interpret what they find and do not find. Consequently, I fully understand that my overview of various archaeological discoveries below will not satisfy everyone. (2) I have chosen certain archaeological discoveries to make my point, omitting some other very important examples that deserve mention. Not all will agree with my choices for consideration. (3) I also understand my limitations as a biblical scholar rather than a trained archaeologist. Regardless, I argue below that numerous discoveries made in the last 15-20 years demonstrate that biblical narratives have a “ring of truth” to them when compared with significant and somewhat insignificant finds “from the dirt.”
Out of all the areas that could have received attention, I have narrowed my focus on two chronological periods: the Conquest of Canaan and the United Monarchy. For both I summarize the consensus of critical scholars and then consider the evidence that has been found. With regard to the Conquest of Canaan, the paper considers the recent discussion of an Egyptian pedestal with three name-rings on it as well as the destruction of Jericho and the location and destruction of Ai. After surveying the heated debate concerning the United Monarchy with a focus on David and Solomon, the paper considers key archaeological discoveries found at Jerusalem, Khirbet Qeiyafa and the copper mines in southern Jordan. With each example I argue that the discoveries made at least allow for the historicity and accuracy of the biblical narratives describing those people and events...
Read the entire article via PDF: Recent-Archaeological-Discoveries-that-Lend-Credence-to-the-Historicity-of-the-Scriptures.pdf
View endnotes via PDF: Endnotes-Grisanti-Recent-Archaeological-Discoveries.pdf