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External origins and the displacement of nations have been themes exhibited throughout the Bible and studied through biblical archaeology. Dr. Bruce Routledge questions whether the role of Moab as portrayed in the Bible has helped or impeded with the archaeological study of Moab in the Iron Age, the period of the emergence of Israel. Routledge argues that “by not separating the Bible and archaeology in the first instance, we forgo not only the opportunity to understand and access an ancient world...but forgo the opportunity to learn anything new about the Bible itself.” With examples from his own research in south-central Jordan, Routledge supports his argument by examining the connections between the Bible and archaeology with and without the full understanding of either medium.
Many of the stories from ancient Near Eastern literature are often labeled “folk tales” and are presumed to have no basis in reality—the Biblical texts are no exception. Many stories in the Bible are seen as allegories or folk tales. But when we read these stories, should we just simply label them “folk tales,” or should we investigate the possibility that they may contain some factual elements? This lecture examines this question using several well known examples from the Bible, including the story of Moses’ birth and the Biblical account of King Solomon’s wealth and prestige.
Despite an appearance of simplicity, the Biblical narratives are often complicated stories. In the full-length video lecture “Abraham and the Binding of Isaac,” Ziony Zevit examines the context of one of the best-known narratives of the Hebrew Bible, enabling you to experience a worldview very different than our own.
The Binding of Isaac (the Akedah), a story in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, is one of the most perplexing narratives in the Hebrew Bible. In the lecture “Abraham and the Binding of Isaac”—filmed exclusively for the Biblical Archaeology Society and now available in the BAS Library—Prof. Zevit examines some of the most common questions concerning this story, such as: “Why did Abraham go along with God without question or comment?” and “Why did Isaac not fight Abraham but instead lay meekly down?”
In this intriguing lecture, noted Biblical scholar and archaeologist Michael D. Coogan tackles the complex issue of Yahweh’s wives. According to Coogan, the issue of Yahweh’s wives, particularly the goddess Asherah, is a most interesting topic from the perspective of the history of religions, illuminated by both canonical and non-canonical sources, as well as archaeology. Coogan shares a number of fascinating images to support his notion that the “notoriously inconsistent” ancient Biblical texts need to be studied carefully, especially since so many today appeal to the Bible in support of their values.
A number of pseudepigraphic works survive from Jewish and Christian antiquity. The Hebrew Bible contains at least two instances (Daniel and Ecclesiastes); the New Testament has many more (the Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, etc.). In each of these examples, an author falsely claims to be a famous person. Some scholars have argued that this was an acceptable practice in the ancient world, and that such books should not be tarnished with the term “forgeries.” Is this true? Or did the ancients themselves consider such books to be deceitful lies? This presentation considers what ancient authors said about books written under a false name and about the people who wrote them.
The Israelite exodus from Egypt is clearly the most important event in the Hebrew Bible, and yet there is presently no direct archaeological evidence to support the tradition, causing some scholars to question whether it was a historical event. Archaeology, however, can provide important background material that enables the events of the book of Exodus to be visualized, and discoveries at various sites in Egypt have made it possible to identify some of the places mentioned in Exodus. In this insightful lecture, Professor James Hoffmeier of Trinity International University reports on his archaeological excavations at Tell el-Borg as well as geological work in Sinai, sharing images of Egyptian iconography and inscriptions, plans and other fascinating visual materials.