Category Archives: Biblical Archaeology

New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

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NEW Dead Sea Scrolls Discovered in Israel’s Qumran Caves | Watchman News…

New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

Archaeologists discovered the scrolls in the Judean Desert. They also found the world’s oldest fully intact basket, a 6,000-year-old mummified child and a cache of rare coins.

EVANGELICAL FOCUS

Israel Antiquities Authority · JERUSALEM · 19 MARCH 2021 · 13:15 CET

The fragments are written in Greek, except for the name of God, which appears in Hebrew, and contain verses from the books of Zechariah and Nahum. / <a target="_blank" href="http://www.antiquities.org.il/default_en.aspx">IAA</a> CC,

The fragments are written in Greek, except for the name of God, which appears in Hebrew, and contain verses from the books of Zechariah and Nahum. / IAACC

Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) archaeologists have reported the discovery of dozens of Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Judean Desert, south of Jerusalem, during an operation to prevent caves in the area being looted.

It is the first such discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of Jewish texts date from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D., which included the earliest known copies of biblical texts, were found in 1947 and the early fifties in desert caves in the West Bank.

The over 80 new pieces are believed to belong to a set of parchment fragments found in a site in southern Israel known as the “Cave of Horror” for the 40 human skeletons found there during excavations in the 1960s.

Along with the scroll, the archaeologists found a 6,000-year-old mummifiedskeleton of a child, a cache of rare coins from the period of the Jewish revolt, and what they think it might be theworld’s oldest fully intact basket, dating back about 10,500 years.

“The aim of this national initiative is to rescue these rare and important heritage assets from the robbers’ clutches”, said IAA Director Israel Hasson in a press release.

New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

  An expert opening a scroll section in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s conservation laboratory. / IAA.

Fragments of the books of Zechariah and Nahum

The fragments are written in Greek, except for the name of God, which appears in Hebrew, and contain verses from the books of Zechariah and Nahum. IAA researchers believe they were probably brought to the cave in A.D. 135 at the end of a Jewish revolt against Rome.

“This manuscript was over a century old at that time. It was probably some sort of family heirloom and a rather valuable scroll”, said Oren Ableman, researcher at the Dead Sea Scrolls unit of the IAA in a press release.

The archaeologists discovered that the Bible verse on the fragments that matches Zechariah 8:15 features a different translation: it ends with “and justice in your streets”, instead of “and justice in your gates”.

“These differences can tell us quite a bit regarding the transmission of the biblical text up until the days of the Bar Kochba Revolt, documenting the changes that occurred over time until reaching us in the current version”, explained the IAA.

According to Beatriz Riestra of the IAA Dead Sea scrolls unit, “in this manuscript, we can see the effort of the translators to remain closer to the original Hebrew compared to what happened with the Septuagint”.

World’s oldest fully intact basket

The basket also found in the operation is woven in a unique style from plant material and it has a capacity of about 100 litres. It was discovered empty, so that “only future research of a small amount of soil remaining inside it will help us discover what it was used for and what was placed in it”, pointed out the archaeologists.

“As far as we know, this basket, currently unparalleled worldwide, is the oldest in the world that has been found completely intact and its importance is therefore immense”, stressed the IAA.

New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

  Archaeologists also found what they think it might be the world’s oldest fully intact basket, dating back about 10,500 years. / IAA.

6,000-year-old mummified child

The 6,000-year-old mummified child was found in “a shallow pit intentionally dug beneath two flat stones, containing a skeleton of a child placed in a foetal position”, said IAA prehistorian Ronit Lupu in the press release.

“It was obvious that whoever buried the child had wrapped him up and pushed the edges of the cloth beneath him, just as a parent covers his child in a blanket”, added Lupu.

The cloth and other organic materials, including hair and even skin and tendons have been very well preserved, due to the dry climate of the Judean Desert.

Judea coins

The cache of coins was found overstruck with Jewish rebels’ symbols such as a harp and a date palm, an array of arrowheads and spearheads, pieces of woven fabric, sandals and lice combs, probably left there by Jewish rebels during the revolt, according to the experts.

The bronze coins feature a vine leaf and a palm tree, which “at the time had become the quintessential symbol of Judea. The Romans themselves put the symbol also on their Judea Capta coins”, explained Donald T. Ariel, head of the IAA Coin department.

New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

The coins found feature a vine leaf and a palm tree. / IAA.

“Historically important operation”

IAA Director Israel Hasson warned that “the newly discovered scroll fragments are a wake-up call to the state. Resources must be allocated for the completion of this historically important operation. We must ensure that we recover all the data that has not yet been discovered in the caves. Some things are beyond value”.

“The desert team showed exceptional courage, dedication and devotion to purpose, rappelling down to caves located between heaven and earth, digging and sifting through them, enduring thick and suffocating dust, and returning with gifts of immeasurable worth for mankind”, concluded Hasson.

Published in: Evangelical Focusculture – New Dead Sea scrolls with verses of the books of Zechariah and Nahum found

Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology – #1 Dead Sea Scrolls

This post wraps up our Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology series. To see the complete series please click here.

Old Testament Scribes

How accurate is the Old Testament we hold in our hands? It’s popular today to attack the accuracy of the Bible on the grounds of its lack of effective transmission. Popular authors claim the Bible we have today has simply been copied too many times, with too many textual errors, to be believed as the very words of God handed down to us over the millennia.

Free Video – Session 1 from the Church History Boot Camp

Every single copy of the Old Testament was hand copied up until the printing press came along in the 15th century AD. Imagine that, some of the books of the Old Testament were copied over and over for more than 3,000 years (traditional view of dating). Can a document copied so many times by hand truly be accurate today?

Tradition tells us the Hebrew people were meticulous copyists of Scripture. Scribes were so aware of their task they would go to great lengths to make sure their hand-written copy of Scripture was free from error. Hebrew scribes were bound to the following rules:

  1. They could only use clean animal skins, both to write on, and even to bind manuscripts.
  2. Each column of writing could have no less than forty-eight, and no more than sixty lines.
  3. The ink must be black, and of a special recipe.
  4. They must verbalize each word aloud while they were writing.
  5. They must wipe the pen and wash their entire bodies every time before writing God’s name.
  6. There must be a review within thirty days, and if as many as three pages required corrections, the entire manuscript had to be redone.
  7. The letters, words, and paragraphs had to be counted, and the document became invalid if two letters touched each other. The middle paragraph, word and letter must correspond to those of the original document.
  8. The documents could be stored only in sacred places (synagogues, etc.).

Silver Amulet Scroll and Nash Papyrus

With all the careful scribal work a shockingly few number of Old Testament ancient manuscripts exist until today. The silver amulet scroll is by far the oldest. The scroll was mentioned as #4 in this top ten series. The amulet scroll dates way back to 600 BC. This is fantastic but it is only a couple verses of the entire Bible. So we can get a feel for the accuracy of those couple verses but not be able to get a good representative sample for the entirety of Scripture.

The Nash Papyrus dates to around 200 BC. It’s also a wonderful discovery but similar to the amulet scroll it only contains a hand-full of verses. Gratefully those verses are the Ten Commandments, but nonetheless our only 2 manuscripts of the Old Testament from the BC era are a very small representation of the entire Old Testament canon.

Codex Aleppo

Codex Aleppo is the oldest entire Old Testament possessed by humanity. The manuscript dates to around 900AD. The priceless manuscript is indeed magnificent. When analyzing the more than 2.7 million writing details that make up the Old Testament, the manuscript appears to be very precise in its creation. Although we have such a beautiful manuscript, the elephant in the room is that this manuscript dates from 900AD. Many New Testament manuscripts are older than our oldest Old Testament manuscript. Most of the Old Testament was written over 1500 years before Codex Aleppo.


1946-47

The greatest biblically relevant archaeological discovery, made in the winter of 1946-47, would shake up the biblical and archaeological world. John C. Trever has done a good job reconstructing the story of the scrolls from several interviews with the Bedouin people.

Muhammed edh-Dhib, a 15 year old Bedouin living in Bethlehem, was with his cousin in the region of the Dead Sea. Jum’a Muhammad, the cousin of edh-Dhib, noticed some possible cave openings while out shepherding some goats. Edh-Dhib made it into a cave and discovered something that had been untouched for more than 2,200 years. He reached into a pot and retrieved some scrolls and showed them to Jum’a.

The impact of these scrolls were not readily apparent. The scrolls were taken back to the Bedouin camp to show the rest of the family. The Bedouin kept the scrolls hanging on a tent pole while they figured out what to do with them, periodically taking them out to show people.

The scrolls were first taken to a dealer named Ibrahim ‘ljha in Bethlehem. In one of those famous dumb moments of history ‘ljha returned them saying they were worthless. Undaunted, thankfully, the Bedouin went to a nearby market, where a Syrian Christian offered to buy them. A sheikh joined their conversation and suggested they take the scrolls to a part-time antiques dealer. The Bedouin left one scroll with the dealer and then sold three scrolls to another for the ridiculous sum of $29!

George Isha’ya, a member of the Syrian Orthodox Church, heard about the scrolls and contacted St. Mark’s Monastery in the hope of getting an appraisal, news of the find then reached Metropolitan bishop Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, better known as Mar Samuel.

After examining the scrolls and suspecting their astronomical worth, he expressed interest in purchasing them. Four scrolls found their way into his hands. More scrolls continued to arrive on the scene. By the end of 1948, nearly two years after their first discovery, scholars had yet to locate the source of the manuscripts.

What was all the fuss about? After careful analysis and scientific analysis at the University of California, Davis it was determined that a new era of Old Testament biblical manuscripts had arrived. We were witnessing what appeared to be the discovery of an entire library of Old Testament and ancient Jewish writings. How old were these books? Remember our oldest complete Old Testament had been 900AD. An entire scroll of Isaiah was found and dated to around 200BC! Can you believe that, in one discovery 1100 years of biblical hand-written copies were spanned.

Magnitude of the Discovery

Archaeologists were able to track down the origin of the first scrolls and together with the Bedouins ended up finding a total of 972 manuscripts from 11 different caves. All 11 caves are in the southeastern Dead Sea area of Israel. The area receives almost no rainfall making it a perfect climate for ancient manuscripts to last thousands of years without decomposing.

The scrolls contain verses from every Old Testament book except for one. Only about 1/3rd of the scrolls are biblical writings. 2/3rds of the manuscripts are not biblical but pertain to Jewish life at the time. Think of it as stumbling across the 1,000 volume library of a Christian with many books of the Bible but then all sorts of books about 21st century Christian life and thought. This is the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scroll discovery. Many of the non-biblical books discovered were not known to even exist!

The scrolls, for some insane reason, were put up for sale in the Wall Street Journal on June 1, 1954. They were purchased for $250,000 and brought to Jerusalem where they eventually became housed in a museum called the Shrine of the Book where they reside today when not circulating in museums around the world. The scrolls today are considered priceless. Just to purchase a replica facsimile copy of 3 of the scrolls currently will run you $60,000 (a donation of replica scrolls to Parchment & Pen will not be turned down).

Significance of the Discovery

The scrolls are still, after decades, a discovery still being digested. The 972 manuscripts have shed great light on the accuracy and complexity of the Old Testament. The Isaiah Scroll, in comparison to Codex Aleppo and other manuscripts, show that the message of the Old Testament has not been changed over millennia. More articles and books have been written about the Dead Sea Scrolls than any other archaeological discovery with biblical significance. The scrolls are shedding a great deal of light on the Jewish religious world of roughly 200BC-90AD. The scrolls are generally showing the modern-day Old Testament to be an extremely accurate representation of the original writers.

Work in Progress

Google has announced a new deal with the Israeli Antiquities Authority to photograph all of the scrolls in order to make high-resolution photos available to anyone online for free. The scrolls continue to amaze and delight us; where we once had only a couple fragments of the ancient Old Testament we now enjoy an abundant library.

Please join the discussion by posting your thoughts in the comments section below.

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W.A. Criswell sermon WHETHER WE LIVE OR DIE (Transcript and video)

Dr. W. A. Criswell

WHETHER WE LIVE OR DIE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Message to the Pastors’ Conference

Southern Baptist Convention, Dallas, Texas

6-10-85    7:30 p.m.

Not in all of my life have I ever prepared an address as minutely and meticulously as I have this one tonight.  I have been a pastor fifty-eight years.  I began preaching at this pastor’s conference at the invitation of Dr. M. E. Dodd when he founded it something like fifty years ago.  And I would think more than thirty times have I spoken to this assembly of God’s anointed undershepherds.  But I have never, ever approached a moment like this.  And the message tonight, entitled Whether We Live or Die, is delivered, prepared in view of the convocation of our assembled messengers beginning in the morning.

The outline of the address, of the study, is this:

            The Pattern of Death for a Denomination; then

            The Pattern of Death for an Institution; then

            The Pattern of Death for a Preacher, a Professor; and then finally,

            The Promise of Renascence, and Resurrection, and Revival.

So we begin: The Pattern of Death for a Denomination.

 In the middle of the last century, a great storm arose in the Baptist denomination in Great Britain.  Opposition to evangelical truths sprang from two sources: one, the publication in 1859 of Darwin’s Origin of Species, which made the Genesis account of creation a myth; and second, the vast inroads of German higher criticism and rationalism that explained away the miracles of the Bible and reduced the inspired Word to merely a human book.

This fungal attack on the Scripture brought forth open and militant opposition from the mighty preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  He urged the Baptist Union of England to speak out against the heresy.  They refused, saying Baptists believe in the priesthood of every believer, and further avowed that Baptists could believe their own way so long as they baptize by immersion.  Spurgeon then published what he called “The Downgrade in the Churches.”  He wrote, “Instead of submission to God’s Word [James 4:4-10], higher criticism urges accommodation to human wisdom.  It sets human thought above God’s revelation and constitutes man the supreme judge of what ought to be true.”

He wrote, “Believers in Holy Scripture are in confederacy with those who deny plenary inspiration.  Those who hold evangelical doctrine are in open alliance with those who call the Genesis fall a myth.”

He wrote, “A chasm is opening between the men who believe their Bibles and those who are prepared for an advance upon the Scripture . . . The house is being robbed, its very walls are being digged down, but the good people who are in bed are too fond of the warmth . . . to go downstairs to meet the burglars.”  “Inspiration and speculation cannot long abide side by side . . . We cannot hold the inspiration of the Word [2 Timothy 3:16], and yet reject it.  We cannot hold the doctrine of the Fall [Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:22], and yet talk of evolution of spiritual life from human nature.  One or the other must go.”  “Compromise there can be none.”

Dr. John Clifford, London pastor and president of the British Baptist Union and later the first president of the Baptist World Alliance, declared in 1888, quote, “It pains me unspeakably to see this eminent [preacher Spurgeon] rousing the energies of thousands of Christians to engage in personal wrangling and strife, instead of inspiring them to . . . herioc effort to carry the . . . Gospel to our fellow-countrymen.”  Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?

Dr. John Clifford had embraced the higher critical new theology.  He believed that evangelicalism and higher criticism could be combined.  Dr. Clifford presided over the Council of the Baptist Union that met in session January 18, 1888.  They voted to recommend to the plenary session of the Union a vote to censure Spurgeon.  Dr. John Clifford did his work well.  The Baptist Union met in assembly April 23, 1888, in the City Temple of London—Dr. Joseph Parker’s Congregational church, himself a critic of Spurgeon—and the recommendation of council for censure was placed before the full body.  The official vote was two thousand for the motion to censure Spurgeon, and seven against.

A godly man, Henry Oakley, who was present in the Baptist Union assembly that day, wrote these words in later memory concerning the tragic meeting.  Quote:

I was present at the City Temple when the motion to censure Spurgeon was moved, seconded, and carried.  The City Temple was as full as it could be.  I was there early but found only a standing place in the aisle at the back of the gallery.  I listened to the speeches.  The only one of which I have a distinct remembrance was that of Mr. Charles Williams.  He quoted Tennyson in favor of a liberal theology.  The moment of voting came.  Only those members of the assembly were qualified to vote.  When the motion of censure was put, a forest of hands went up.  “Against,” called the chairman, Dr. John Clifford.  I did not see any hands, but history records there were seven.  Before any announcement of the censure number was made by Dr. John Clifford, the vast assembly broke into tumultuous cheering, and cheering, and cheering yet.  From some of the older men their pent-up hostility found vent.  From many of the younger men wild resistance of “any obscurantist trammels,”—Spurgeon’s preaching—as they said, broke loose.  It was a strange scene.  I viewed it with tears.  I stood near a man I knew well.  He went wild with delight at the censure.  I say, it was a strange scene, that that vast assembly should so outrageously be delighted at the condemnation of the greatest, noblest, and grandest leader of their faith.

An English writer said of that downgrade controversy against Spurgeon that it quote, “entailed one of the most bitter persecutions any minister of the gospel has ever endured in this country.”  Spurgeon’s wife Susanna said that the controversy cost him his life.  He died at the age of fifty-seven.  Spurgeon himself said to a friend in May, 1891, “Goodbye.  You will never see me again.  This tragic fight is killing me.”  But Spurgeon also said, “The distant future will vindicate me.”

All that Mr. Spurgeon saw and said, and much more, came to pass.  Baptist witness in Great Britain began to die.  The Baptist Union in their minutes recognized the presence of higher criticism in their midst, but they said it would do no harm.  Spurgeon answered that the future would witness a lifeless and fruitless church.  As he foretold, with the accommodation of the higher critical approach to the Scriptures—which is universal among us—with the accommodation of the higher critical approach to the Scriptures, church attendance fell off, prayer meetings ceased, miracles of conversion were witnessed less and less, the number of baptisms began to decline—and for years they’ve been in decline with us—and the churches began to die out.  The numerical graph of the British Baptists since the halcyon days of Spurgeon, their mighty champion, is down, and ever down, and for a century has been going down.

I was in India years ago when English Baptists were closing down their mission stations on the Ganges River, stations founded by William Carey.  Some say the position taken by Spurgeon hurt the mission movement.  My brother, if the higher critical approach to the Scriptures dominates our institutions and our denominations, there will be no missionaries to hurt!  They will cease to exist!

A comment on the sad condition of Baptist churches in England is found in the latest biography of Spurgeon written by Dr. Arnold Dallimore, entitled: C. H. Spurgeon, a New Biography, published this last year.  The comment concerning English Baptists is this, quote: “Where there is no acceptance of the Bible as inerrant; there is no true Christianity.  The preaching is powerless, and what Spurgeon declared to his generation a hundred years ago is the outcome.”

And that statement is followed by this paragraph:

The failure of the new theology or higher criticism, call it what we will, is forcefully brought out by E. J. Poole-Conner in his Evangelicalism in England.  He tells of a conversation between the editor of an agnostic magazine and a neo-orthodox minister.  The editor told the minister that despite their different vocations, they had much in common.  “I don’t believe the Bible,” said the agnostic, “but neither do you.  I don’t believe the story about creation, but you don’t either.  I don’t believe any of these things, but neither do you.  I am as much of a Christian as you, and you are as much of an infidel as I.”

As with the Baptists of Great Britain, whether we continue to live or ultimately die lies in our dedication to the infallible Word of God [2 Timothy 3:16-17].

Number two: The Pattern of Death for an Institution.

 An institution can be like a great tree which in times past withstood the rain, and the wind, and the storm, and the lightning, but finally fell because the heart had rotted out.  Insects, termites destroyed the great monarch of the woods.  This is the unspeakably tragic thing that happens to many of our Christian institutions, and eventually threatens them all.  They are delivered to secularism and infidelity, not because of a bitter frontal attack from without, but because of a slow, gradual permeation of the rot and curse of unbelief from within.  The tragic and traumatic example of that decay is the University of Chicago.

The faithful devout Baptist people of the North set about to build, in their words, and I quote, “a great Christian university to counteract the materialism of the Middle West.”  God greatly, immediately blessed their effort.  In May 1889, the electric news was announced to the Baptists gathered in a national meeting in Boston that Rockefeller had offered six hundred thousand dollars for the building of the Christian school if the Baptist churches would give four hundred thousand dollars.  When the announcement was made, the entire assembly arose with a doxology on its lips.  And Dr. Henson exclaimed, “I scarcely dare trust myself to speak.  I feel like Simeon when he said, ‘Now, Lord, lettest now Thy servant depart in peace . . . for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation’” [Luke 2:29, 30].

Appeals were sent to twelve hundred Baptist pastors in the Middle West.  The second Sunday in April 1890 was made University Day.  The humble, faithful loyal Baptist people in all the churches gave prayerfully and sacrificially.  Their splendid school for preachers, the Baptist Theological Seminary at Morgan Park in Chicago was, under the terms of the Rockefeller gift, to be the center of the university and to become the divinity school.  The university was to be built around the seminary, and all of it was to be dedicated to the evangelization of the heartland of America.  It was done gloriously, victoriously.  The university was built.  The divinity school was opened, and they prepared preachers to win the Middle West for Christ.

Then the infiltration began.  The curse, the rot, the virus, the corruption of a higher critical approach to the gospel began to work.  What are the ultimate results of this almost universal higher critical teaching?  Here are some of the professors who taught the preachers in that divinity school during the course of the years.  Professor G. B. Smith, systematic theology, who wrote, “The spirit of democracy protests against such an idea as that God has the right to insist on a rigid plan of salvation.”  Professor Soares, who said, “Redemption is an absolute fancy.  Revelation is self-deception.  We refuse the idea that the principle business of the church is to get people converted and committed to the Christian life.”  And Professor G. B. Foster, Baptist teacher in the seminary, and pastor of a Unitarian Church wrote, “An intelligent man who now affirms his faith in miracles can hardly know what intellectual honesty means.  The hypothesis of God has become superfluous in every science, even that of religion itself.  Jesus did not transcend the limits of the purely human.”

We cannot but find ourselves in sympathy with an editorial of a great Chicago newspaper which said:

We are struck with the hypocrisy and treachery of these attacks on Christianity.  This is a free country and a free age and men can say what they choose about religion, but this is not what we arraign these divinity professors for.  Is there no place in which to assail the Bible but a divinity school?  Is there no one to write infidel books except professors of Christian theology?  Is a theological seminary an appropriate place for a general massacre of Christian doctrines?  We are not championing either Christianity or infidelity but only condemning infidels masquerading as men of God and Christian teachers.

A friend of mine, a teacher, went to the University of Chicago to gain a Ph.D. in pedagogy.  While there, he made the friendship of a student in the divinity school.  Upon the young theolog’s graduation, the budding preacher said to my teacher friend, quote, “I am in a great quandary.  I have been called to the pastorate of a Presbyterian church in the Midwest, but it is one of those old-fashioned Presbyterian churches that believes the Bible.  And I don’t believe the Bible, and I don’t know what to do.”  My teacher friend replied, “I can tell you exactly what you ought to do.”  Eagerly, the young preacher asked, “What?”  And my teacher friend replied, “I think that if you don’t believe the Bible, you ought to quit the ministry!”

But not only in the North have we lost our Baptist institutions such as the University of Chicago; such as Brown University; such as Crozer Theological Seminary, practically all of them.  But in the South—where we live—in the South we are beginning to witness the same loss.  Within these last few years, two of our senior Baptist universities in the Southern states have been removed from Baptist control.  Give it another century, and the loss will be unspeakably tragic.

John Wesley at one time wrote, “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist in Europe or America.  But I am afraid lest they should exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power.”  This fear that troubled the heart of John Wesley no less troubles the hearts of believing Christians everywhere who take time to see what higher criticism can do to their institutions.

If neo-orthodoxy were a separate movement in itself, built its own churches, launched its own institutions, projected its own denomination, then we could look at it as just another of the many sects that appear on the surface of history.  But neo-orthodoxy in itself builds nothing.  It is a parasite that grows on institutions already built.

If these higher critical semi-Unitarians won the lost to Christ, built up the churches, sent out missionaries, ministered to the needs of the people, then we could abandon our Bibles, rest at ease in Zion, and watch the kingdom of God advance from our ivory towers.  The trouble is, these self-styled superior religionists do nothing but preside over a dying church, and a dying witness, and a dying denomination.

No minister who has embraced a higher critical approach to the gospel has ever built a great church, held a mighty revival, or won a city to the Lord.  They live off the labor and sacrifice of those who paid the price of devoted service before them.  Their message, which they think is new and modern, is as old as the first lie, “Yea, hath God said?”  [Genesis 3:1].

Let the true pastor never turn aside from his great high calling to preach the whole counsel of God, warn men of their sins and the judgment of God upon them, baptize their converts in the name of the triune Lord, and build up the congregation in the love and wisdom of Christ Jesus.  If he does that he will have completed the work for which the Holy Spirit did choose him.  Do not be deterred or be discouraged by what others say about you.  Just keep on winning souls to Jesus!

Number three: The Pattern of Death for a Preacher, a Pulpiteer, a Professor

 There came to the Southern Seminary in 1869 a scholarly young man by the name of Crawford H. Toy.  He was the first addition to the original faculty of four, and gave every promise of becoming the greatest of them all.  He knew more Hebrew than his teacher, Dr. Basil Manley.  Literally, he was the pride and joy of the school.  He was brilliant beyond compare.

However, through studying German higher criticism and rationalism, he drifted away from the revealed truth of the Scriptures and began to teach in the seminary the pentateuchal-destructive attacks of Keunen, Wellhausen, and a host of others.  It broke the hearts of President James P. Boyce and Professor John A. Broadus, but the dismissal had to come.

When Dr. Toy left, Boyce and Broadus accompanied him to the railroad station.  Just before the train took him away, President Boyce placed his left arm around the shoulders of the young man, and lifting up his right hand to heaven, said, “Crawford, I would give my right arm if you were back as you were when you first came to us.”

Dr. Toy went to be professor of Hebrew at Harvard University.  He went into the Unitarian church and finally, never went to church at all.  He was a world-famous scholar.  In my library, I have Hebrew books written by Dr. Toy.  He was a world-famous scholar, internationally known author, and a lovable man, but the virus of higher criticism destroyed his spiritual life and work.

This is the young man who first taught in Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, before joining the faculty of Southern Seminary.  This is the young man who taught in the school attended by a most vivacious and brilliant student, Miss Lottie Moon.  This is the young man with whom Lottie Moon fell in love.  This is the young man to whom Lottie Moon returned from China to America to marry.  This is the young man the foreign mission board of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1860 appointed a missionary to the Orient, the War Between the States preventing his going.  This is the young man, Crawford H. Toy, who was idolized by the Baptist academic and religious world.

But Lottie Moon was shattered and grief-stricken by the new theology and liberal beliefs of the man she so deeply admired and so beautifully loved.  She returned to China heartbroken, never to return to home in America, never to marry, and died there in the Orient, lonely in soul and pouring her very life into a ministry for her starving Chinese people.

In the current issue of Review and Expositor, the theological journal of Southern Seminary, there is an extended article on Crawford H. Toy.  It is filled with lavish and extravagant praise for the Unitarian.  Here are the closing sentences in the review; I quote, “So far as his critical trends developed within the ten years of his membership on the faculty, his views today would not be regarded as sufficiently revolutionary to call for drastic action.  Toy’s research and views were too advanced for his contemporaries.”  That is, if he lived and taught today, his higher-critical, destructive approach to the Word of God would be perfectly acceptable, condoned, and defended!

However much our hearts may yearn over those who are victims and carriers of modernistic fallacy, if we are to survive as a people of God we must wage a war against the disease that, more than any other, will ruin our missionary, evangelistic, and soul-winning commitment.

And last: The Possibility and Promise of Resurrection, Renascence, Revival.

 If, if we will receive the Scriptures as of God, and be true to them as to the Holy Spirit, the Lord will use Southern Baptists to evangelize the world.  Revelation 14:6 says, “And I saw an angel fly in the midst of the heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.”  That angelos, having the everlasting euangelion to euangelisai the whole world, can be Southern Baptists.  We can experience in our very midst great revival, the outpouring of the saving power of the Holy Spirit upon our churches, upon our preachers, and upon our mission fields.

The way of God is always onward, forward, and upward.  The Holy Spirit always announces that there is a greater day coming.  The burden of the prophets and the marvelous beckoning light of biblical revelation are ever and always the same.  Our mighty God is marching on.  It is the message of the first page of the Bible.  It is the message of the second page of the Bible.  It is the message of the first book of the Bible.  It is the message of the second book of the Bible.  It is the message of the last page and the last book of the Bible.  A glorious triumph is coming.  The Lord never recedes.  He necessarily advances.  His creation is followed by redemption.  His redemption is followed by sanctification.  His sanctification is followed by glorification.

There is no formal conclusion to the Book of Acts.  It is open-ended.  God means for the story of Pentecostal power and revival to be prolonged after the same manner.  God does not do a great thing and then an increasingly smaller thing.  God does not build a portico of marble and finish the temple with decaying brick.  Our greatest days are yet to come.  There was a time when the Holy Spirit as a heavenly fire was a mysterious presence flashing like lightning from the skies, we knew not whence or whither; coming now upon a Moses and again upon an Elijah, sometimes appearing in the burning bush in Horeb [Exodus 3:2], sometimes falling in awesome mystery upon the altar of sacrifice of Mount Carmel [1 Kings 18:32-39], sometimes striking out in Israel’s camp in destroying fury [Numbers 11:1], sometimes appearing as the Shekinah glory in the temple’s Holy of Holies [2 Chronicles 7:1-3], the strange sign and symbol of Jehovah’s presence and power.

Since Christ’s ascension [Acts 1:9], and in the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32, the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon all flesh [Acts 2:1-4, 16-33].  John 3:34 confirms that God giveth not the Spirit by measure.  He is with us, within us, for us, for power, for conquest, for glory.  Since Pentecost, there is no age, no century, no era, no time without the marvelous outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The soul-saving experience continues.  Darkness and death and decay may reign in one place, but always light, life, and salvation will reign and vigorously abound in another.

The church at Jerusalem fell into Ebionitic legalism, but the church at Antioch experienced the greatest revival of Gentile converts the first century ever knew.  When waning of piety began to empty the churches at Antioch, the churches at Ephesus and Rome and at Milan were waxing mighty in the work of the Lord.  When the churches of Alexandria and Carthage were falling into empty philosophical dissertations, the churches of Gaul were winning all western continental Europe to the Lord.

While Rome was pursuing vain and sterile rituals, the churches of Ireland were baptizing the whole nation and their many tribes into the faith.  While Mohammed was destroying the faith in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor, the scholars of Iona were going forth to evangelize the Northumbrians, the Scots, the Picts, the Anglo-Saxons, our ancestors.

While the pontifical court of Avignon was engrossed in seeking political power, the cities of Germany were learning the heavenly ways of the Lord Jesus.  When the darkness of night and superstition were covering the churches of France, the morning stars of the Reformation were rising in England.  When Italian fields were turning into useless stubble, Bohemia was alive with the converting Spirit of Christ.

When the Unitarian defection destroyed the evangelizing spirit of the congregations of New England, the pioneer preachers were advancing beyond the Alleghenies to build churches and Christian institutions in the heartland of America.  And while elitism, and liberalism, and spiritual indifference are decimating the churches in the West, great revival is being experienced in Korea, in South America, and in central Africa.  Why not America, and why not now?

Our own and our ultimate destiny lies in the offing—and with us, the world.  Seemingly, we stand at the continental divide of history, at the very watershed of civilization.  Changes of colossal nature are sweeping the world.

In years past, the French Revolution signalized a political change.  The Renaissance brought intellectual change.  The industrial revolution introduced economic change.  The Reformation encompassed religious change.  But today, we face every kind and category of change, mostly defined by the flood tides of materialism, secularism, and liberalism.  In my lifetime, for the first time in world history, governments are statedly and blatantly atheistic.  No ancient Greek would ever make a destiny-determining decision without first consulting the oracle at Delphi.  No Roman general would go to war without first propitiating the gods.  But these bow at no altar, call upon the name of no deity, and they seem to be possessing the world.

Whether we live or die lies in the imponderables of Almighty God [Psalm 33:8-19].  Will God not judge atheistic, communistic Russia?  Will He not also judge secularistic, heathenistic, humanistic, materialistic America?  What is the difference at the judgment bar of Christ between a God-denying Russian communist atheist and a God-denying American liberal humanist?  Can God judge Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Nineveh, and Babylon, and not judge Moscow, and Peking, and San Francisco, and Dallas?

Our mission frontiers run down every street and village, through every house, home, and classroom.  The whole globe today is small, compact, and shrunken.  We see, hear, watch, read, follow what happens moment by moment around the world.  The interdependence and the interlinking of all mankind is an actual modern fact.  We all ride this planet together.  Our nation is one in a dependent family of nations.  Romans 14:7 avows, “For none of us lives to himself, and not one of us dieth to himself.”

As Baptist churches, and as a Baptist people, we need each other.  One segment of our community cannot do our work, our task, alone.  Our strength lies in a common determination and a common dedication.  One church can build a Sunday school, but a Sunday school movement must be launched by an association of churches through a Sunday school board.  One church can send a missionary, but a vast missionary movement must be engineered by a denomination of churches through a foreign mission board.  One church can have a revival, but a revival movement must be prayed for, and prayed down, and lifted up by a community of churches through an evangelistic director.

Years ago, I saw a pathetic picture in Lifemagazine.  A little boy had been lost in a horizon-to-horizon Kansas wheat field, had wandered away from the house, and had lost his way in the vast sea of standing stalks.  Frantically, the parents had searched for the small child to no avail.  The sympathizing neighbors helped, but without success.  Finally, someone suggested they join hands and comb the fields by sections.  The picture I saw was the sorrowing neighbors with the family standing over the dead body of the little boy, and the cry of the father printed as the caption below: “Oh, if only we had joined hands before!”

United in prayer, preaching, witnessing, working, not around the higher-critical denial of Scripture, but around the infallible Word of God in Christ Jesus, we cannot fail.  If we join hands with the blessed Savior, and deliver the message of the inerrant Word of God, God will rise to meet us.

And the Lord God whispered and said to me,

These things shall be, these things shall be.

No help shall come from the scarlet skies

Till My people rise.

Till My people rise, My arm is weak.

I cannot speak till My people speak.

When men are dumb, My voice is dumb.

I cannot come till My people come.

From over the flaming earth and sea,

The cry of My people must come to Me.

Not till their spirit break the curse

May I claim My own in the universe.

But if My people rise, if My people rise,

I will answer them from the swarming skies.

[excerpts from “God Prays: Answer, World! Angela Morgan, 1917]

No battle was ever won by retreat, or submission, or surrender.  When Alexander the Great lay dying, they asked him, “Whose is the kingdom?”  And he replied, “It is for him who can take it!”  It will be we, or somebody else.

Bring me my bow of burning gold:

Bring me my arrows of desire:

Bring me my spear; O clouds unfold!

Bring me my chariot of fire.

We shall not cease from battle strife,

Nor shall the sword sleep in our hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In this fair and pleasant land.

[Adapted from “Jerusalem,” by William Blake]

God grant it!  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian Rogers – How you can be certain the Bible is the word of God

Great article by Adrian Rogers.

What evidence is there that the Bible is in fact God’s Word?

I want to give you five reasons to affirm the Bible is the Word of God.

First, I believe the Bible is the Word of God because of its scientific accuracy. The Truth of the Word of God tells us that God “hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). How did Job know that the earth hung in space before the age of modern astronomy and space travel? The Holy Spirit told him. The scientists of Isaiah’s day didn’t know the topography of the earth, but Isaiah said, “It is [God] that sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word for “circle” here means a globe or sphere. How did Isaiah know that God say upon the circle of the earth? By divine inspiration.

Secondly, the Bible is affirmed through historical accuracy. Do you remember the story about the handwriting on the wall that is found in the fifth chapter of Daniel? Belshazzar hosted a feast with a thousand of his lords and ladies. Suddenly, a gruesome hand appeared out of nowhere and began to write on a wall. The king was disturbed and asked for someone to interpret the writing. Daniel was found and gave the interpretation. After the interpretation, “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Daniel 5:29). Basing their opinion on Babylonian records, the historians claim this never happened. According to the records, the last king of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but a man named Nabonidas. And so, they said, the Bible is in error. There wasn’t a record of a king named Belshazzar. Well, the spades of archeologists continued to do their work. In 1853, an inscription was found on a cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas, to the god Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born favorite son.” From other inscriptions, it was learned that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents. Nabonidas traveled while Belshazzar stayed home to run the kingdom. Now that we know that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents, it makes sense that Belshazzar would say that Daniel would be the third ruler. What a marvelous nugget of truth tucked away in the Word of God!

Third, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reads as one book. And there is incredible unity to the Bible. The Bible is one book, and yet it is made up of 66 books, was written by at least 40 different authors over a period of about 1600 years, in 13 different countries and on three different continents. It was written in at least three different languages by people in all professions. The Bible forms one beautiful temple of truth that does not contradict itself theologically, morally, ethically, doctrinally, scientifically, historically, or in any other way.

Fourth, did you know the Bible is the only book in the world that has accurate prophecy? When you read the prophecies of the Bible, you simply have to stand back in awe. There are over 300 precise prophecies that deal with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the New Testament. To say that these are fulfilled by chance is an astronomical impossibility.

Finally, the Bible is not a book of the month, but the Book of the Ages. First Peter 1:25 says: “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” No book has ever had as much opposition as the Bible. Men have laughed at it, scorned it, burned it, ridiculed it, and made laws against it. But the Word of God has survived. And it is applicable today as much as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow.

It’s so majestically deep that scholars could swim and never touch the bottom. Yet so wonderfully shallow that a little child could come and get a drink of water without fear of drowning. That is God’s precious, holy Word. The Word of God. Know it. Believe it. It is True.

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Easter weekend 2013, List of posts on series: Is the Bible historically accurate? (Updated 1 through 14C)

“In Christ Alone” music video featuring scenes from “The Passion of the Christ”. It is sung by Lou Fellingham of Phatfish and the writer of the hymn is Stuart Townend. On this Easter weekend 2013 there is no other better time to take a look at the truth and accuracy of the Bible.    Is the […]

Evidence for the Bible

Here is some very convincing evidence that points to the view that the Bible is historically accurate. Archaeological and External Evidence for the Bible Archeology consistently confirms the Bible! Archaeology and the Old Testament Ebla tablets—discovered in 1970s in Northern Syria. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place […]

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Part 2 Adrian Rogers on Proverbs “How To Be The Father Of A Wise Child” (video too)

I have been reading Proverbs almost every day for many years with my family in the evening and there is lots of wisdom in it. Take a look at the second part of this message from Adrian Rogers. How to Be the Father of a Wise Child Another great sermon outline from Adrian Rogers. Adrian Rogers […]

Part 1 Adrian Rogers on Proverbs “How To Be The Father Of A Wise Child” (video too)

Picture of Adrian Rogers above from 1970′s while pastor of Bellevue Baptist of Memphis, and president of Southern Baptist Convention. (Little known fact, Rogers was the starting quarterback his senior year of the Palm Beach High School football team that won the state title and a hero to a 7th grader at the same school named […]

What Adrian Rogers said to pro-abortion activist at the U.S. Senate in the 1990′s

Leadership Crisis in America Published on Jul 11, 2012 Picture of Adrian Rogers above from 1970′s while pastor of Bellevue Baptist of Memphis, and president of Southern Baptist Convention. (Little known fact, Rogers was the starting quarterback his senior year of the Palm Beach High School football team that won the state title and a hero […]

John McArthur and Adrian Rogers on Proverbs and Alcohol (Eddie Sutton and Ryan Dunn used as examples)

Same old story it seems. Kentucky pulls out another close victory over the Vols. This is not the only story I am talking about today. Kentucky’s Alex Poythress (22) shoots between Tennessee’s Josh Richardson, left, and Yemi Makanjuola during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, […]

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Adrian Rogers and John MacArthur on wisdom from Proverbs on alcohol

(My pastor growing up was Adrian Rogers and he died 7 years ago today. He would have been 82 if he was still living. ) I love the Book of Proverbs and every day I read one chapter of Proverbs. Since there are 31 chapters, I start the 1st of ever month and read chapter […]

Adrian Rogers on evolution

  Picture of Adrian Rogers above from 1970′s while pastor of Bellevue Baptist of Memphis, and president of Southern Baptist Convention. (Little known fact, Rogers was the starting quarterback his senior year of the Palm Beach High School football team that won the state title and a hero to a 7th grader at the same school […]

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Wanted: An Honest Debate About the Death Penalty

If you’re leaving out the murder victims in telling the story, you’re not having a real conversation about the death penalty. Pictured: the death chamber in Huntsville, Texas, as it appeared in 1997. (Photo: Bernd Obermann/Getty Images)

Mike Dukakis was asked by CNN’s Bernard Shaw during the 1988 presidential debates whether he would support the death penalty if his wife, Kitty, had been raped and murdered.

The Massachusetts governor famously responded: “No, I don’t, Bernard, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don’t see any evidence that it’s a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime.”

Given the coddling Democrats receive from the press today, Shaw’s question sounds especially jarring. But Dukakis’ automaton-like response to a query about the theoretical slaying of his dear wife did not go over well with the American public.

Dukakis did not seem to genuinely grapple with the complex moral implications of murder and punishment.

Stand for your principles in 2021—even in the face of Congress, the media, and the radical Left ganging up on conservatives and our values. Learn more now >>

Like Dukakis, I oppose the death penalty as a matter of policy (other than for extraordinary cases of domestic terrorism, such as Timothy McVeigh) for several reasons relating to state power and the effectiveness of the practice. That’s my rational side.

But viscerally speaking, I have yet to encounter a death sentence in America in my lifetime that I didn’t think was well-earned. That’s despite the dishonesty that usually defines the coverage of these cases.

This past summer, the federal government began putting people to death for the first time in 17 years. “Trump administration executes Brandon Bernard, plans four more executions before Biden takes office,” said a recent Washington Post headline.

While that is technically true, it wasn’t President Donald Trump who convicted these men of murder; it was a jury of their peers. It wasn’t Trump who upheld their convictions after numerous appeals; it was the judicial system.

It wasn’t Trump who found the death penalty constitutional; here, it was the Supreme Court that reaffirmed the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 requires executions to be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.” It wasn’t Trump who sponsored that law in 1994; it was Joe Biden.

Reporters nearly always glide past the horrifying specifics, spending inordinate amounts of space presenting the case of anti-death penalty advocates, who often dishonestly paint these men as victims. Take this Vox piece, wherein the reader learns that Bernard, “a model prisoner, mentoring at-risk youth,” had “committed crimes that resulted in the deaths of a young white married couple in 1999″—which makes a double homicide sound like an unfortunate accident and intimates that the conviction had something to do with race.

The fact is that Bernard, at 18, helped kidnap and rob a couple named Todd and Stacie Bagley, youth ministers visiting Killeen, Texas, from Iowa. The fellow gang members he was with could have let the couple go. Instead, they forced the Bagleys into the trunk of their car and drove around for hours.

While the victims were locked in the back, they appealed to the humanity of the kidnappers, saying “that they were not wealthy people, but that they were blessed by their faith in Jesus.”

After hearing these words, one gang member wanted to back out of the murder. Not Bernard, though. He had been the one driving the car used to hunt for victims.

After the murder was planned, it was Bernard who drove to purchase the fuel to burn the couple. It was Bernard, with another person, who poured lighter fluid on the car “while the Bagleys sang and prayed in the trunk.” It was Bernard who brought the Glock used to shoot Todd in the head and knock Stacie unconscious when the car didn’t burn fast enough.

“Having gotten to know Brandon,” Kim Kardashian West told her 68 million followers on Twitter last week, “I am heartbroken about this execution.”

I don’t believe the death penalty solves much—and the cost and moral baggage isn’t worth it—but I’m heartbroken for the Bagleys, whom no one will ever get to know. If you’re leaving out that part of the story, then you’re not having a real conversation about the death penalty.

And we rarely do. “Two Black men have been executed within two days. Two more are set to die before Biden’s inauguration,” writes CNN, creating the impression that the federal government is targeting black men.

The first person put to death over the summer was white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee. Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, Keith Dwayne Nelson, and William Emmett LeCroy—all white, and all as deserving as Bernard—were executed this past summer as well.

You either believe the punishment for those guilty of committing especially heinous, cruel, or depraved crimes should be death, or you do not.

The death penalty debate should revolve around the morality and efficacy of state policy regarding that criminality, not some fantasy world in which butchers are selectively cast as victims.

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Adrian Rogers: Does a Loving God Believe in Capital Punishment? [#2183] (Audio)

Kenneth D. Williams was executed at 11:05 pm in Grady, Arkansas on April 27, 2017. In this post I want to take a short look at Adrian Rogers’ sermon THE BIBLE AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT and then look at the life of Kenneth D. Williams and a close look at the peace that passeth all understanding that is available to anyone who puts their faith in Christ.

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(Kenneth D. Williams in 2017 pictured below)

Image result for kenneth d. williams

Adrian Rogers on Capital Punishment

Image result for young adrian rogers

There are four reasons why capital punishment is necessary.

FIRST, to obey God. (Genesis 9:6).

SECOND, to protect society. Romans 12:9 says, “Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.” Much today is called LOVE but has no resemblance to TRUE LOVE. Because God loves us, He doesn’t want us raped or murdered and He has put something in place to stop it. Softness to the criminal is cruelty to the community.

THIRD, for the good of the criminals.

The death penalty should also be practiced for the welfare of the criminals….When the principle of restraint is taken away, you have not served the criminal. You have been cruel to him because he does not realize the judgment that should come to him. The death sentence in a sense is a kindness to him because it reminds him that there is a God of justice that he must face.

IF A MAN HAS COMMITTED A CAPITAL CRIME AND HE KNOWS THAT HE IS GOING TO DIE FOR THAT CRIME, IT MAY BRING HIM TO REPENTANCE.

Many of those who are executed go into the chamber saying that they have repented and have accepted Christ as their personal savior. They know that in a short while they are going to face almighty God.

The Bible says that the government’s authority is there for good and there should be terror in the hearts and minds of evil doers. If we transgress, we ought to be afraid.

Romans 13:3, “For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil.”

FOURTH, another reason for the death penalty is because of the justice of God. God is a holy God. There is sin and retribution.

The death of Jesus was capital punishment. Our sin deserved death, and He took our death for us. Jesus actually bore the wrath of God against sin on the cross.

_

Let us see if what Adrian Rogers said has any validity in  the experience here in Arkansas. 

I googled the name Kenneth D. Williams and found this article,Arkansas death row inmate says he killed a fourth person,” June 15, 2005:

An inmate sentenced to death for a killing committed during a 1999 escape from a sentence for an earlier slaying has confessed to yet another killing in a letter to the editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial.

Along with a man killed in a traffic accident in Missouri during inmate Kenneth D. Williams’ 1999 escape, the slaying to which he has now confessed would make him responsible for the deaths of four people.

Williams, 26, says in a 512-page letter to the newspaper that he shot and killed Jerrell Jenkins, 36, of Pine Bluff on Dec. 13, 1998, the same day that he fatally shot Dominique Hurd, a cheerleader at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Police had listed Jenkins’ death as unsolved.

Image result for dominique hurd arkansas

“I take full responsibility for my actions and whatever consequences my peers see fit,” Williams wrote.

Williams said he was a born-again Christian and wanted to confess his sins.

__

On April 27, 2017 Kenneth D. Williams was executed and according to the article, KENNETH WILLIAMS EXECUTED THURSDAY AT CUMMINS,” b

Death row inmate Kenneth Williams of Pine Bluff was executed Thursday night at the Cummins Unit for the 1999 murder of Grady resident Cecil Boren.

Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m.

Williams was responsible for the deaths of four people in total and was sentenced to life in prison after he kidnapped and fatally shot 19-year-old University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff student Dominique Hurd in 1998. He was sentenced to death after escaping the Department of Correction’s Cummins Unit in 1999 and murdering Boren, 57, a former assistant warden at the unit.

Williams was captured only after causing a fatal auto collision with water-delivery driver Michael Greenwood, 24, in southern Missouri. In 2005 letter to the Commercial, Williams admitted to murdering Jerrell Jenkins, 36, in Pine Bluff on the same day he killed Hurd.

Greenwood’s widow and daughter bought plane tickets for Williams’ daughter and granddaughter to visit the prison before his scheduled execution.

According to an email distributed to the news media Thursday, Williams contacted freelance journalist Deborah Robinson on Thursday afternoon and provided an 1,808-word statement titled “Last Words.”

Williams credited the mother of Hurd and the daughter of Michael Greenwood with planting the seed so he could become a born-again Christian.

“I have been forever changed, forever grateful because of ‘Extreme Grace Unmerited,’” he wrote. “Amen.”

The Rev. Dewitt Hill, pastor of First Trinity Church of God in Pine Bluff, said he received a letter from Williams on Wednesday. In the letter, Williams wrote that he felt the execution was not going to happen, according to Hill, but if it did he was at peace. Williams wrote that he felt he was able to convert “most of the people on death row to God,” Hill said, adding that Williams had become a “student” of the Bible.

Boren’s niece, Terri Grimes, who attended Williams’ trial for the killing of her uncle, said she saw little remorse in him during that time.

“When I looked into his eyes during the trial, they were empty like he didn’t have a soul,” she told the Warren Eagle-Democrat. When I looked at them (his eyes) during the clemency hearings, they looked different.”

__

Lastly I read today this article,Among the last words from Kenneth Williams: ‘Finger Lickin’ Good Fried Chicken’.” Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 4:48 PM: 

EXTREME GRACE UNMERITED! (Final Communication)

On the eve of my scheduled April 27th execution, the Light burned brighter than I’ve ever Known it to! Only once before did it blind me so. It first happened in 1999. I was the twenty year old defendant in a capital murder case where the death penalty was rolled out against me. Mrs. Williams (No relation to me), the mother of the late 19-year-old Dominique Hurd, whom I senselessly murdered, took the stand having suffered great loss, and she shared these words, “I forgive Kenneth Williams. My daughter, Dominique ‘Nikki’ Hurd, was a forgiven person.” She said, ”I do not wish for him to be put to death. His death won’t bring my daughter back.” She went on to say, ”I pray that before Kenneth Williams leaves this world he will give his heart to Jesus.” On the other hand, yet not without understanding, the father of Dominique was full of indignation. He wanted me to feel his pain. Pain was my Language. It was my thing. But what I couldn’t comprehend; what could not be reconciled in my mind, was this woman’s pure act of grace, Love, mercy, and forgiveness. For someone who had taken away her child from her in the worst of ways.

The light shined into the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5

Image result for dominique hurd arkansas Kayla Greenwood

  • LIFELONG BOND: Kayla Greenwood (right) and Jasmine Johnson at Arkansas prison Wednesday for Johnson’s meeting with her father, Death Row inmate Kenneth Williams.

That marvelous light that shined forth that day out of Mrs. Williams acted as a planted seed into the soil of my life. Years later it would yield something special and God-bred. And when I could not think such a greater act of kindness, Love, and forgiveness could be expressed, I stood corrected. Thanks to Kayla Greenwood. She’s the daughter of the late Michael Greenwood, a man whose death I caused. His daughter, Kayla Greenwood, was just a child when her father was taken in a car wreck caused by me after I escaped prison. I was serving a life without sentence for killing Dominique. After 17 years of imprisonment and being on death row for also killing Cecil Boren during my escape, away from my own now 21-year-old daughter and never having seen before granddaughter, my death sentence finally had an April 27th date. A wish that burned within me was to see again my child and grandchild, possibly for the final time; first and last time. It had been over 17 years since I last saw my four-year-old child.

PRISON MEETING: Kenneth Williams with his daughter Jasmine Johnson and granddaughter. - DEATH PENALTY ACTION/TWITTER

  • DEATH PENALTY ACTION/TWITTER
  • PRISON MEETING: Kenneth Williams with his daughter Jasmine Johnson and granddaughter

The word got out about my desire. The last person(s) I would have ever thought it possible answered my call. Kayla Greenwood, the daughter of the late Michael Greenwood, and her family reached out to prison officials. Kayla said, “I would like to speak with him on good terms and put closure between us and let him know my family and I forgive him. I would also like to pay for his daughter and granddaughter to go see him and want to figure out how I can get in contact with her to make it happen. I am not looking for anything else but closure and giving his daughter and granddaughter a chance I don’t get because I know how important it is.” Not only had this family forgiven me, which would have been going the extra mile, but within a short period of time they paid and arranged for my baby and grand babe to come to Arkansas from the West Coast to visit with me, which included picking them up from the airport and driving them to the prison over 40 miles away. We had the most amazing and heart-felt visit that left a former cold-blooded killer in tears of gratitude. Had officials permitted it, Kayla and I would have met with no objections from me. My heart has never known a greater deal of respect and admiration for another human being than for Kayla and her family, and Mrs. Williams, the mother of Dominique Hurd. I will also include my daughter Jasmine and son Marqevion for forgiving me for my abandonment and any shame I may have brought upon them because of my wrongs. If tomorrow be my last day here on earth, then Mrs. Williams’ prayer she made at my trial that I GIVE MY LIFE TO JESUS before I leave this world, would be answered. I have been forever changed, forever grateful because of ”Extreme Grace Unmerited.” Amen.

Min. Kenneth D. Williams
Arkansas Death Row
Death Watch

Adrian Rogers: The Simplicity of Salvation [#2221] (Audio)

The Simplicity of Salvation

Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Do you want to know how to be saved? Or want to know how you can tell others how to be saved? Then, let’s look at Romans 10:1-10:

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down from above: 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

The Righteousness That God Rejects
When a person tries to be righteous by keeping the Ten Commandments or by doing good deeds, God rejects that. Why would God do that? Because God is holy and man is sinful at his best. The best that we can do is not enough.

We don’t have what it takes to keep the Ten Commandments in our own strength. If you’re hanging over a fire by a chain of ten links and nine of them are forged steel and one of them is made of paper, how safe are you?

That’s the reason the Bible says if we should keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, we are guilty of all. God demands perfection and we just can’t supply it. Salvation is not a reward for the righteous; it is a gift for the guilty. Salvation is not a goal to be achieved; it is a gift to be received.


The Righteousness That God Reveals

Romans 1:17 says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The only righteousness that is acceptable to God is a gift of faith through His Son Jesus Christ.

You believe in who He says He is — the God made flesh who died and rose again for you to be reconciled to God. Then, you repent of your sins and confess Christ as Lord of your life.

If Jesus is not the Lord of your life, then He is not your Savior. Salvation is not a cafeteria line where we say, “Well, I believe I’ll have a little Savior today, but no Lordship. Thank you.” No! Jesus is Lord.

The Righteousness That God Requires
The only righteousness that God will accept is sinless perfection. And that was accomplished through His Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:21 says, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Do you know what it means to believe and confess that Jesus is Lord? It literally means that you agree with God. In this context, it also means that you will tell others about this confession. And that means you will not be ashamed. There are only two ways to be saved: If you live a sinless life (which no one has done, except Jesus) or you ask the Jesus to take the payment of your sin for you (which He did on the cross), and accept His righteousness on your behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Adrian Rogers – Simplicity of Salvation (1 4)

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Adrian Rogers: How to Be Saved and Know It [#1726] (Audio)

Related posts:

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER AND ADRIAN ROGERS ARE MY TWO SPIRITUAL HEROES BECAUSE THEY DEFENDED THE ACCURACY OF THE BIBLE!

Francis Schaeffer I remember like yesterday hearing my pastor Adrian Rogers in 1979 going through the amazing fulfilled prophecy of Ezekiel 26-28 and the story of the city of Tyre. In 1980 in my senior year (taught by Mark Brink) at Evangelical Christian High School, I watched the film series by Francis Schaeffer called WHATEVER HAPPENED […]

Evidence can be found in Archaeology that supports the historical accuracy of the Bible and here are some links posted here at www.thedailyhatch.org

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5) The Bible maintains several characteristics that prove it is from God. One of those is the fact that the Bible is accurate in every one of its details. The field of archaeology brings to light this amazing accuracy. _________________________- Many people have questioned the accuracy of the Bible, but I […]

“Truth Tuesday” Is the Bible accurate or not?

Is the Bible true truth as Francis Schaeffer contended? Is It Biblically Proper to Seek Evidence for Creation? by John D. Morris, Ph.D. The Institute for Creation Research has become known for its attention to research. It’s important to recognize that we don’t try to “prove the Bible.” The Bible doesn’t need our help. Whether […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 159 Z Daniel Dennett, Philosophy, Tufts University, "God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science"

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark BalaguerMahzarin Banaji Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerSean Carroll, Patricia ChurchlandPaul Churchland, Aaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Jared DiamondFrank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John DunnAlan Dundes, Christian de Duve, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Sir Raymond FirthRobert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca Goldstein, A.C.GraylingDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyLisa Jardine, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanChristof Koch, Masatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane,  Rudolph A. Marcus, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul Perlmutter, Max PerutzHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongQuentin SkinnerRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Daniel Dennett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Daniel Dennett
Daniel Dennett 2.jpg
Born Daniel Clement Dennett III
March 28, 1942 (age 74)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University (A.B.)
Hertford College, Oxford (D.Phil.)
Awards Jean Nicod Prize (2001)
Era 20th/21st-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of biology
Philosophy of science
Cognitive science
Free will
Notable ideas
Heterophenomenology
Intentional stance
Intuition pump
Multiple Drafts Model
Greedy reductionism
Cartesian theater
Signature
Daniel Dennett signature.svg

Daniel Clement Dennett III (born March 28, 1942)[1][2] is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science.[3]

He is currently[when?] the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies and the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University. Dennett is an atheist and secularist, a member of the Secular Coalition for America advisory board,[4] and a member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. Dennett is referred to as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism“, along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.[5]

Dennett is a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal.[6]

Early life[edit]

Dennett was born on March 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Ruth Marjorie (née Leck) and Daniel Clement Dennett, Jr.[7][8] Dennett spent part of his childhood in Lebanon, where, during World War II, his father was a covert counter-intelligence agent with the Office of Strategic Services posing as a cultural attaché to the American Embassy in Beirut.[9] When he was five, his mother took him back to Massachusetts after his father died in an unexplained plane crash.[10] Dennett’s sister is the investigative journalist Charlotte Dennett.[9] Dennett says that he was first introduced to the notion of philosophy while attending summer camp at age 11, when a camp counselor said to him, “You know what you are, Daniel? You’re a philosopher.”[11]

Dennett graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1959, and spent one year at Wesleyan University before receiving his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Harvard University in 1963. At Harvard University he was a student of W. V. Quine. In 1965, he received his Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy at the University of Oxford, where he studied under Gilbert Ryle and was a member of Christ Church college.

Dennett in 2008

Dennett describes himself as “an autodidact—or, more properly, the beneficiary of hundreds of hours of informal tutorials on all the fields that interest me, from some of the world’s leading scientists”.[12]

He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.[13] He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.[14] He was named 2004 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.[15]

In February 2010, he was named to the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s Honorary Board of distinguished achievers.[16]

In 2012, he was awarded the Erasmus Prize, an annual award for a person who has made an exceptional contribution to European culture, society or social science, “for his ability to translate the cultural significance of science and technology to a broad audience.”[17]

Free will[edit]

While he is a confirmed compatibilist on free will, in “On Giving Libertarians What They Say They Want”—Chapter 15 of his 1978 book Brainstorms,[18] Dennett articulated the case for a two-stage model of decision making in contrast to libertarian views.

The model of decision making I am proposing has the following feature: when we are faced with an important decision, a consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined, produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent’s final decision.[19]

While other philosophers have developed two-stage models, including William James, Henri Poincaré, Arthur Holly Compton, and Henry Margenau, Dennett defends this model for the following reasons:

  1. First … The intelligent selection, rejection, and weighing of the considerations that do occur to the subject is a matter of intelligence making the difference.
  2. Second, I think it installs indeterminism in the right place for the libertarian, if there is a right place at all.
  3. Third … from the point of view of biological engineering, it is just more efficient and in the end more rational that decision making should occur in this way.
  4. A fourth observation in favor of the model is that it permits moral education to make a difference, without making all of the difference.
  5. Fifth—and I think this is perhaps the most important thing to be said in favor of this model—it provides some account of our important intuition that we are the authors of our moral decisions.
  6. Finally, the model I propose points to the multiplicity of decisions that encircle our moral decisions and suggests that in many cases our ultimate decision as to which way to act is less important phenomenologically as a contributor to our sense of free will than the prior decisions affecting our deliberation process itself: the decision, for instance, not to consider any further, to terminate deliberation; or the decision to ignore certain lines of inquiry.

These prior and subsidiary decisions contribute, I think, to our sense of ourselves as responsible free agents, roughly in the following way: I am faced with an important decision to make, and after a certain amount of deliberation, I say to myself: “That’s enough. I’ve considered this matter enough and now I’m going to act,” in the full knowledge that I could have considered further, in the full knowledge that the eventualities may prove that I decided in error, but with the acceptance of responsibility in any case.[20]

Leading libertarian philosophers such as Robert Kane have rejected Dennett’s model, specifically that random chance is directly involved in a decision, on the basis that they believe this eliminates the agent’s motives and reasons, character and values, and feelings and desires. They claim that, if chance is the primary cause of decisions, then agents cannot be liable for resultant actions. Kane says:

[As Dennett admits,] a causal indeterminist view of this deliberative kind does not give us everything libertarians have wanted from free will. For [the agent] does not have complete control over what chance images and other thoughts enter his mind or influence his deliberation. They simply come as they please. [The agent] does have some control after the chance considerations have occurred.

But then there is no more chance involved. What happens from then on, how he reacts, is determined by desires and beliefs he already has. So it appears that he does not have control in the libertarian sense of what happens after the chance considerations occur as well. Libertarians require more than this for full responsibility and free will.[21]

Evolutionary debate[edit]

Much of Dennett’s work since the 1990s has been concerned with fleshing out his previous ideas by addressing the same topics from an evolutionary standpoint, from what distinguishes human minds from animal minds (Kinds of Minds), to how free will is compatible with a naturalist view of the world (Freedom Evolves).

Dennett sees evolution by natural selection as an algorithmic process (though he spells out that algorithms as simple as long division often incorporate a significant degree of randomness).[24] This idea is in conflict with the evolutionary philosophy of paleontologistStephen Jay Gould, who preferred to stress the “pluralism” of evolution (i.e., its dependence on many crucial factors, of which natural selection is only one).

Dennett’s views on evolution are identified as being strongly adaptationist, in line with his theory of the intentional stance, and the evolutionary views of biologist Richard Dawkins. In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dennett showed himself even more willing than Dawkins to defend adaptationism in print, devoting an entire chapter to a criticism of the ideas of Gould. This stems from Gould’s long-running public debate with E. O. Wilson and other evolutionary biologists over human sociobiology and its descendant evolutionary psychology, which Gould and Richard Lewontin opposed, but which Dennett advocated, together with Dawkins and Steven Pinker.[25] Strong disagreements have been launched against Dennett from Gould and his supporters, who allege that Dennett overstated his claims and misrepresented Gould’s to reinforce what Gould describes as Dennett’s “Darwinian fundamentalism”.[26]

Dennett’s theories have had a significant influence on the work of evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller.

An account of religion and morality[edit]

In Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Dennett writes that evolution can account for the origin of morality. He rejects the idea of the naturalistic fallacy as the idea that ethics is in some free-floating realm, writing that the fallacy is to rush from facts to values.

In his 2006 book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, Dennett attempts to account for religious belief naturalistically, explaining possible evolutionary reasons for the phenomenon of religious adherence. In this book he declares himself to be “a bright“, and defends the term.

He has been doing research into clerics who are secretly atheists and how they rationalize their works. He found what he called a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” conspiracy because believers did not want to hear of loss of faith. That made unbelieving preachers feel isolated but they did not want to lose their jobs and sometimes their church-supplied lodgings and generally consoled themselves that they were doing good in their pastoral roles by providing comfort and required ritual.[27] The research, with Linda LaScola, was further extended to include other denominations and non-Christian clerics.[28]

Other philosophical views[edit]

He has also written about and advocated the notion of memetics as a philosophically useful tool, most recently in his “Brains, Computers, and Minds”, a three-part presentation through Harvard’s MBB 2009 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Dennett has been critical of postmodernism, having said:

Postmodernism, the school of “thought” that proclaimed “There are no truths, only interpretations” has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for “conversations” in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.[29]

Dennett adopted and somewhat redefined the term “deepity”, originally coined by Miriam Weizenbaum[30] (daughter of computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum). Dennett used “deepity” for a statement that is apparently profound, but is actually trivial on one level and meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has two (or more) meanings: one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound and would be important if true, but is actually false or meaningless. Examples are “Que sera sera!”, “Beauty is only skin deep!”, “The power of intention can transform your life.”[31] The term has been cited many times.

Personal life[edit]

Dennett married Susan Bell in 1962.[32] They live in North Andover, Massachusetts, and have a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren.[33] He is an avid sailor.[34]

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]

In  the first video below in the 49th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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January 12, 2017

Dear Dr. Dennett,

I know how busy you are so I am going to make this as short as possible.

I know that you are good friends with Richard Dawkins and I have noticed how many times he quotes you in his books.  It just so happens that I have just got finishing reading back to back his books, The God DelusionAn Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, and Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science. I also recently enjoyed watching you on Jonathan Miller’s BBC program Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief.  Francis Schaeffer used to quote Jonathan Miller back in the 1960’s during his teachings at L ‘Abri.

Today I wanted respond to an assertion you made in the very popular You Tube series, 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1):

God is definitely beyond the verification process of science. God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science.  The classic adaptation of religion is to create this gulf so that science can’t get anywhere near God. That is true, but science can understand that very fact.

Let me give 4 short responses.

FIRST, Romans 1 points that every person has a God-given conscience instead of them that tells them that God exists. Back on July 8, 2014 I mailed you a letter that went into this further and the interesting factor is that this can be tested by a lie-detector and there was a proposition I made to the FELLOWS of CSICOP concerning that in the 1990’s and I assume you were one of the individuals I contacted back then. I was very honored that many of the them replied (including Antony Flew and Carl Sagan).

SECOND, let me recommend a book  by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Marrow, called Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists.

THIRD, John Piippo responds to your assertion by quoting Alvin Plantinga. As you know  Plantinga wants to show that there is no good reason to think Christian belief is unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted unless it can be shown that Christian beliefs are false.

John Piippo in his article 50 Renowned Academics (Atheists) Speaking About God – A Review, (August 05, 2011) noted:

  1. Daniel Dennett (philosophy)

God cannot be scientifically verified. The God of theism is “protected from disproof” because it is defined as “beyond science.” This is an interesting point, and one that can be responded to. See, e.g., Plantinga, who takes the discussion into the arena of “properly basic beliefs.

FOURTH,  there is plenty of evidence from archaeology showing the Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. You stated, “God is definitely beyond the verification process of science.” However, what about the events in the Bible which claim to be the works of God? Can they be tested by a examination of the historical and archaeological records?  Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.,

I have also responded to your statement today in a more lengthy way on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org in the post RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Daniel Dennett, Philosophy, Tufts University, “God is designed to be beyond the verification process of science.” I hope you take time to take a look. By the way this series was started because your friend HARRY KROTO is the one who referred me to the You Tube video series that featured your quote!!!

Thank you again  for your time.

Everette Hatcher,  P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221, cell ph 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@gmail.com

PS: Today I checked out of the library your book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, and two years ago I read  Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), and just year I listened to the audio book  On The Origin Of The Species (Charles/Francis Darwin) Narrated by Professor. Richard Dawkins, Ph.D., So I trying to try and understand your point of view too.

Darwin age 30
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin in midlife
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin close to the end of his life

Daniel C. Dennett,
Tufts University
Medford, MA

July 8, 2014

Dear Dr. Dennett,

Recently I read these words that were attributed to you, “There are two ways of looking at the source of meaning there’s the old-fashioned way, which is the trickle-down theory of meaning. Our lives can’t have meaning unless we’re the lesser products of something even more meaningful than we are…The other way of looking at it is the bubble-up theory of meaning, which is that the universe starts off without meaning and there really is no point to it, but it’s possible for life to evolve and it does. We eventually show up–and we are meaning-makers and we care…”

Solomon took a long look at finding meaning in life “under the sun” in the Book of Ecclesiastes without God and he found that it was impossible to be a “meaning-maker” without God in the picture. More on that later.

I noticed that you are on the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and that prompted me to send this material to you today.

A couple of months ago I mailed you a letter that contained correspondence I had with Antony Flew and Carl Sagan and I also included some of the material I had sent them from Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer. Did you have a chance to listen to the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? CD yet? I also wanted to let know some more about about Francis Schaeffer. Ronald Reagan said of Francis Schaeffer, “He will long be remembered as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century, with a childlike faith and a profound compassion toward others. It can rarely be said of an individual that his life touched many others and affected them for the better; it will be said of Francis Schaeffer that his life touched millions of souls and brought them to the truth of their creator.”

Thirty years ago the christian philosopher and author Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) died and on the 10th anniversary of his passing in 1994 I wrote a number of the top evolutionists, humanists and atheistic scholars in the world and sent them a story about Francis Schaeffer in 1930 when he left agnosticism and embraced Christianity. I also sent them  a cassette tape with the title “Four intellectual bridges evolutionists can’t cross” by Adrian Rogers (1931-2005) and some of the top  scholars who corresponded with me since that time include Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), (Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), and Michael Martin (1932-).

The truth is that I am an evangelical Christian and I have enjoyed developing relationships with skeptics and humanists over the years. Back in 1996 I took my two sons who were 8  and 10 yrs old back then to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey and we had dinner one night with Herbert A. Tonne, who was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. The Late Professor John George who has written books for Prometheus Press was my good friend during the last 10 years of his life. (I still miss him today.) We often ate together and were constantly talking on the phone and writing letters to one another.

It is a funny story how I met Dr. George. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.

In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma political science department and coauthor (with Paul Boller Jr.) of the book THEY NEVER SAID IT! set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A LIFE OF WASHINGTON by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.

After reading THEY NEVER SAID IT! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, responded by providing me with their “unconfirmed  quote” list which contained a dozen quotes widely used by the religious right.

Sadly some of the top leaders of my own religious right have failed to take my encouragement to stop using these quotes and they have either claimed that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive or they defended their own method of research and claimed the secondary sources were adequate.

I have enclosed that same CD by Adrian Rogers that I sent 20 years ago although the second half does include a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

In the first 3 minutes of the CD is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” In the letter 20 years ago I gave some of the key points Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

I later learned this book of Ecclesiastes was Richard Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible. Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” No wonder Ecclesiastes is Richard Dawkins’ favorite book of the Bible! 

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. (E.O.Wilson has marveled at Solomon’s scientific knowledge of ants that was only discovered in the 1800’s.) Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

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You are an atheist and you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren‘s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

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Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Now on to the other topic I wanted to discuss with you today. I wanted to write you today for one reason. IS THERE A GOOD CHANCE THAT DEEP DOWN IN YOUR CONSCIENCE  you have repressed the belief in your heart that God does exist and IS THERE A POSSIBILITY THIS DEEP BELIEF OF YOURS CAN BE SHOWN THROUGH A LIE-DETECTOR? (Back in the late 1990’s I had the opportunity to correspond with over a dozen members of CSICOP on just this very issue.)

I have a good friend who is a street preacher who preaches on the Santa Monica Promenade in California and during the Q/A sessions he does have lots of atheists that enjoy their time at the mic. When this happens he  always quotes Romans 1:18-19 (Amplified Bible) ” For God’s wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness REPRESS and HINDER the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is KNOWN about God is EVIDENT to them and MADE PLAIN IN THEIR INNER CONSCIOUSNESS, because God  has SHOWN IT TO THEM,”(emphasis mine). Then he  tells the atheist that the atheist already knows that God exists but he has been suppressing that knowledge in unrighteousness. This usually infuriates the atheist.

My friend draws some large crowds at times and was thinking about setting up a lie detector test and see if atheists actually secretly believe in God. He discussed this project with me since he knew that I had done a lot of research on the idea about 20 years ago.

Nelson Price in THE EMMANUEL FACTOR (1987) tells the story about Brown Trucking Company in Georgia who used to give polygraph tests to their job applicants. However, in part of the test the operator asked, “Do you believe in God?” In every instance when a professing atheist answered “No,” the test showed the person to be lying. My pastor Adrian Rogers used to tell this same story to illustrate Romans 1:19 and it was his conclusion that “there is no such thing anywhere on earth as a true atheist. If a man says he doesn’t believe in God, then he is lying. God has put his moral consciousness into every man’s heart, and a man has to try to kick his conscience to death to say he doesn’t believe in God.”

It is true that polygraph tests for use in hiring were banned by Congress in 1988.  Mr and Mrs Claude Brown on Aug 25, 1994  wrote me a letter confirming that over 15,000 applicants previous to 1988 had taken the polygraph test and EVERYTIME SOMEONE SAID THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, THE MACHINE SAID THEY WERE LYING.

It had been difficult to catch up to the Browns. I had heard about them from Dr. Rogers’ sermon but I did not have enough information to locate them. Dr. Rogers referred me to Dr. Nelson Price and Dr. Price’s office told me that Claude Brown lived in Atlanta. After writing letters to all 9 of the entries for Claude Brown in the Atlanta telephone book, I finally got in touch with the Browns.

Adrian Rogers also pointed out that the Bible does not recognize the theoretical atheist.  Psalms 14:1: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Dr Rogers notes, “The fool is treating God like he would treat food he did not desire in a cafeteria line. ‘No broccoli for me!’ ” In other words, the fool just doesn’t want God in his life and is a practical atheist, but not a theoretical atheist. Charles Ryrie in the The Ryrie Study Bible came to the same conclusion on this verse.

Here are the conclusions of the experts I wrote in the secular world concerning the lie detector test and it’s ability to get at the truth:

Professor Frank Horvath of the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University has testified before Congress concerning the validity of the polygraph machine. He has stated on numerous occasions that “the evidence from those who have actually been affected by polygraph testing in the workplace is quite contrary to what has been expressed by critics. I give this evidence greater weight than I give to the most of the comments of critics” (letter to me dated October 6, 1994).

There was no better organization suited to investigate this claim concerning the lie detector test than the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). This organization changed their name to the Committe for Skeptical Inquiry in 2006. This organization includes anyone who wants to help debunk the whole ever-expanding gamut of misleading, outlandish, and fraudulent claims made in the name of science. I AM WRITING YOU TODAY BECAUSE YOU ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CSICOP.

I read The Skeptical Review(publication of CSICOP) for several years during the 90’s and I would write letters to these scientists about taking this project on and putting it to the test.  Below are some of  their responses (15 to 20 years old now):

1st Observation: Religious culture of USA could have influenced polygraph test results.
ANTONY FLEW  (formerly of Reading University in England, now deceased, in a letter to me dated 8-11-96) noted, “For all the evidence so far available seems to be of people from a culture in which people are either directly brought up to believe in the existence of God or at least are strongly even if only unconsciously influenced by those who do. Even if everyone from such a culture revealed unconscious belief, it would not really begin to show that — as Descartes maintained— the idea of God is so to speak the Creator’s trademark, stamped on human souls by their Creator at their creation.”

2nd Observation: Polygraph Machines do not work. JOHN R. COLE, anthropologist, editor, National Center for Science Education, Dr. WOLF RODER, professor of Geography, University of Cincinnati, Dr. SUSAN BLACKMORE,Dept of Psychology, University of the West of England, Dr. CHRISTOPHER C. FRENCH, Psychology Dept, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, Dr.WALTER F. ROWE, The George Washington University, Dept of Forensic Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

3rd Observation: The sample size probably was not large enough to apply statistical inference. (These gentlemen made the following assertion before I received the letter back from Claude Brown that revealed that the sample size was over 15,000.) JOHN GEOHEGAN, Chairman of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, Dr. WOLF RODER, and Dr WALTER F. ROWE (in a letter dated July 12, 1994) stated, “The polygraph operator for Brown Trucking Company has probably examined only a few hundred or a few thousand job applicants. I would surmise that only a very small number of these were actually atheists. It seems a statistically insignificant (and distinctly nonrandom) sampling of the 5 billion human beings currently inhabiting the earth. Dr. Nelson Price also seems to be impugning the integrity of anyone who claims to be an atheist in a rather underhanded fashion.”

4th Observation: The question (Do you believe in God?)  was out of place and it surprised the applicants. THOMAS GILOVICH, psychologist, Cornell Univ., Dr. ZEN FAULKES, professor of Biology, University of Victoria (Canada), ROBERT CRAIG, Head of Indiana Skeptics Organization, Dr. WALTER ROWE, 
 
5th Observation: Proof that everyone believes in God’s existence does not prove that God does in fact exist. PAUL QUINCEY, Nathional Physical Laboratory,(England), Dr. CLAUDIO BENSKI, Schneider Electric, CFEPP, (France),
6th Observation: Both the courts and Congress recognize that lie-detectors don’t work and that is why they were banned in 1988.  (Governments and the military still use them.)
Dr WALTER ROWE, KATHLEEN M. DILLION, professor of Psychology, Western New England College.
7th Observation:This information concerning Claude Brown’s claim has been passed on to us via a tv preacher and eveybody knows that they are untrustworthy– look at their history. WOLF RODER.
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Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”
Gene Emery, science writer for Providence Journal-Bulletin is a past winner of the CSICOP “Responsibility in Journalism Award” and he had the best suggestion of all when he suggested, “Actually, if you want to make a good case about whether Romans 1:19 is true, arrange to have a polygraph operator (preferably an atheist or agnostic) brought to the next CSICOP meeting. (I’m not a member of CSICOP, by the way, so I can’t give you an official invitation or anything.) If none of the folks at that meeting can convince the machine that they truly believe in God, maybe there is, in fact, an innate willingness to believe in God.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTIONS TO ADD TO THESE 7 OBSERVATIONS THAT I GOT 15 YEARS AGO? Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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BBC The Atheism Tapes – Daniel Dennett

 

Summary of Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology

W.K. Clifford once said that “it is wrong always and everywhere to believe something on insufficient evidence.” This is the heart of evidentialsim or theological rationalism. And it is precisely this view that Alvin Plantinga (AP) challenges with his reformed epistemology which develops a model of “warranted Christian belief”. He has two projects: one public and one Christian.

Public Project – Plantinga first distinguishes between de facto objections (aimed at showing the Christian faith to be false) and de jure objections (those aimed at undermining Christian belief even if true). Even though these can be distinguished, AP thinks argues that in the cases of Christian theistic belief there is no de jure objection independent of a de facto objection.

de jure to Theistic belief – According to the evidentialist, even if it is true that God exists, one is unjustified and irrational for believing this apart from evidence. Only beliefs that are properly basic (those that are self-evident or incorrigible) or inferred from properly basic beliefs do not require evidence. But AP wants to ask why belief in God can’t be a properly basic belief? For he sees no good reason to exclude this possibility. First, there are other things we believe without evidence that we seem entirely justified in doing so without appealing to evidence (i.e., the world is older than five minutes). Second, what evidence is there that only propositions that are self evident and incorrigible are properly basic? The theory fails its own test. So there is no reason to exclude the possibility of belief in God being Properly Basic.

AP argues that Christians are not only within their epistemic rights (Justification) in believing God exists, but also that they can know (Warranted) apart from evidence. The key to Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology is warrant, “the property which turns mere true belief into knowledge when possessed in sufficient degree.” Justification, on AP’s view, is fairly easy to come by—it’s warrant that is important for knowledge. AP appropriates Calvin’s Sensus Divinitatis (or sense of the divine) in order describe the appropriate circumstances / faculty that form the belief that God exists in people. It is within this context that he offers his four criteria for warrant: 1) the cognitive faculties of the person are functioning properly 2) the cognitive environment is appropriate 3) the purpose of the epistemic faculty is aimed at producing true beliefs. 4) the objective probability of a beliefs being true is high. According to AP then, belief in God is properly basic with respect to warrant if God exists. But then the issue of God’s existence is no longer epistemic, but metaphysical or theological (enter arguments from Natural Theology). There is then no de jure objection to theistic belief.

de jure to Christianity – What about to specifically Christian Theism? AP expands his model to include the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Due to humanity’s fall into sin, there have been disastrous cognitive and affective consequences. So if Christianity is true then belief in it is warranted in the same way mentioned above because belief is produced by the H.S.

Great Pumpkin Objectionsthe strongest objection to the public project is that it leads to radical relativism. For example, why could Linus’s belief in the Great Pumpkin not be properly basic for him? AP grants that Linus could be justified in his belief, but so what? He is still being lied to—so he possesses no warrant. Moreover, if Christian epistemologists can have belief in God be properly basic for them, then why not voodoo epistemologists? Again, AP will concede that they can within their epistemic rights (justified), but not warranted. So the Son of the Great Pumpkin Objection Fails. At most, all these objections show is that there is no de jure objection to theistic belief in general (e.g., Muslims). That will have to be settled dependent on how successful de facto arguments are against specific religious beliefs.

The Christian Projectwhile AP’s public project has been successful, his Christian project might need some modification. AP only offers thin evidence here, and his suggestion that if the Christian God exists, then he would want us to know him and would have provided a way for that to occur isn’t a statement that a Christian evidentialist would disagree with. So more insight from Scripture and experience is needed in order to explicate a Christian model of warranted Christian belief. Since the Sensus Divinitatis and the testimony of the H.S. are experientially indistinguishable, we ought to use the testimony of the H.S. (Rom. 8:16) because of Scripture. Also, the H.S. being described as a cognitive faculty outside of people that forms belief in them is off base. Rather, the H.S. is better seen as a form of testimony that provides the appropriate circumstances for a properly basic belief to be formed.

Overall, Alvin Plantinga’s Reformed Epistemology is a helpful (and many think successful) theory of explaining warranted Christian belief.

For more, see Warranted Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga (Oxford University Press).

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The Beatles – Blackbird Meaning

Martin Luther King noted in 1963 in his I HAVE A DREAM SPEECH: 

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

Francis Schaeffer asserted shortly before his death: 

The world view that the final reality is only material or energy shaped by pure chance, inevitably, (that’s the next word I would bring to you ) mathematically — with mathematical certainty — brings forth all these other results which are in our country and in our society which have led to the breakdown in the country — in society — and which are its present sorrows. So, if you hold this other world view, you must realize that it is inevitable that we will come to the very sorrows of relativity and all these other things that are so represented in our country at this moment of history.

It should be noticed that this new dominant world view is a view which is exactly opposite from that of the founding fathers of this country. Now, not all the founding fathers were individually, personally, Christians. That certainly is true. But, nevertheless, they founded the country on the base that there is a God who is the Creator (now I come to the next central phrase) who gave the inalienable rights.

We must understand something very thoroughly. If society — if the state gives the rights, it can take them away — they’re not inalienable. If the states give the rights, they can change them and manipulate them. But this was not the view of the founding fathers of this country. They believed, although not all of them were individual Christians, that there was a Creator and that this Creator gave the inalienable rights — this upon which our country was founded and which has given us the freedoms which we still have — even the freedoms which are being used now to destroy the freedoms.

The reason that these freedoms were there is because they believed there was somebody who gave the inalienable rights. But if we have the view that the final reality is material or energy which has existed forever in some form, we must understand that this view never, never, never would have given the rights which we now know and which, unhappily, I say to you (those of you who are Christians) that too often you take all too much for granted. You forget that the freedoms which we have in northern Europe after the Reformation (and the United States is an extension of that, as would be Australia or Canada, New Zealand, etc.) are absolutely unique in the world.

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According to SONGFACTS.COM:

  • Paul McCartney wrote this about the civil rights struggle for blacks after reading about race riots in the US. He penned it in his kitchen in Scotland not long after Little Rock, when the federal courts forced the racial desegregation of the Arkansas capital’s school system. McCartney told Mojo magazine October 2008: “We were totally immersed in the whole saga which was unfolding. So I got the idea of using a blackbird as a symbol for a black person. It wasn’t necessarily a black ‘bird’, but it works that way, as much as then you called girls ‘birds’; the Everlys had had Bird Dog, so the word ‘bird’ was around. ‘Take these broken wings’ was very much in my mind, but it wasn’t exactly an ornithological ditty; it was purposely symbolic.”

Paul McCartney ‘Early Days’

Published on Jul 7, 2014

http://www.PaulMcCartney.com
‘Early Days’ is taken from Paul McCartney’s ‘NEW’ album.

Get ‘NEW’:
From Amazon: http://smarturl.it/PMc_New_Album_Amzn
From iTunes: http://smarturl.it/PMnewiTunes
From Google Play: http://g.co/PlayPaulMcCartney

Early Days:

They can’t take it from me if they try
I lived through those early days
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter
Just to keep from getting crazed

Dressed in black from head to toe
Two guitars across our backs
We would walk the city roads
Seeking someone who would listen to the music
That we were writing down at home

But they can’t take it from me if they try
I lived through those early days
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter
Just to keep from getting crazy

Hair slicked back with Vaseline
Like the pictures on the wall
Of the local record shop
Hearing noises we were destined to remember
We willed the thrill to never stop

May sweet memories of friends from the past
Always come to you, when you look for them
And your inspiration, long may it last
May it come to you, time and time again

Now everybody seems to have their own opinion
Who did this and who did that
But as for me I don’t see how they can remember
When they weren’t where it was at

And they can’t take it from me if they try
I lived through those early days
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter
Just to keep from getting crazed
I lived through those early days
I lived through those early days

Paul McCartney – Blackbird (Live)

Blackbird (Beatles song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the Beatles song. For other songs with similar titles, see Blackbird (disambiguation).
“Blackbird”
Beatles-blackbird.jpg

Sheet music
Song by The Beatles from the album The Beatles
Released 22 November 1968
Recorded 11 June 1968, EMI Studios,London
Genre Folk
Length 2:19
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin

Blackbird” is a Beatles song from the double-disc album The Beatles (known as the White Album). The song was written by Paul McCartney, though credited to Lennon–McCartney.

Origins[edit]

McCartney explained on Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road, aired in 2005, that the guitar accompaniment for “Blackbird” was inspired by J.S. Bach‘s Bourrée in E minor, a well known lute piece, often played on the classical guitar.
The first night his future wife Linda Eastman stayed at his home, McCartney played “Blackbird” for the fans camped outside his house.[1]As teenagers, he and George Harrison tried to learn Bourrée as a “show off” piece. The Bourrée is distinguished by melody and bass notes played simultaneously on the upper and lower strings. McCartney adapted a segment of the Bourrée (reharmonised into the original’s relative major key of G) as the opening of “Blackbird”, and carried the musical idea throughout the song.

Meaning[edit]

McCartney was inspired to write it while in Scotland as a reaction to racial tensions escalating in the United States in the spring of 1968.[2]

In May 2002, during a show at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas as part of the Driving USA Tour supporting the Driving Rain album, McCartney spoke on stage about the meaning of the song. KCRW DJ Chris Douridas interviewed McCartney backstage afterwards for his radio show New Ground, and the meaning of the song was discussed.[3] This interview aired on KCRW on 25 May 2002.

I had been doing poetry readings. I had been doing some in the last year or so because I’ve got a poetry book out called Blackbird Singing, and when I would read “Blackbird”, I would always try and think of some explanation to tell the people, ’cause there’s not a lot you can do except just read the poem, you know, you read 10 poems that takes about 10 minutes, almost. It’s like, you’ve got to, just, do a bit more than that. So, I was doing explanations, and I actually just remembered why I’d written “Blackbird”, you know, that I’d been, I was in Scotland playing on my guitar, and I remembered this whole idea of “you were only waiting for this moment to arise” was about, you know, the black people’s struggle in the southern states, and I was using the symbolism of a blackbird. It’s not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it’s a bit more symbolic.— Paul McCartney, Interview with KCRW’s Chris Douridas, 25 May 2002 episode of New Ground (17:50–19:00)

Also, before his solo acoustic guitar set during the Driving USA Tour, McCartney explained that “bird” is British slang for girl, making “blackbird” a synonym for ‘black girl’. Near the end of the song’s performance, a young black woman sang the lyrics, “You were only waiting for this moment to arrive, blackbird fly…”, after which the program faded to a commercial.

In 2009, McCartney performed this song at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, commenting prior to singing it on how it had been written in response to the 1960s Civil Rights movement, and added, “It’s so great to realise so many civil rights issues have been overcome.”[4]

The Beatles – Blackbird (Subtitulada en español)

Composition and recording[edit]

The song was recorded on 11 June 1968 in EMI Studios, with George Martin as the producer and Geoff Emerick as the audio engineer.[5] It is a solo performance with McCartney playing a Martin D 28 acoustic guitar. The track includes recordings of a male blackbird singing in the background.[5][6]

The accompaniment consists of guitar, tapping, and birdsong overdub. The tapping “has been incorrectly identified as a metronome in the past”, according to engineer Geoff Emerick, who says it is actually the sound of Paul tapping his foot, which Emerick recalls as being mic’d up separately.[7] Footage included in the bonus content on disc two of the 2009 remaster of the album shows McCartney tapping both his feet alternately while performing the song.

The mono version contains bird sounds different from the stereo recording, and was originally issued on a mono incarnation of The Beatles (it has since been issued worldwide as part of The Beatles in Mono CD box set). The song appears on Love with “Yesterday“, billed as “Blackbird/Yesterday”. “Blackbird” provides an introduction to “Yesterday”.

George Harrison Interview 2000 (rare!)

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

“Blackbird” is, by one count, one of the top ten most recorded covers of all time.[8] The following artists have recorded “Blackbird” in a variety of styles (in alphabetical order):

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Featured Photographer is Richard Avedon

Charlie Rose – Richard Avedon

Published on Feb 26, 2014

1999 Interview of photographer Richard Avedon by Charlie Rose. The first half of this episode of The Charlie Rose Show is an interview with photographer Annie Leibovitz here: http://bit.ly/1llyFo4

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These first few people were on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s:

Marlene Dietrich, Actor, The Ritz, Paris, August 1955 © Richard Avedon

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Bob Dylan

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Aldous Huxley

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Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller by Richard Avedon, New York, May 8, 1957

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William S. Burroughs

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Below Paul by Richard Avedon

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Richard Avedon is mentioned at the 4:40 mark in the clip below:

Beatles Revolution #7-A

Richard Avedon below:

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GEORGE BY AVEDON:

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This shot of Ringo as Nero was taken by Richard Avedon on 29 January and used as illustration for a Daily Mail article titlled ‘Hail, Ringo’. The pic was taken at Thomson House where Avedon later took his iconic image of the four Beatles on 11 August 1967 (used for the psychedelic Daily Express posters in 1968 and, of course, on the Love Songs album. The Beatles also came to thomson House to start the Mad Day out photo shoot on 28 July 1968. BTW, Thomson House is now the headquarters of the ITV media empire.

Tags: ,

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Richard Avedon- Darkness and Light

Published on Sep 6, 2012

From the 1995 American Masters Series.

Good article below:

<a class=”entry-title” style=”margin:0;padding:0;border:none;outline:0;font-size:27px;text-decoration:none;color:#330000;font-family:Times;line-height:28.35000038147px;” title=”Once and For All: What’s The Beatles’ Coolest Collective Look?” href=”http://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/once-and-for-all-coolest-collective-beatles-look/&#8221; rel=”bookmark”>Once and For All: What’s The Beatles’ Coolest Collective Look?

Posted by

Let’s kick off Once and For All February with a subject that hits on a large segment of the Hall’s demographic, involving a favorite band, Rock Superpowers, and the all-important issues of Look. Let’s determine—once and for allThe Beatles’ Coolest Collective Look.

The nominees and the RTH People’s Poll follow…after the jump!

Collarless Suits. What’s more classic, more Beatle-esque than the original collarless suits? Next to the moptop hairdos (and the music, of course), those suits are most responsible for putting the band on the map.

collarless

Sgt. Pepper’s. What’s more classic, more Beatle-esque than the moustachioed Sgt. Pepper’s Look? Any Beatles tribute band performance builds to a crescendo once the vaguely Beatles-looking members come back from a brief intermission in their colorful silk military suits and glue-on moustaches.

sgtpeppers

Rooftop Concert. The rooftop performance Look is heavy, man. Hair is blowing in the wind. Facial hair is in need of that snazzy electric razor favored by Adrien Brody, André 3000, and the Spanish guy from that overlooked gem of a movie The Science of Sleep. To top it off, they’re wearing a mish-mash of women’s fur coats, raincoats, green jeans, and proto-hipster sneaks!

rooftop

Stoned Soul Picnic. The Rubber Soul album cover photo shoot caught the band on a day when they probably needed a haircut, but someone must have watched the weather report and realized that low humidity would allow for one more day of stoned shagginess.

rubbersoulphoto

Richard Avedon glossies. Fashion photographer Richard Avedon’s White Album glossies capture a unique perspective on the boys: they are both immersed in their hippie-dom yet cleaned up and glammed up just enough to show their original guise as the fresh-faced lads they had been just a few years earlier.

avedon

Runners up (not eligible): Leonine (ie, when all 4 Beatles were bearded, which I don’t believe was ever captured on camera simultaneously); Walrus/Eggman costumes; Beatles Dress Up Like The Band (ie, Beatles Again album cover)…

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Richard Avedon Biography

Photographer (1923–2004)
American photographer Richard Avedon was best known for his work in the fashion world and for his minimalist, large-scale character-revealing portraits.
American photographer Richard Avedon was best known for his work in the fashion world and for his minimalist portraits. He worked first as a photographer for the Merchant Marines, taking identification photos. He then moved to fashion, shooting for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, demanding that his models convey emotion and movement, a departure from the norm of motionless fashion photography.

Profile

Richard Avedon was born on May 15, 1923 in New York City. His mother, Anna Avedon, came from a family of dress manufacturers, and his father, Jacob Israel Avedon, owned a clothing store called Avedon’s Fifth Avenue. Inspired by his parents’ clothing businesses, as a boy Avedon took a great interest in fashion, especially enjoying photographing the clothes in his father’s store. At the age of 12, he joined the YMHA (Young Men’s Hebrew Association) Camera Club.

Avedon later described one childhood moment in particular as helping to kindle his interest in fashion photography: “One evening my father and I were walking down Fifth Avenue looking at the store windows,” he remembered. “In front of the Plaza Hotel, I saw a bald man with a camera posing a very beautiful woman against a tree. He lifted his head, adjusted her dress a little bit and took some photographs. Later, I saw the picture in Harper’s Bazaar. I didn’t understand why he’d taken her against that tree until I got to Paris a few years later: the tree in front of the Plaza had that same peeling bark you see all over the Champs-Elysees.”

Avedon attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City, where one of his classmates and closest friends was the great writer James Baldwin. In addition to his continued interest in fashion and photography, in high school Avedon also developed an affinity for poetry. He and Baldwin served as co-editors of the school’s prestigious literary magazine, The Magpie, and during his senior year, in 1941, Avedon was named “Poet Laureate of New York City High Schools.” After high school, Avedon enrolled at Columbia University to study philosophy and poetry. However, he dropped out after only one year to serve in the United States Merchant Marine during World War II. As a Photographer’s Mate Second Class, his main duty was taking identification portraits of sailors. Avedon served in the Merchant Marine for two years, from 1942 to 1944.

Upon leaving the Merchant Marine in 1944, Avedon attended the New School for Social Research in New York City to study photography under Alexey Brodovitch, the acclaimed art director of Harper’s Bazaar. Avedon and Brodovitch formed a close bond, and within one year Avedon was hired as a staff photographer for the magazine. After several years photographing daily life in New York City, Avedon was assigned to cover the spring and fall fashion collections in Paris. While legendary editor Carmel Snow covered the runway shows, Avedon’s task was to stage photographs of models wearing the new fashions out in the city itself. Throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s he created elegant black-and-white photographs showcasing the latest fashions in real-life settings such as Paris’s picturesque cafes, cabarets and streetcars.

Already established as one of the most talented young fashion photographers in the business, in 1955 Avedon made fashion and photography history when he staged a photo shoot at a circus. The iconic photograph of that shoot, “Dovima with Elephants,” features the most famous model of the time in a black Dior evening gown with a long white silk sash. She is posed between two elephants, her back serenely arched as she holds on to the trunk of one elephant while reaching out fondly toward the other. The image remains one of the most strikingly original and iconic fashion photographs of all time. “He asked me to do extraordinary things,” Dovima said of Avedon. “But I always knew I was going to be part of a great picture.”

Avedon served as a staff photographer for Harper’s Bazaar for 20 years, from 1945 to 1965. In addition to his fashion photography, he was also well known for his portraiture. His black-and-white portraits were remarkable for capturing the essential humanity and vulnerability lurking in such larger-than-life figures as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan and The Beatles. During the 1960s, Avedon also expanded into more explicitly political photography. He did portraits of civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Julian Bond, as well as segregationists such as Alabama Governor George Wallace, and ordinary people involved in demonstrations. In 1969, he shot a series of Vietnam War portraits that included the Chicago Seven, American soldiers and Vietnamese napalm victims.

Avedon left Harper’s Bazaar in 1965, and from 1966 to 1990 he worked as a photographer for Vogue, its chief rival among American fashion magazines. He continued to push the boundaries of fashion photography with surreal, provocative and often controversial pictures in which nudity, violence and death featured prominently. He also continued to take illuminating portraits of leading cultural and political figures, ranging from Stephen Sondheim and Toni Morrison to Hillary Clinton. In addition to his work for Vogue, Avedon was also a driving force behind photography’s emergence as a legitimate art form during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. In 1959 he published a book of photographs, Observations, featuring commentary by Truman Capote, and in 1964 he published Nothing Personal, another collection of photographs, with an essay by his old friend James Baldwin.

In 1974 Avedon’s photographs of his terminally ill father were featured at the Museum of Modern Art, and the next year a selection of his portraits was displayed at the Marlborough Gallery. In 1977, a retrospective collection of his photographs, “Richard Avedon: Photographs 1947-1977,” was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before beginning an international tour of many of the world’s most famous museums. As one of the first self-consciously artistic commercial photographers, Avedon played a large role in defining the artistic purpose and possibilities of the genre. “The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion,” he once said. “There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.”

Richard Avedon married a model named Dorcas Nowell in 1944, and they remained married for six years before parting ways in 1950. In 1951, he married a woman named Evelyn Franklin; they had one son, John, before they also divorced.

In 1992, Avedon became the first staff photographer in the history of The New Yorker. “I’ve photographed just about everyone in the world,” he said at the time. “But what I hope to do is photograph people of accomplishment, not celebrity, and help define the difference once again.” His last project for The New Yorker, which remained unfinished, was a portfolio entitled “Democracy” that included portraits of political leaders such as Karl Rove and John Kerry as well as ordinary citizens engaged in political and social activism.

Richard Avedon passed away on October 1, 2004, while on assignment forThe New Yorker in San Antonio, Texas. He was 81 years old.

One of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Richard Avedon expanded the genre of photography with his surreal and provocative fashion photography as well as portraits that bared the souls of some of the most important and opaque figures in the world. Avedon was such a predominant cultural force that he inspired the classic 1957 film Funny Face, in which Fred Astaire’s character is based on Avedon’s life. While much has been and continues to be written about Avedon, he always believed that the story of his life was best told through his photographs. Avedon said, “Sometimes I think all my pictures are just pictures of me. My concern is… the human predicament; only what I consider the human predicament may simply be my own.”

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Groucho Marx by Richard Avedon

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Buster Keaton, comedian, New York, September 1952. Photo Richard Avedon

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Dwight-EistenhowerRichard Avedon Foundation. Eli Reed. ‘Tupac Shakur’ 1992 (printed 2013)Richard Avedon. Charlie Chaplin Leaving America. NYC, September 13 1952___________

SIMPLY STUNNING: RICHARD AVEDON’S PORTRAITS

August 31, 2012

Good luck keeping your $#!% together when you walk into a room and see Jackie O., Malcolm X, Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Turner, Truman Capote, Janis Joplin, Katharine Hepburn, and Andy Warhol all in the same place.  Perhaps one of the most striking photography exhibitions in modern history, the SF MoMA’s Richard Avedon retrospective in 2009 was the first comprehensive retrospective of the American photographer since his death in 2004.  Titled “Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004,” the exhibit focused purely on Avedon’s black and white photographs spanning his fifty+ year career, from pieces that graced the pages of Vogue to a portrait series of rural, Midwestern farm hands, carneys and beekeepers.

Born to a Russian Jewish family in New York City in 1923, Avedon began his career in his 20s in commercial and fashion photography, producing shots for Harper’s Bazaar, and soon after for Vogue and Life Magazine.

Funny Face – trailer (1956) AUDREY HEPBURN

Though he began his career in fashion photography, as he became a more established artist his interests  meandered to the movers and shakers of the American political and social scene.  Many of Avedon’s iconic photos depict some of the most famous models, actresses and actors, politicians, writers and artists in modern history.  In most cases, however, Avedon tried to capture a version of each person that is stripped of the Hollywood or political branding and bravado, instead aiming to represent basic human emotions and relatable expressions.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of the work reproduced below was originally produced on a larger-than-life scale, some reaching 8 by 10 feet or larger.

Even if you had no idea who these people were or what they did for a living, each portrait could give you a pretty good idea based on how Avedon chose to represent them.  The combination of the simple background with the close-up details and epic proportions of each photograph force your eyes to focus sharply on each facial expression and body movement; You notice the wrinkles around the lips of the trumpeter, the musician’s easy posture, a wife’s admirative stare, the grin and outstretched hand of a budding politician.

“He was trying to cut to the heart of the matter…to understand what people’s lives were really like under force of pressure.  His work, in a way, strips away the masks that we all wear, and in doing so reveals a kind of deeper humanity.  I think that when photographers today, or artists or writers or the public at large, look at his photographs, that this is what they’ll really be able to take away from the work: this penetrating of the masks that we all wear in order to hide ourselves.”  -Paul Roth, curator of Photography at Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C.

Famous for saying, “All photographs are accurate.  None of them is the truth.”, Avedon understood that photography is an art of collaboration between a photographer and his subject, with push and pull, give and take from each.  He enjoyed using stories to evoke specific reactions from his subjects and to play with their emotions, allowing him to capture the expressions he wanted to show.

Take, for example, his photo shoot with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Here is a photo of the duo taken in the Bahamas by the The Vancouver Sun in 1940 (not by Avedon):

Infamous for abdicating the throne to marry the woman he loved, Edward VIII was given the title Duke of Windsor, and his new wife Wallis Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor upon their marriage in the 1930s.  Wallis was an American socialite with two living ex-husbands (the second divorce was not finalized when she met Edward VIII)–hardly a suitable companion for a British monarch.  In addition to the initial political uproar that their romance caused in Britain,  during the Second World War the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were also suspected by many to be Nazi sympathizers.

Avedon knew that these political and socialite subjects were no strangers to being photographed, and that they were likely expecting a classic “stock photo shoot.”  As they sat down in front of the camera, and with the knowledge that they were avid Pug lovers, Avedon told them that on his way to meet them that day, his taxi had run over and killed a dog.

The following expression ensued:

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Waldorf Astoria, Suite 28A, New York, April 16, 1957

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Avedon’s focus shifted from celebrity portraits to documenting “working class” Americans.  He created a series, eventually published into an exhibition catalogue, called “In the American West: 1979-1984.”

Avedon himself said, during his transition from celebrity and fashion photographer  to “staff photographer” (ha!) at U.S.A. Today:

“I’ve photographed just about everyone in the world…but what I hope to do is photograph people of accomplishment, not celebrity, and help define the difference once again.”

In lieu of me posting a million (or two) additional mesmerizing Avedon portraits, check out The Richard Avedon Foundation’s website, which keeps his artwork and legacy alive in truly stunning photo displays, as well as in arts institutions worldwide.

Avedon Self Portrait

Richard Avedon, Self-portrait, Provo, Utah, August 20, 1980; © 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation

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Salvador Dalí and Dovima, New York, January 1963Photographer: Richard Avedon

Avedon’s son and father, 1969

Avedon’s 8 x 10 portrait of his son, his father, and himself during a visit to Jacob Avedon’s home in Sarasota, Florida, August 9, 1969

Evidence 1944-1994 by Richard Avedon, Random House, 1994, p. 151: “Avedon’s 8″ x 10″ portrait of his son, his father, and himself during a visit to Jacob Avedon’s home in Sarasota, Florida, August 9, 1969”. © Richard Avedon Foundation.

This is the portrait of three different generations of men from the same family, each of them moving through life at different speed and in different direction, immobilized for a fraction of a second within the same frame.

From left to right: John Avedon, Jacob Israel Avedon (died in 1973) and Richard Avedon (died in 2004). The complete series of photos Richard Avedon took of his father can be found online at The Richard Avedon Foundation website.

palonka: photo of Coco Chanel by Richard Avedon via Accro de la Mode

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PATTI HANSEN aka Ms KEITH RICHARDS – Richard Avedon (1977) (Via superseventies)George Bush below:Henri Cartier-Bresson – Photographer Richard Avedon, Carmel Snow and Marie-Louise Bousquet, Paris 1951

Boston Museum of Fine Arts Hosts Richard Avedon Exhibit

Legendary American fashion photographer Richard Avedon who revolutionized the industry during his 60-year-long career (until his death in 2004) has taken tens upon thousands of the most well-done and well-known photographs. He is also famous for saying, “Think about the dream of Paris that everyone has. I helped invent that dream.” To honor this icon, theBoston Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a traveling exhibition of Avedon’s works entitled Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 which runs through January 17 2011.

Whether it be his photos of 15-year-old Brooke Shields in the controversial Calvin Klein Jeans campaign, his portraits of Andy Warhol, The Beatles, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Dylan, his tenure at Harper’s Bazaar, US Vogue and Life, or his photos for Gianni Versace, Richard Avedon’s name has been synonymous with fashion since the 1940s.

Brooke Shields, Calvin Klein Jeans, 1981

Andy Warhol, Jay Johnson and Candy Darling, New York, August 20, 1969

Audrey Hepburn, evening wear by Balmain, Dior, Patou, at Maxim’s, Paris, 1957

Born in New York City in the 1920s, Richard Avedon was fascinated since childhood by the art of photography, and the power that it has to portray clothes and women. He realized this as he grew up watching his father’s business (a women’s clothing store). Dropping out of Columbia University, Avedon began his career as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, followed by shooting advertisements for a department store. He soon caught the eye of Harper’s Bazaar’s creative director, eventually leading him to occupy the role of chief photographer for the magazine. During this time, Avedon opened up his own studio and began working on assignments for US Vogue and Life magazine.

Dorian Leigh, evening dress by Piguet, Paris, August 1949

Marilyn Monroe, New York City, May 6, 1957

Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, 1955

In 1966, Avedon followed famous editor Diana Vreeland when she left Harper’s Bazaar for Vogue; he subsequently became the staff photographer at Vogue until Anna Wintour‘s entry in 1988. He was also the star photographer year after year for the Gianni Versace label circa the 1980s. Numerous 1990s supermodels such as Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour and Cindy Crawford were featured in his photos. These images are now considered precious collectibles.

Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista & Paulina Porizkova for Gianni Versace, 1988

Christy Turlington & Linda Evangelista for Gianni Versace, 1987

Karen Elson for Versace Couture, 1997

At a time, when fashion photographers followed de rigeur of asking models to remain still and emotionless in order to emphasize the clothes, Avedon went against the grain, asking models to jump, laugh, run down the street and wear rollerblades. He is said to have been able to animate the clothes via the model unlike any other photographer.

Model Carmen, coat by Cardin, Paris, August 1957

Richard Avedon with Twiggy in the 1960s

Stephanie Seymour, dress by Chanel, Paris, 1995

Richard Avedon was not only responsible for animating designers’ creations, but his photos of Paris can be said to hold testament to his self-proclaimed statement regarding the invention of the dreamy vision of Paris that exists today. As he frequented Paris in the latter half of the 1940s on Harper’s Bazaar assignments, Avedon began taking multiple series of photos of bleak Post-World War II Paris. However instead of showing a disheartened, gray city, he showed models skipping on the sidewalks, showing a real sense of joie de vivre.

Models Elise & Monique, hats by Schiaparelli, Cafe de Flore, Paris, August 1948

Suzy Parker & Robin Tattersall, evening dress by Grès, Moulin Rouge, Paris, 1957

Christian Bérard & Renée, suit by Dior, Le Marais, Paris, 1947

He found a way to take designers’ creations, be it Dior or Balenciaga, depict a woman wearing these clothes with sophistication, and then involve her with an element of the city, be it at the Moulin Rouge, or watching street performers in the Marais or outside the many cafes that line the Parisian sidewalks.

Kate Moss, May 1998

John Galliano, December 1999

Although Avedon did take non-fashion photographs as well, the Avedon Fashion exhibition explores only one aspect of his multi-faceted talent. The exhibition runs at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until January 17, 2011.

Images from TFS & The Richard Avedon Foundation.

Richard Avedon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Avedon” redirects here. For other uses, see Avedon (disambiguation).
Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon.jpg

Richard Avedon, 2004
Born May 15, 1923
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 1, 2004 (aged 81)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater The New School for Social Research
Known for Photography
Spouse(s) Dorcas Marie “Doe” (Nowell) Avedon (m. 1944; div. 1949)
Evelyn Franklin (m. 1951)

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American fashion and portrait photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”.[1]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1944, Avedon married 19-year-old bank teller Dorcas Marie Nowell who later became the model and actress Doe Avedon; they did not have children and divorced in 1949.[27] In 1951, he married Evelyn Franklin; she died on March 13, 2004.[28] Their marriage produced one son, John Avedon, who has written extensively about Tibet.[29][30][31] [32]

In 1970, Avedon purchased a former carriage house on the Upper East Side that would serve as both his studio and his apartment.[33] In the late 1970s, he purchased a four-bedroom house on a 7.5-acre (3.0 ha) estate in Montauk, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and a nature preserve; in 1998, he put the place on the market for $10 million and sold it for almost $9 million in 2000.[32][34]

On October 1, 2004, Avedon died in a San Antonio, Texas hospital of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was in San Antonio shooting an assignment for The New Yorker. At the time of his death, he was also working on a new project titled Democracy to focus on the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election.[1]

Legacy[edit]

The Richard Avedon Foundation is a private operating foundation, structured by Avedon during his lifetime. It began its work shortly after his death in 2004. Based in New York, the foundation is the repository for Avedon’s photographs, negatives, publications, papers, and archival materials.[35] In 2006, Avedon’s personal collection was shown at the Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and at the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and later sold to benefit the Avedon Foundation. The collection included photographs by Martin Munkacsi, Edward Steichen and Man Ray, among others. A slender volume, Eye of the Beholder: Photographs From the Collection of Richard Avedon (Fraenkel Gallery), assembles the majority of the collection in a boxed set of five booklets: “Diane Arbus,” “Peter Hujar”, “Irving Penn”, “The Countess de Castiglione” and “Etcetera,” which includes 19th- and 20th-century photographers.[36]

In popular culture[edit]

Hollywood presented a fictional account of his early career in the 1957 musical Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire as the fashion photographer “Dick Avery.” Avedon supplied some of the still photographs used in the production, including its most famous single image: an intentionally overexposed close-up of Audrey Hepburn‘s face in which only her famous features – her eyes, her eyebrows, and her mouth – are visible.

Hepburn was Avedon’s muse in the 1950s and 1960s, and he went so far as to say: “I am, and forever will be, devastated by the gift of Audrey Hepburn before my camera. I cannot lift her to greater heights. She is already there. I can only record. I cannot interpret her. There is no going further than who she is. She has achieved in herself her ultimate portrait.”[37]

Famous photographs[edit]

_______________


Alberto Giacometti

________________


J. Robert Oppenheimer

____________

Ronald Reagan by Richard Avedon

Merce Cunningham, choreographer, New York, February 17, 1993

_______________

__________

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor, Republican candidate for Governor of California, New York, June

_____________


Truman Capote

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Richard Avedon with Francis Bacon

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Willem de Kooning

___________


Ronald Reagan

___________________


Patti Smith

____________


Janis Joplin

____________


John and Jackie Kennedy

__________


Andy Warhol and Group

_____________

Image result for sergent peppers album cover

Francis Schaeffer’s favorite album was SGT. PEPPER”S and he said of the album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”  (at the 14 minute point in episode 7 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? ) 

Image result for francis schaeffer how should we then live

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

Francis Schaeffer

Image result for francis schaeffer

______

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 202 the BEATLES’ last song FREE AS A BIRD (Featured artist is Susan Weil )

February 15, 2018 – 1:45 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 200 George Harrison song HERE ME LORD (Featured artist is Karl Schmidt-Rottluff )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 184 the BEATLES’ song REAL LOVE (Featured artist is David Hammonds )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 170 George Harrison and his song MY SWEET LORD (Featured artist is Bruce Herman )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 168 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part B (Featured artist is Michelle Mackey )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 167 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU Part A (Artist featured is Paul Martin)

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 133 Louise Antony is UMass, Phil Dept, “Atheists if they commit themselves to justice, peace and the relief of suffering can only be doing so out of love for the good. Atheist have the opportunity to practice perfect piety”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 166 George Harrison’s song ART OF DYING (Featured artist is Joel Sheesley )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 165 George Harrison’s view that many roads lead to Heaven (Featured artist is Tim Lowly)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 164 THE BEATLES Edgar Allan Poe (Featured artist is Christopher Wool)

PART 163 BEATLES Breaking down the song LONG AND WINDING ROAD (Featured artist is Charles Lutyens )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 162 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part C (Featured artist is Grace Slick)

PART 161 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part B (Featured artist is Francis Hoyland )

 

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 160 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part A (Featured artist is Shirazeh Houshiary)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 159 BEATLES, Soccer player Albert Stubbins made it on SGT. PEP’S because he was sport hero (Artist featured is Richard Land)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 158 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD?) Photographer Bob Gomel featured today!

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 118 THE BEATLES (Why was Tony Curtis on cover of SGT PEP?) (Feature on artist Jeffrey Gibson )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 117 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU Part B (Featured artist is Emma Amos )

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The Brook Kidron and Hezekiah’s Tunnel

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The Brook Kidron and Hezekiah’s Tunnel

2 Kings 20v20 states that Hezekiah ‘Made the Pool and the conduit and brought water into the city’

and in 2 Chronicles 32v30 that he closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the West side of the City of David.

This refers to the tunnel which connects the ‘Spring of Gihon’, through the rock to the reservoir called the Pool of Siloam.

It was found in 1838 when it was explored by the American traveller, Edward Robinson, and his missionary friend Eli Smith.

They first attempted to crawl through the tunnel from the Siloam end but found that they were not suitably dressed to crawl through the narrow passage. Three days later and dressed in only a wide pair of Arab drawers, they entered the tunnel from the ‘Spring of Gihon’. And advanced much of the way on their hands and knees and sometimes flat on their stomachs, they went the full distance.

They measured the tunnel and found it to be 1750 ft in length. The tunnel was full of twists and turns. The straight line distance from the Spring of Gihon to the Pool of Siloam is only 762 ft, less than half the length of the tunnel.

In 1867 Captain Charles Warren also explored the tunnel. He also excavated ‘Warren’s Shaft. which was the earlier tunnel through which the people of Jerusalem were able to obtain water.

In 1880 a boy, in the tunnel noticed an inscription on the walls and reported it to his school teacher Herr Conrad Schick who made the information available to schollars. It was written in old Hebrew (Canaanite), and said “..when (the tunnel) was driven through, while ….were still…..axes. Each man towards his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through there was heard the voice of a man calling to his fellow for there was an overlap in the rock on the right. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed each man towards his fellow, axe against axe, and the water flowed from the spring towards the reservoir for 1200 cubits’.(Ancient Near Eastern Text). In 1890 a vandal entered the tunnel and cut the inscription out of the rock, and it was found, later, in several pieces, in the possession of a Greek in Jerusalem who had bought it off an Arab. At least two other conduits were built from the Spring of Gihon into Jerusalem before the Siloam Tunnel.

There had been a tunnel at that place since David’s time, and possibly before the Israelites conquered the Promised Land, because when David wanted the City as his capital city, the Bible records that it was still in the possession of a tribe of Canaanites called the Jebusites, and David conquered the city from the Jebusites by taking his soldiers from the Spring, through the tunnel, under the walls and into the Jebusite City.

The Gihon Spring is not at the bottom of the valley but is on the Western slope, from the City walls down to the Brook Kidron. (The water comes out of the limestone a little way up the valley slope). This seems to suggest that there is an underground, natural watercourse which collects the rainwater which falls on Mount Moriah (Jerusalem), travels under the City, errupts at the spring Gihon, in the valley of Kidron, only to be taken back into the City through both the ancient and Hezekiah’s tunnel.

There are deep wells within the City, (Captain Warren had to block one of these off, for safety reasons, when he was excavating Hezekiah’s tunnel). These wells could have been one of the reasons why Jerusalem was built there in the first place, way back in antiquity.

Hezekiah’s works were two-fold.
1. To improve the access to the water from the Gihon.
2. To hide the spring Gihon from attackers.

Before Hezekiah, the people in Jerusalem used to walk about 30 yards to a shaft where they lifted up the water using a bucket. (see the OPHEL diagram).

Jerusalem is on a hill and the Siloam Pool is on the lower slope of the hill and is lower than the Gihon Spring.


This picture shows the elevation of Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Warren’s Shaft in relation to the Gihon Spring and the Pool at Siloam.
See this site
Hezekiahs Tunnel

Some accounts say that Edward Robinson discovered Hezehiah’s Tunnel in 1838.
Some accounts say that Sir Charles Warren found Hezekiah’s Tunnel in 1867.
There are THREE known tunnels from the Spring Gihon, and a very good, and scollarly account, which questions whether the tunnel was built by Hezekiah at all, is given at this site
The Biblical Archaeologist

In 1880, a boy found the ‘Siloam Inscription’ in the tunnel entrance to Hezekiah’s tunnel.

This photo of the Pool of Hezekiah was taken in approx 1937

This shows Hexzekiah’s tunnel at the Siloam Exit in 1937

This photo was taken in approx 1890 and shows the Pool of Siloam before the tunnel was discovered.

This shows the Pool of Siloam. The Bible gives the dimensions as 55ft square. In 1937 it measured18ft wide, 53 ft long and 19ft deep. The opening of the tunnel can be seen on the left. Its original height was increased by cutting done in the fifth century AD

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Plan of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (165K)

The ‘Companion Bible’ has this account

If, as it has been confidently asserted, the Spring Gihon (or the Fount of the Virgin) is the only spring in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem, then it would have been the one that was used by people before King David conquered the City from the Jebusites. That the Jebusies had access to this well or spring from within their walls is clear, but in the end it proved their undoing, for David’s men obtained possession of Jerusalem, (then called Jebus), by means of the ‘Zinnor’, (AV = gutter) i.e. the channel and shaft leading from the well to the City. The spring is intermittent, overflowing periodically, thus pointing to the existence of either a natural chasm or reservoir, or a man-made reservoir (made in antiquity), whose site is unknown. Possibly it is under mount Moriah itself. Tradition has much to say about a deep well within an unfailing water supply beneath the Temple area. It could have been one of the chief reasons why the City was built in that place originally. Somehow this well must have been forgotten and the people had to rely upon the Spring Gihon.

Before the time of Hezekiah, the City of David was dependant upon this source for its water supply in times of danger threatened from without in the same manner that the Jebusites were. The Jebusites were descended from Ophel by means of rock hewn passages with steps and slopes (still in existence) till they reached the top of ‘Warren’s Shaft’, and by means of buckets drew their water from the unfailing well spring some 40 to 50 feet below. At the top of this shaft is still to be seen the iron ring employed for this purpose.

Warrens Shaft


Elevation of ‘Warren’s Shaft’ (147K)

The rock hewn conduit and tunnel discovered by Sir Charles Warren in 1867 conveyed the overflow water from the Spring to the Pool of Siloam. (Before Hezekiah’s time the overflow wate rmust have escaped from the Virgin’s fountain at a lower level than is now possible and flowed out and down the lower end of the Kidron Valley, past the King’s Garden, possibly being the feeder for Joab’s Well.)

Hezekiah, before the Assyrian invasion in 603 BC constructed the tunnel and brought the water from Gihon to a new pool that he had made for the purpose. (2 Kings 20v20). This pool henseforth became known as the King’s Pool (Neh 2v14). When the Assyrian Army approached, Hezekiah stopped the waters from the fountains that were without the City (he concealed their extra mural approaches and outlets.

The ‘Siloam Inscription’ discovered in 1880 on a stone on the right wall of the tunnel about 20ft from its exit into the Pool of Siloam is undoubtedly the work of Hezekiah. An interesting fact with regard to its inscription is that it giveds the length of the conduit in cubits which being compared to the modern measurement in English feet yield a cubit of 17½ inches.

Sir Charles Warren wrote “It is impossible that any of the plans of the aqueduct can be rigidly correct because the roof is so low that your head is horizontal in looking at the compass so that you can only squint at it. It is necessary to remember this warning coming from such a source. Never-the -less the figures as above shown are highly interesting.”

The Siloam Inscription is graven in ancient Hebrew characters similar to those of the Moabite Stone on occupies six lines the translation of which is given below.

Line 1. [Behold] the excavation. Now is the history of the breaking through. While the workmen were still lifting up

Line 2. The pickaxe, each towards his neighbour, and while three cubits still remained to [cut through, each heard] the voice of the other calling.

Line 3. To his neighbour, for there was an excess (or cleft) in the rock on the right.And on the day of the

Line 4. Breaking through the excavators struck, each to meet the other, pickaxe against pickaxe, and their flowed

Line 5. The waters from the spring to the pool over [a space of] one thousand and two hundred cubits. And…

Line 6. Of a cubit was the height of the rock above the heads of the excavators.

The Zondervan Pictoral Bible Dictionary has this

Through the Kidron Valley ran a winter torrent but was dry much of the year. The earliest knowledge of the tunnel dates from 1838 when it was explored by the American traveler and scholar Edward Robinson.and his missionary friend Eli Smith. They first attemped to crawl through the tunnel from the Siloam End but found that they were nt suitably dressed to crawl through the passages. Three days later dressed only in a wide pair of Arab drawers they entered the tunnel from the spring of Gihon and advancing much of the way on their hands and knees and sometimes flat on their stomachs they went the full distance. They measured the tunnel and found it to be 1750ft in length.

The tunnel is full of twists and turns. The straight-line distance from the Spring Gihon to the Pool of Siloam is only 762 feet, less than half the length of the tunnel. Why it follows such a circuitous route has never been adequately explained. Grollenberg suggests that it may have been “to avoid at all costs any interference with the royal tombs, which were quite deeply hewn into the rock on the eastern slope of Ophel” (Atlas of the Bible, New York: Nelson, 1956, p. 93).

In 1867 Captain Charles Warren also explored the tunnel, but neither he nor Robinson and Smith before him, noticed the inscription on the wall of the tunnel near the Siloam end. This was discovered in 1880 by a native boy who, while wading in the tunnel, slipped and fell into the water. When he looked up he noticed the inscription. The boy reported his discovery to his teacher, Herr Conrad Schick, who made the information available to scholars. The inscription was deciphered by A. H.

Sayce, with the help of others. It consists of six lines written in Old Hebrew (Canaanite) with prong-like characters. The first half of the inscription is missing, but what remains reads as follows:

“[… when] (the tunnel) was driven through: while [ . . . ] (were) still [ . . . ] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellow, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1,200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits”

(Ancient Near Eastern Texts ed. James B. Prichard, Princeton ‘1 University Press, 1955, p. 321).

In 1890 a vandal entered the tunnel and cut the inscription out of the rock. It was subsequently found in several pieces in the possession of a Greek in Jerusalem who claimed he had purchased it from an Arab. The Turkish officials seized the pieces and removed them to Istanbul where they are today.

The Siloam tunnel was not the only conduit which had been built to bring water from the Spring of Gihon into Jerusalem. At least two others preceded it, but neither was adequately protected against enemy attack. It was probably to one of these former conduits that Isaiah referred in the words, “the waters of Shiloah that flow gently” (Isa. 8:6).

The New Bible Dictionary has this

SILOAM. One of the principal sources of water supply to Jerusalem was the intermittent pool of Gihon (‘Virgin’s Fountain’) below the Fountain Gate (Ne. iii. 15) and ESE of the city. It fed water along an open canal, which flowed slowly along the south-eastern slopes, called Siloah (Is. viii. 6). It followed the line of the later ‘second aqueduct’ which fell only ~ inch in 300 yards, discharging into the Lower or Old Pool (mod. Birket ei~!5Iamra) at the end of the central valley between the walls of the south-eastern and south-western hills. It thus ran below ‘the svall of the pool of Shiloah’ (Ne. iii. 15) and watered the ‘king’s garden’ on the adjacent slopes.

This Old Pool was probably the ‘Pool of Siloam’ in use in New Testament times for sick persons and others to wash (Jn. ix. 7—il). The ‘Tower of Siloam’ which fell and killed eighteen persons – a disaster well known in our Lord’s day (Lk. xiii. 4)—was probably sited on the Ophel ridge above the pool which, according to Josephus (BJ v. 4. 1), was near the bend of the old wall below Ophlas (Ophel). According to the Talmud (Sukkoth iv. 9), water was drawn from Siloam’s Pooi in a golden vessel to be carried in procession to the Temple on the Feast of Tabernacles. Though there are traces of a Herodian bath and open reservoir (about 58 feet x 18 feet, originally 71 feet x 71 feet with steps on the west side), there can be no certainty that this was the actual pool in question. It has been suggested that the part of the city round the Upper Pool (‘Am Silwdn) 100 yards above was called ‘Siloam’, the Lower being the King’s Pool (Ne. ii. 14) or Lower Gihon.

When Hezekiah was faced with the threat of invasion by the Assyrian army under Sennacherib he ‘stopped all the fountains’, that is, all the rivulets and subsidiary canals leading down into the Kedron ‘brook that ran through the midst of the land’ (2 Ch. xxxii. 4). Traces of canals blocked at about this time were found by the Parker Mission. The king then diverted the upper Gihon waters through a ‘conduit’ or tunnel into an upper cistern or pool (the normal method of storing water) on the west side of the city of David (2 Ki. xx. 20). Ben Sira tells how ‘Hezekiah fortified his city and brought the water into its midst; he pierced the rock with iron and enclosed the pool with mountains’ (Ecclus. xlviii. 17—19). Hezekiah clearly defended the new source of supply with a rampart (2 Ch. xxxii. 30). The digging of the reservoir may be referred to by Isaiah (xxii. 11).

In 1880 bathers in the upper pool (also called hirket siht’dn) found the entrance to a tunnel and about 15 feet inside a cursive Hebrew inscription, now in Istanbul, which reads:

” was being dug out. It was cut in the following manner . . . axes, each man towards his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, the voice of one man calling to the other was heard, showing that he was deviating to the right. When the tunnel was driven through, the excavators met man to man, axe to axe, and the water flowed for 1,200 cubits from the spring to the reservoir. The height of the rock above the heads of the excavators was 100 cubits’ .

—————————————————————————-

(The Bible as History romances this story but gives an eye witness account of walking through the tunnel. It says…

Two Arab boys were playing there, one of them fell in. Paddling for all he was worth he landed on the other side where a rock wall rose above the pool. Suddenly it was pitch black all round him. He groped about anxiously and discovered a small passage. The name of the Arab boy was forgotten but not his story. It was followed up and a long underground tunnel was discovered. A narrow passage about 2ft wide and barely 5ft high had been cut through the limestone. It can only be negotiated with rubber boots and a slight stoop. Water, knee deep rushes to meet you. For about 500 yards the passage winds imperceptibly uphill. It ends at the Virgin’s fountain, Jerusalem’s Water supply since ancient times. In Biblical days it was called ‘The Fountain of Gihon’. As experts were examining the passage they noticed by the light of their torches old Hebrew letter on the wall. The inscription which was scratched on the rock only a few paces from the entrance at the pool of Siloam reads as follows….”The boring through is completed and this is the story of the boring. While yet they plied the pick each towards his fellow and while yet there were three cubits to be bored through there was heard the voice of one calling to the other that there was a hole in the rock on the right hand and on the left hand, And on the day of the boring the workers in the tunnel struck each to meet his fellow, pick upon pick. Then the water poured from the source to the pool twelve hundred cubits and a hundred cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the workers in the tunnel.”

The Turkish Government had the inscription prized out before the First World War. It is now exhibited in the museum at Istanbul.

During a siege the number one problem is that of drinking water. The founders of Jerusalem, the Jebusites, had sunk a shaft through the rock to the Fountain of Gihon. Hezehiah directed its water, which would have otherwise flowed into the Kidron Valley through the mountain to the west side of the City. The Pool of Siloam lies inside the second perimeter wall which he constructed.

There was no time to lose. Assyrian troops could be at the gates of Jerusalem overnight. The workmen therefore tackled the tunnel from both ends. The marks of the pickaxes point to each other as the inscription describes.

Oddly enough the canal takes an ‘S’ shaped course through the rock. Why did the workmen not dig this underground tunnel the shortest way to meet each other, that is in a straight line. The wretched job would have been finished quicker. 700ft of hard work would have been saved out of a total of 1700ft.

Locally there is an old story which has been handed down which claims to explain why they had to go the long way round. Deep in the rock between the spring and the pool are supposed to lie the graves of David and Solomon. Archaeologists took this remarkable piece of folk-law seriously and systematically tapped the walls of the narrow damp tunnel. They sank shafts into the rock from the summit, but they found nothing.

———————————————-

When this remarkable Judean engineering feat was excavated the marks of the picks and deviations to effect a junction midway were traced. The tunnel traverses 1,777 feet (others 1,749 feet), twisting to avoid constructions or rock faults or to follow a fissure, to cover a direct line of 1,090 feet. It is about 6 feet high and in parts only 20 inches wide. It has been suggested that this or a similar tunnel was the gutter (sjnndr) up which David’s men climbed to capture the Jebusite city (2 Sa. v. 8). Modern buildings prevent any archaeological check that the upper pool is the ‘reservoir’ (bereicd) of Hezekiah or that from this the waters overflowed direct to the lower pool.

———————————————–

The New Bible dictionary has this…

Below the southern wall, in the bill opposite the village of Silwan (Siloam) where the old Jebusite stronghold stood that afterwards became the city of David, the famous Siloam inscription was found cut in Hebraic characters of the time of King Hezekiah on the rocky side of the water channel made by this monarch, when he “turned the upper water course of Gihon and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David” The piece of rock bearing this inscription has recently been removed and broken, but was fortunately recovered, and now rests in the Ottoman Museum at Constantinople. Another inscription of almost equal importance was found at the north-west corner of the Haram enclosure, on a tablet that formerly served as a notice forbidding strangers to enter the Temple Courts on pain of death. Built in the wall over the Double Gate on the south side of the Temple Area, is a Latin inscription that originally belonged to a statue of Hadrian. On this, the south side of the city, but further west, below Neby Daud, where excavations are being carried on at the present time, old Jebusite houses have been brought to light. Other work is in contemplation that will probably settle the position of the city of David and open the tombs of the Kings of Judah.

The Kidron is the only stream of water in Jerusalem the people of Jerusalem ever see without setting out on a day’s journey. It appears at rare intervals of one or two years, and then only after a plentiful supply of rain. As soon as the water begins to flow the news spreads over the City and men women and children flock to see it, In their anxiety to see most of the wonder they picnic there all day long and hold a general holiday.

It now runs only from ‘Bir Eyub’ (Job’s Well) when this overflows; but in the days of old, when Hezekiah was King, and compelled to keep constant watch over his Assyrian enemy, Sennacherib, it ran all down the valley from Ain Umm ed Deraj (Spring of the Mother of Steps), the Virgin’s Fountain, and was known as ‘the brook that overflowed in the midst of the land’. (2 Chron 32v4).

Its course was, however, perverted by the primitive Jewish Engineers in order to provide for the wants of the City, and cut off the water supply of the besieging army. (see 2 Chron 32v30).

“The same Hezekiah also stopped up the upper watercourse of Gihon and brought it straight down to the west side of the City of David”.

The channels that were made for this purpose have since been found and one contained the famous Siloam inscription, one of the most valuable and interesting ever discovered. It has lately been removed and broken but a photograph of a squeeze with a translation is sold by the Palestine Exploration Fund. This practically settles the site of the ‘City of David’. ‘the stronghold of Zion’, the hill above the spring through which these channels were cut from the Virgin’s Fountain, (the upper watercourse of Gihon).in the Kedron Valley.on the East to the ‘King’s Pool.’ ‘The Pool of Hezekiah’ now the ‘Pool of Siloam’ in the Tyropean Valley on the ‘west side’.

The upper watercourse of Gihon that played such an important part in the reign of Hezekiahis an intermittent spring in the Kedron Valley below the southern wall of the City. It is now known to Europeans as the ‘Virgin’s Fountain. And to the natives as ‘Ain Umm ed Deraj’. The peasants call it also the ‘Dragon’s Well’ because they believe a dragon lives in the bottom who swallows up the water, which can only escape when he is asleap. This spring has been a subject of many a conroversy, and is still, but has fairly proven to be the ‘Upper Watercourse of Gihon’, and is claimed by some to be ‘En Rogel’. mentioned in Joshua 15v7.and again in 18v16 as well.

“And the border came down to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of the son of Hinnom to the side of Jebusi on the South and descended to En Rogel

The identification of the large stone near the ‘Virgin’s Fountain’ on the rocky side of the village of Silwan (Siloam) by M. Clermont-Gannneau now called in Arabic ‘Zehwele’ with the ‘stone of Zoheleth’ naturally assisted in identifying this as the mark of the tribal border of Judah and Benjamin.

But, unfortunately, its position does not answer the requirements of the text quoted above, “to the end of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom to the side of Jebusi on the south.” “The end of the mountain” is lower down the valley, below the Pool of Siloam, where the Tyropeon joins the Kedron, and near to this is “Bir Eyub” (Job’s Well), “before the valley of the son of Hinnom.”

Before the water of the “upper watercourse of Gihon” was turned by the Jewish king to the Pool of Siloam (the lower pool of Gihon’), it flowed straight down the valley to Job’s Well (En Rogel), and watered the King’s gardens that lay between, where now the best vegetables are grown for the Jerusalem market.

Job’s Well (Bir Eyub), or, as it is often termed, Joab’s Well, on account of its identification as En Rogel, has never been properly examined. It was opened by the Crusaders in 1184 A.D., and during the 15th and 16th centuries was known as the well of Nehemiah. There can be no doubt that it is in some way connected with an intermittent spring, as the flow from it after heavy rains is more than enough to empty the well itself. The hillside on the east of this well has the same rocky character as that above the Virgin’s Fountain When Adonijah was making his feast (1 Kings 1v9), on being proclaimed King, the noise of the revellers was heard in the city. So Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon, went to the aged King David, and told him what was taking place, reminding him at the same time of his promise of the kingdom for her son. After seeing the prophet Nathan, he said: “Cause Solomon, my son, to ride upon mine own mule and bring him down to Gihon.” He was there anointed King, and the sound of rejoicing that went through the city was heard also by Adonijah and his adherents, but a bend in the valley hid the scene from view. Soon, however, the news was carried to him that Solomon had been anointed king in Gihon. This could very easily have been the lower Gihon if the En Rogel is the “Upper Gihon,” as one is on the eastern side of the hill, and the other on the “west side.”

(See 1 Kings 1.)

The most reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that Bir Eyub is En Rogel, and the spring further up the valley, Virgin’s Fountain, is the upper watercourse of Gihon, The pool on the “west side” of the hill, that separates the Kedron Valley from the Tyropeon, is the lower pool of Gihon, the pool of Hezekiah,’ “King’s Pool” (of Nehemiah), and the pooi of Siloam, in the time of our Saviour.

See (Joshua 15. 7 and 17v16, 2 Chron. 17v4-30, I. Kings 1)

The Brook Kedron (2 Sam. 15v23, 1. Kings 15v13, 2 Kings 23v6, 2. Chron. 29v16, Jer. 31v40, John 18v1)

is now a dry torrent bed, except what is seen in the picture, and that, as before mentioned, appears only once or twice in as many years. It runs along the eastern side of Jerusalem, commencing some distance to the north-east, broad and shallow at first, deepening only as it separates the city from the slope of the Mount of Olives. Between the south-east corner and the village of Silwan (Siloam) it becomes a deep ravine, widening out again towards the Virgin’s Fountain (Mn Umm ed Deraj) into the King’s gardens, where it is joined, after passing the Pool of Siloam on the west, by the Valley of Hinnom, close to Bir Eyub, and afterwards pursues its course towards the wilderness of the Dead Sea, as Wady en Nar, i.e., the Valley of Fire.

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Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible Article ID: DA111 | By: Paul L. Maier

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The Bible and Archaeology

Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible

Article ID: DA111 | By: Paul L. Maier

This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 27, number 2 (2004). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org


Archaeological finds that contradict the contentions of biblical minimalists and other revisionists have been listed above. There are many more, however, that corroborate biblical evidence, and the following list provides only the most significant discoveries:

The Existence of Hittites. Genesis 23 reports that Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah, which he purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Second Samuel 11 tells of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. A century ago the Hittites were unknown outside of the Old Testament, and critics claimed that they were a figment of biblical imagination. In 1906, however, archaeologists digging east of Ankara, Turkey, discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital at what is today called Boghazkoy, as well as its vast collection of Hittite historical records, which showed an empire flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC. This critical challenge, among many others, was immediately proved worthless — a pattern that would often be repeated in the decades to come.

The Merneptah Stele. A seven-foot slab engraved with hieroglyphics, also called the Israel Stele, boasts of the Egyptian pharaoh’s conquest of Libyans and peoples in Palestine, including the Israelites: “Israel — his seed is not.” This is the earliest reference to Israel in nonbiblical sources and demonstrates that, as of c. 1230 BC, the Hebrews were already living in the Promised Land.

Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives; otherwise, the specificity regarding these urban sites would have been replaced by “Once upon a time” narratives with only hazy geographical parameters, if any.

Israel’s enemies in the Hebrew Bible likewise are not contrived but solidly historical. Among the most dangerous of these were the Philistines, the people after whom Palestine itself would be named. Their earliest depiction is on the Temple of Rameses III at Thebes, c. 1150 BC, as “peoples of the sea” who invaded the Delta area and later the coastal plain of Canaan. The Pentapolis (five cities) they established — namely Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, and Ekron — have all been excavated, at least in part, and some remain cities to this day. Such precise urban evidence measures favorably when compared with the geographical sites claimed in the holy books of other religious systems, which often have no basis whatever in reality.10

Shishak’s Invasion of Judah. First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 tell of Pharaoh Shishak’s conquest of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, the brainless son of Solomon, and how Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was robbed of its treasures on that occasion. This victory is also commemorated in hieroglyphic wall carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.

The Moabite Stone. Second Kings 3 reports that Mesha, the king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel following the death of Ahab. A three-foot stone slab, also called the Mesha Stele, confirms the revolt by claiming triumph over Ahab’s family, c. 850 BC, and that Israel had “perished forever.”

Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. In 2 Kings 9–10, Jehu is mentioned as King of Israel (841–814 BC). That the growing power of Assyria was already encroaching on the northern kings prior to their ultimate conquest in 722 BC is demonstrated by a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk discovered in the ruins of the palace at Nimrud in 1846. On it, Jehu is shown kneeling before Shalmaneser III and offering tribute to the Assyrian king, the only relief we have to date of a Hebrew monarch.

Burial Plaque of King Uzziah. Down in Judah, King Uzziah ruled from 792 to 740 BC, a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. Like Solomon, he began well and ended badly. In 2 Chronicles 26 his sin is recorded, which resulted in his being struck with leprosy later in life. When Uzziah died, he was interred in a “field of burial that belonged to the kings.” His stone burial plaque has been discovered on the Mount of Olives, and it reads: “Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open.”

Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment. The tunnel is probably the only biblical site that has not changed its appearance in 2,700 years.

The Sennacherib Prism. After having conquered the 10 northern tribes of Israel, the Assyrians moved southward to do the same to Judah (2 Kings 18–19). The prophet Isaiah, however, told Hezekiah that God would protect Judah and Jerusalem against Sennacherib (2 Chron. 32; Isa. 36–37). Assyrian records virtually confirm this. The cuneiform on a hexagonal, 15-inch baked clay prism found at the Assyrian capital of Nineveh describes Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah in 701 BC in which it claims that the Assyrian king shut Hezekiah inside Jerusalem “like a caged bird.” Like the biblical record, however, it does not state that he conquered Jerusalem, which the prism certainly would have done had this been the case. The Assyrians, in fact, bypassed Jerusalem on their way to Egypt, and the city would not fall until the time of Nebuchadnezzar and the Neo-Babylonians in 586 BC. Sennacherib himself returned to Nineveh where his own sons murdered him.

The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great. Second Chronicles 36:23 and Ezra 1 report that Cyrus the Great of Persia, after conquering Babylon, permitted Jews in the Babylonian Captivity to return to their homeland. Isaiah had even prophesied this (Isa. 44:28). This tolerant policy of the founder of the Persian Empire is borne out by the discovery of a nine-inch clay cylinder found at Babylon from the time of its conquest, 539 BC, which reports Cyrus’s victory and his subsequent policy of permitting Babylonian captives to return to their homes and even rebuild their temples.

So it goes. This list of correlations between Old Testament texts and the hard evidence of Near Eastern archaeology could easily be tripled in length. When it comes to the intertestamental and New Testament eras, as we might expect, the needle on the gauge of positive correlations simply goes off the scale.

To use terms such as “false testament” for the Hebrew Bible and to vaporize its earlier personalities into nonexistence accordingly has no justification whatever in terms of the mass of geographical, archaeological, and historical evidence that correlates so admirably with Scripture.

notes

1. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York: The Free Press, 2001).

2. Daniel Lazare, “False Testament: Archaeology Refutes the Bible’s Claim to History,” Harper’s, March 2002, 39–47.

3. Ibid., 40.

4. See Kenneth Kitchen, “The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History?” Biblical Archaeology Review(hereafter BAR), March/April 1995, 48ff.

5. A considerable, and growing, body of literature exists on the Hebrews in Egypt, the role of Joseph, the pharaoh who befriended him, the Hyksos, the pharaoh of the Oppression, the pharaoh of the Exodus, and the Exodus itself. See recent issues of Bible and Spade, especially no. 16 (Winter 2003). Joseph P. Free and Howard F. Vos, Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), 69–105 is also helpful, as is Alfred J. Hoerth,Archaeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999).

6. Kathleen M. Kenyon, Digging up Jericho (London: Ernest Benn, 1957); Excavations at Jericho, vol. 3 (London: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1981).

7. Bryant G. Wood, “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho?” BAR, March/April 1990, 44–58.

8. Lazare, 45–46.

9. Hershel Shanks, “Biran at Ninety,” BAR, September/October 1999, 44.

10. For example, in The Book of Mormon, proper names of places and people have no substantiation from outside sources.

11. William A. Dever, “Save Us from Postmodern Malarkey,” BAR, March/April 2000, 28.

12. William A. Dever, cited in Gordon Govier, “Biblical Archaeology’s Dusty Little Secret,”Christianity Today, October 2003, 38.

13. Steven Feldman, “Is the Bible a Bunch of Historical Hooey?” BAR, May/June 2002, 6.

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1963 interview with Christianity Today magazine, William F. Albright (1891-1971)

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Critics – Part 1
By Dr

In my ongoing debate with other bloggers on the Arkansas Times Blog, I had an interesting response from Dobert:

You can’t have it both ways. If the Gospel writers were allowed to adapt their message to a particular audience then it can’t be claimed that God literally took their hand and wrote the scriptures. If we allow the Gospel writers to adapt their message, then we had better get ready to accept the fact that Paul interjected his own opinion about so many matters that he was personally opposed to or were culturally dominant at the time he wrote it. God would not have written inconsistencies in His Scriptures unless we want to admit that God has a sense of humor.

I responded with this:

Hank Hanegraaff the director of CRI has noted:

 “Can anything involving human beings contain the inerrant Word of God”? 

The short answer to that question is “yes.” It’s true that humans are fallible vessels that they’re prone to error, but that in no way precludes the inerrancy of the Bible. All Scripture is God breathed. All Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). The Apostle Paul there puts a very significant premium of the accuracy of all Scripture. 

The Apostle Peter does essentially the same thing. He says that prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  

The doctrine of inspiration tells us that God did something miraculous in inspiration. He worked through fallible human prophets, He utilized their individual personalities, all to pen what is authoritative, infallible, and sacred as Scripture. In fact we can demonstrate that the Bible is divine as opposed to human in origin. If you look just at archeology, you find what is concealed in the soil, corresponds to what is revealed in the Scriptures, and that with minute precision. I’m talking about people, and places, even particulars. So we know, we have evidence that the Bible corresponds to reality, and therefore it is truth, and a miracle—the miracle of infallible inspiration, the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit. 

Now we don’t suppose that the disciples walked around with tape recorders, or we’re programmed automatons, but what we do suppose is that the believers who are used by God to pen the Scriptures captured the essential voice of God in the Scripture. Not the exact words they heard. For example, if you look at the Sermon on the Mount, you’ll see that there are various versions of the Sermon on the Mount given by Mark, Matthew, and Luke. And you see that the Sermon on the Mount is given in a different way but is essentially the same, because through their own personalities Matthew and Luke capture the essential voice of Jesus not the exact verbiage that Jesus used, and that’s why there can be differences and yet complete agreement because there’s no difference in the message that is being communicated in either case.

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I remember listening to a 90 minute lecture by Francis Schaeffer on the conclusions the great American archaeologist (William F. Albright) who changed his views over the years because of the archaeological evidence. Below is some of that evidence. (You can access some of the evidence that convinced William Ramsey concerning the Book of Luke and Acts here.)

I went and secured a copy of the interview and read it myself. In a 1963 interview with Christianity Today magazine, William F. Albright (1891-1971) stated:

In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the forties and eighties of the first century A.D. (very probably sometime between about 50 and 75 A.D.)(Christianity Today, VII, 359, January 18, 1963, “Toward a More Conservative View,” interview with William F. Albright.)

. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

Biblical Archaeology, Silencing the critics (Part 1)Significantly, even liberal theologians, secular academics, and critics generally cannot deny that archaeology has confirmed thebiblical record at many points. Rationalistic detractors of the Bible can attack it all day long, but they cannot dispute archaeological facts. Consider the weekly PBS series “Mysteries of the Bible.” Despite some shortcomings, such as the theologically liberal experts and non-Christian commentators, this program has offered example after example, week after week, of the archaeological reliability of the Bible.To further illustrate, probably the three greatest American archaeologists of the twentieth century each had their liberal training modified by their archaeological work. W. F. Albright, Nelson Glueck, and George Ernest Wright all “received training in the liberal scholarship of the day, which had resulted from the earlier and continuing critical study of the Bible, predominantly by German scholars.”1 Despite their liberal training, it was archaeological research that bolstered their confidence in the biblical text:Albright said of himself, “I must admit that I tried to be rational and empirical in my approach [but] we all have presuppositions of a philosophical order.” The same statement could be applied as easily to Gleuck and Wright, for all three were deeply imbued with the theological perceptions which infused their work. Albright, the son of a Methodist missionary, came to see that much of German critical thought was established upon a philosophical base that could not be sustained in the light of archaeological discoveries…. Nelson Glueck was Albright’s student. In his own explorations in Trans-Jordan and the Negev and in his excavations, Glueck worked with the Bible in hand. He trusted what he called “the remarkable phenomenon of historical memory in the Bible.” He was the president of the prestigious Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and an ordained Rabbi. Wright went from the faculty of the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago to a position in the Harvard Divinity School which he retained until his death. He, too, was a student of Albright.2Glueck forthrightly declared, “As a matter of fact, however, it may be clearly stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact details historical statements in the Bible.”3In fact, “Much of the credit for this relatively new assessment of the patriarchal tradition must go to the ‘Albright school.’ Albright himself pointed out years ago that apart from ‘a few diehards among older scholars’ there is hardly a single biblical historian who is not at least impressed with the rapid accumulation of data supporting the ‘substantial historicity’ of patriarchal tradition.”4And, in fact, this is true not just for the patriarchal tradition but the Bible generally. The earlier statement by assyriologist A. H. Sayce continues to hold true today: “Time after time the most positive assertions of a skeptical criticism have been disproved by archaeological discovery, events and personages that were confidently pronounced to be mythical have been shown to be historical, and the older [i.e., biblical] writers have turned out to have been better acquainted with what they were describing than the modern critics who has flouted them.”5

Millar Burrows of Yale points out that, “Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics. It has been shown in a number of instances that these views rest on false assumptions and unreal, artificial schemes of historical development….” And, “The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural.”6

Many other examples could be given of how firsthand archaeological work changed the view of a critic. One of the most prominent is that of Sir William Ramsay. Ramsey’s own archaeological findings convinced him of the reliability of the Bible and the truth of what it taught. In his The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testamentand other books, he shows why he came to conclude that “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness” and that “Luke is a historian of the first rank … In short, this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”7

As part of his secular academic duties, Dr. Clifford Wilson was for some years required to research and teach higher critical approaches to the Bible. This gave him a great deal of firsthand exposure and insight to the assumptions and methodologies that go into these approaches. Yet his own archaeological research was found to continually refute such skeptical theories, so much so that he finally concluded, “It is the steady conviction of this writer that the Bible is … the ancient world’s most reliable history textbook….”8

In a personal communication he added the following,

I was not always the “literalist” I am today. I’ve always had a profound respect for the Bible, but accepted that the use of poetic forms meant that the record could often be interpreted symbolically where now I take it literally—though of course there are times when symbolism is clearly utilized. Thus in later Scriptures “Egypt” can be a geographic country or a symbolic term.

That liberalism is especially true in relation to Genesis chapters 1 through 11, often considered allegorical or mythical, where my researches have led me to the conclusion that this is profound writing, meant to be taken literally. There was a real Adam, creation that was contemporaneous for the various life forms as shown in Genesis chapter 1, and a consistent style of history writing—such as the outlines given in Genesis one, then zeroing in on the specifics relating to mankind in Genesis chapter 2; the history of all the early peoples in Genesis chapter 10, then the concentration on Abraham and his descendants from Genesis chapter 11 onwards. Early man, “the birth of the lady of the rib,” long-living man, giants in the earth (animals, birds, and men), the flood, the Tower of Babel—and much more—point to factual, accurate recording of history in these early chapters of Genesis.

Over 40 years have passed since I first became professionally involved in biblical archaeology and my commitment to the Bible as the world’s greatest history book is firmly settled. As Psalm 119:89 states, “Forever O Lord, your word is established in heaven.”

Indeed one of the most valuable contributions of modern archaeology has been its reputation of higher critical views toward scripture. Consider for example the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.

J. Randall Price (Ph.D., Middle Eastern Studies) currently working on a forthcoming apologetic text on biblical archaeology writes, “Those who expect the [Dead Sea] scrolls to produce a radical revision of the Bible have been disappointed, for these texts have only verified the reliability and stability of the Old Testament as it appears in our modern translations.”9

He further points out how the Daniel fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls should require scholars to abandon a Maccabean date. The same kind of evidence forced scholars to abandon Maccabean dates for Chronicles, Ecclesiastes, and many of the Psalms. But so far, most scholars refuse to do this for Daniel: “Unfortunately, critical scholars have not arrived at a similar conclusion for the Book of Daniel, even though the evidence is identical.”10 In fact, according to Old Testament scholar Gerhard Hasel, a date for Daniel in the sixth or fifth century BC “has more in its favor today from the point of view of language alone than ever before.”11 The Dead Sea Scrolls also provide significant evidence for the unity and single authorship of the Book of Isaiah. Dr. Price concludes, “The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, then, has made a contribution toward confirming the integrity of the biblical text and its own claim to predictive prophecy. Rather than support the recent theories of documentary disunity, the Scrolls have returned scholars to a time when the Bible’s internal witness to its own consistency and veracity was fully accepted by its adherents.”12

(to be continued)

Notes:

1 Keith N. Scoville, Biblical Archeology in Focus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1978), p. 163.

2 Ibid., p. 163.

3 Norman L. Geisler and Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990), p. 179.

4 Eugene H. Merrill, Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, “Ebla and Biblical Historical Inerrancy” in Roy B. Zuck (Genesis ed.), Vital Apologetic Issues: Examining Reasons and Revelation in Biblical Perspective (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1995), p. 180.

5 A. H. Sayce, Monument Facts and Higher Critical Fancies (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1904), p. 23, Cited in Josh McDowell, More Evidence That Demands a Verdict(Arrowhead Springs, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1975), p. 53.

6 As cited in Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Arrowhead Springs, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1972) p. 66.

7 William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Bookhouse, 1959), p. 91; cf. William M. Ramsay, Luke the Physician, pp. 177-79, 222 from F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1971), pp. 90-91.

8 Clifford Wilson, Rocks, Relics and Biblical Reliability (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Richardson, TX: Probe, 1977), p. 126

9 J. Randall Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996), p. 146.

10 Ibid., p. 159.

11 Ibid., p. 163.

12 Ibid., p. 164; cf. p. 157.

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53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically A web-exclusive supplement to Lawrence Mykytiuk’s BAR articles identifying real Hebrew Bible people     Lawrence Mykytiuk • 04/12/2017

____________

53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

A web-exclusive supplement to Lawrence Mykytiuk’s BAR articles identifying real Hebrew Bible people

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2014. It has been updated.—Ed.


1.-Sargon-II-Khorsabad-Bridgeman

Sargon II, one of fifty Hebrew Bible figures identified in the archaeological record.

In “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk lists 50 figures from the Hebrew Bible who have been confirmed archaeologically. His follow-up article, “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People,” published in the May/June 2017 issue of BAR, adds another three people to the list. The identified persons include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as lesser-known figures.Mykytiuk writes that these figures “mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” The extensive Biblical and archaeological documentation supporting the BAR study is published here in a web-exclusive collection of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the figures.

Guide to the Endnotes

53 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions Chart

53 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

“Almost Real” People: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

Symbols & Abbreviations

Date Sources


BAS Library Members: Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s Biblical Archaeology Review articles “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 and “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People” in the May/June 2017 issue.Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


53 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions

Name

Who was he?

When he reigned or flourished B.C.E.

Where in the Bible?

Egypt

1

Shishak (= Sheshonq I)

pharaoh

945–924

1 Kings 11:40, etc.

2

So (= Osorkon IV)

pharaoh

730–715

2 Kings 17:4

3

Tirhakah (= Taharqa)

pharaoh

690–664

2 Kings 19:9, etc.

4

Necho II (= Neco II)

pharaoh

610–595

2 Chronicles 35:20, etc.

5

Hophra (= Apries)

pharaoh

589–570

Jeremiah 44:30

Moab

6

Mesha

king

early to mid-ninth century

2 Kings 3:4–27

Aram-Damascus

7

Hadadezer

king

early ninth century to 844/842

1 Kings 11:23, etc.

8

Ben-hadad, son of Hadadezer

king

844/842

2 Kings 6:24, etc.

9

Hazael

king

844/842–c. 800

1 Kings 19:15, etc.

10

Ben-hadad, son of Hazael

king

early eighth century

2 Kings 13:3, etc.

11

Rezin

king

mid-eighth century to 732

2 Kings 15:37, etc.

Northern Kingdom of Israel

12

Omri

king

884–873

1 Kings 16:16, etc.

13

Ahab

king

873–852

1 Kings 16:28, etc.

14

Jehu

king

842/841–815/814

1 Kings 19:16, etc.

15

Joash (= Jehoash)

king

805–790

2 Kings 13:9, etc.

16

Jeroboam II

king

790–750/749

2 Kings 13:13, etc.

17

Menahem

king

749–738

2 Kings 15:14, etc.

18

Pekah

king

750(?)–732/731

2 Kings 15:25, etc.

19

Hoshea

king

732/731–722

2 Kings 15:30, etc.

20

Sanballat “I”

governor of Samaria under Persian rule

c. mid-fifth century

Nehemiah 2:10, etc.

Southern Kingdom of Judah

21

David

king

c. 1010–970

1 Samuel 16:13, etc.

22

Uzziah (= Azariah)

king

788/787–736/735

2 Kings 14:21, etc.

23

Ahaz (= Jehoahaz)

king

742/741–726

2 Kings 15:38, etc.

24

Hezekiah

king

726–697/696

2 Kings 16:20, etc.

25

Manasseh

king

697/696–642/641

2 Kings 20:21, etc.

26

Hilkiah

high priest during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

2 Kings 22:4, etc.

27

Shaphan

scribe during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

2 Kings 22:3, etc.

28

Azariah

high priest during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

1 Chronicles 5:39, etc.

29

Gemariah

official during Jehoiakim’s reign

within 609–598

Jeremiah 36:10, etc.

30

Jehoiachin (= Jeconiah = Coniah)

king

598–597

2 Kings 24:6, etc.

31

Shelemiah

father of Jehucal the royal official

late seventh century

Jeremiah 37:3, etc.

32

Jehucal (= Jucal)

official during Zedekiah’s reign

within 597–586

Jeremiah 37:3, etc.

33

Pashhur

father of Gedaliah the royal official

late seventh century

Jeremiah 38:1

34

Gedaliah

official during Zedekiah’s reign

within 597–586

Jeremiah 38:1

Assyria

35

Tiglath-pileser III (= Pul)

king

744–727

2 Kings 15:19, etc.

36

Shalmaneser V

king

726–722

2 Kings 17:3, etc.

37

Sargon II

king

721–705

Isaiah 20:1

38

Sennacherib

king

704–681

2 Kings 18:13, etc.

39

Adrammelech (= Ardamullissu = Arad-mullissu)

son and assassin of Sennacherib

early seventh century

2 Kings 19:37, etc.

40

Esarhaddon

king

680–669

2 Kings 19:37, etc.

Babylonia

41

Merodach-baladan II

king

721–710 and 703

2 Kings 20:12, etc.

42

Nebuchadnezzar II

king

604–562

2 Kings 24:1, etc.

43

Nebo-sarsekim

official of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

Jeremiah 39:3

44

Nergal-sharezer

officer of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

Jeremiah 39:3

45

Nebuzaradan

a chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

2 Kings 25:8, etc. & Jeremiah 39:9, etc.

46

Evil-merodach (= Awel Marduk = Amel Marduk)

king

561–560

2 Kings 25:27, etc.

47

Belshazzar

son and co-regent of Nabonidus

c. 543?–540

Daniel 5:1, etc.

Persia

48

Cyrus II (= Cyrus the Great)

king

559–530

2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.

49

Darius I (= Darius the Great)

king

520–486

Ezra 4:5, etc.

50

Tattenai

provincial governor of Trans-Euphrates

late sixth to early fifth century

Ezra 5:3, etc.

51

Xerxes I (= Ahasuerus)

king

486–465

Esther 1:1, etc.

52

Artaxerxes I Longimanus

king

465-425/424

Ezra 4:7, etc.

53

Darius II Nothus

king

425/424-405/404

Nehemiah 12:22


Our free eBook Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries brings together the exciting worlds of archaeology and the Bible! Learn the fascinating insights gained from artifacts and ruins, like the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where the Gospel of John says Jesus miraculously restored the sight of the blind man, and the Tel Dan inscription—the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible.


53 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

EGYPT

1. Shishak (= Sheshonq I), pharaoh, r. 945–924, 1 Kings 11:40 and 14:25, in his inscriptions, including the record of his military campaign in Palestine in his 924 B.C.E. inscription on the exterior south wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes. See OROT, pp. 10, 31–32, 502 note 1; many references to him in Third, indexed on p. 520; Kenneth A. Kitchen, review of IBPSEE-J Hiphil 2 (2005), www.see-j.net/index.php/hiphil/article/viewFile/19/17, bottom of p. 3, which is briefly mentioned in “Sixteen,” p. 43 n. 22. (Note: The name of this pharaoh can be spelled Sheshonq or Shoshenq.)

Sheshonq is also referred to in a fragment of his victory stele discovered at Megiddo containing his cartouche. See Robert S. Lamon and Geoffrey M. Shipton, Megiddo I: Seasons of 1925–34, Strata I–V. (Oriental Institute Publications no. 42; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939), pp. 60–61, fig. 70; Graham I. Davies, Megiddo (Cities of the Biblical World; Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1986), pp. 89 fig. 18, 90; OROT, p. 508 n. 68; IBP, p. 137 n. 119. (Note: The name of this pharaoh can be spelled Sheshonq or Shoshenq.)

Egyptian pharaohs had several names, including a throne name. It is known that the throne name of Sheshonq I, when translated into English, means, “Bright is the manifestation of Re, chosen of Amun/Re.” Sheshonq I’s inscription on the wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes (mentioned above) celebrates the victories of his military campaign in the Levant, thus presenting the possibility of his presence in that region. A small Egyptian scarab containing his exact throne name, discovered as a surface find at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, now documents his presence at or near that location. This site is located along the Wadi Fidan, in the region of Faynan in southern Jordan.

As for the time period, disruption of copper production at Khirbet en-Nahas, also in the southern Levant, can be attributed to Sheshonq’s army, as determined by stratigraphy, high-precision radiocarbon dating, and an assemblage of Egyptian amulets dating to Sheshonq’s time. His army seems to have intentionally disrupted copper production, as is evident both at Khirbet en-Nahas and also at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, where the scarab was discovered.

As for the singularity of this name in this remote locale, it would have been notable to find any Egyptian scarab there, much less one containing the throne name of this conquering Pharaoh; this unique discovery admits no confusion with another person. See Thomas E. Levy, Stefan Münger, and Mohammad Najjar, “A Newly Discovered Scarab of Sheshonq I: Recent Iron Age Explorations in Southern Jordan. Antiquity Project Gallery,” Antiquity(2014); online: http://journal.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/levy341.

2. So (= Osorkon IV), pharaoh, r. 730–715, 2 Kings 17:4 only, which calls him “So, king of Egypt” (OROT, pp. 15–16). K. A. Kitchen makes a detailed case for So being Osorkon IV in Third, pp. 372–375. See Raging Torrent, p. 106 under “Shilkanni.”

3. Tirhakah (= Taharqa), pharaoh, r. 690–664, 2 Kings 19:9, etc. in many Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions; Third, pp. 387–395. For mention of Tirhakah in Assyrian inscriptions, see those of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in Raging Torrent, pp. 138–143, 145, 150–153, 155, 156; ABC, p. 247 under “Terhaqah.” The Babylonian chronicle also refers to him (Raging Torrent, p. 187). On Tirhakah as prince, see OROT, p. 24.

4. Necho II (= Neco II), pharaoh, r. 610–595, 2 Chronicles 35:20, etc., in inscriptions of the Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (ANET, pp. 294–297) and the Esarhaddon Chronicle (ANET, p. 303). See also Raging Torrent, pp. 189–199, esp. 198; OROT, p. 504 n. 26; Third, p. 407; ABC, p. 232.

5. Hophra (= Apries = Wahibre), pharaoh, r. 589–570, Jeremiah 44:30, in Egyptian inscriptions, such as the one describing his being buried by his successor, Aḥmose II (= Amasis II) (Third, p. 333 n. 498), with reflections in Babylonian inscriptions regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Hophra in 572 and replacing him on the throne of Egypt with a general, Aḥmes (= Amasis), who later rebelled against Babylonia and was suppressed (Raging Torrent, p. 222). See OROT, pp. 9, 16, 24; Third, p. 373 n. 747, 407 and 407 n. 969; ANET, p. 308; D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (626–556 B.C.) in the British Museum (London: The Trustees of the British Museum, 1956), pp. 94-95. Cf. ANEHST, p. 402. (The index of Third, p. 525, distinguishes between an earlier “Wahibre i” [Third, p. 98] and the 26th Dynasty’s “Wahibre ii” [= Apries], r. 589–570.)

MOAB

6. Mesha, king, r. early to mid-9th century, 2 Kings 3:4–27, in the Mesha Inscription, which he caused to be written, lines 1–2; Dearman, Studies, pp. 97, 100–101; IBP, pp. 95–108, 238; “Sixteen,” p. 43.

ARAM-DAMASCUS

7. Hadadezer, king, r. early 9th century to 844/842, 1 Kings 22:3, etc., in Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser III and also, I am convinced, in the Melqart stele. The Hebrew Bible does not name him, referring to him only as “the King of Aram” in 1 Kings 22:3, 31; 2 Kings chapter 5, 6:8–23. We find out this king’s full name in some contemporaneous inscriptions of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria (r. 858–824), such as the Black Obelisk (Raging Torrent, pp. 22–24). At Kurkh, a monolith by Shalmaneser III states that at the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.E.), he defeated “Adad-idri [the Assyrian way of saying Hadadezer] the Damascene,” along with “Ahab the Israelite” and other kings (Raging Torrent, p. 14; RIMA 3, p. 23, A.0.102.2, col. ii, lines 89b–92). “Hadadezer the Damascene” is also mentioned in an engraving on a statue of Shalmaneser III at Aššur (RIMA 3, p. 118, A.0.102.40, col. i, line 14). The same statue engraving later mentions both Hadadezer and Hazael together (RIMA 3, p. 118, col. i, lines 25–26) in a topical arrangement of worst enemies defeated that is not necessarily chronological.
On the long-disputed readings of the Melqart stele, which was discovered in Syria in 1939, see “Corrections,” pp. 69–85, which follows the closely allied readings of Frank Moore Cross and Gotthard G. G. Reinhold. Those readings, later included in “Sixteen,” pp. 47–48, correct the earlier absence of this Hadadezer in IBP (notably on p. 237, where he is not to be confused with the tenth-century Hadadezer, son of Rehob and king of Zobah).

8. Ben-hadad, son of Hadadezer, r. or served as co-regent 844/842, 2 Kings 6:24, etc., in the Melqart stele, following the readings of Frank Moore Cross and Gotthard G. G. Reinhold and Cross’s 2003 criticisms of a different reading that now appears in COS, vol. 2, pp. 152–153 (“Corrections,” pp. 69–85). Several kings of Damascus bore the name Bar-hadad (in their native Aramaic, which is translated as Ben-hadad in the Hebrew Bible), which suggests adoption as “son” by the patron deity Hadad. This designation might indicate that he was the crown prince and/or co-regent with his father Hadadezer. It seems likely that Bar-hadad/Ben-hadad was his father’s immediate successor as king, as seems to be implied by the military policy reversal between 2 Kings 6:3–23 and 6:24. It was this Ben-Hadad, the son of Hadadezer, whom Hazael assassinated in 2 Kings 8:7–15 (quoted in Raging Torrent, p. 25). The mistaken disqualification of this biblical identification in the Melqart stele in IBP, p. 237, is revised to a strong identification in that stele in “Corrections,” pp. 69–85; “Sixteen,” p. 47.

9. Hazael, king, r. 844/842–ca. 800, 1 Kings 19:15, 2 Kings 8:8, etc., is documented in four kinds of inscriptions: 1) The inscriptions of Shalmaneser III call him “Hazael of Damascus” (Raging Torrent, pp. 23–26, 28), for example the inscription on the Kurbail Statue (RIMA 3, p. 60, line 21). He is also referred to in 2) the Zakkur stele from near Aleppo, in what is now Syria, and in 3) bridle inscriptions, i.e., two inscribed horse blinders and a horse frontlet discovered on Greek islands, and in 4) inscribed ivories seized as Assyrian war booty (Raging Torrent, p. 35). All are treated in IBP, pp. 238–239, and listed in “Sixteen,” p. 44. Cf. “Corrections,” pp. 101–103.

10. Ben-hadad, son of Hazael, king, r. early 8th century, 2 Kings 13:3, etc., in the Zakkur stele from near Aleppo. In lines 4–5, it calls him “Bar-hadad, son of Hazael, the king of Aram” (IBP, p. 240; “Sixteen,” p. 44; Raging Torrent, p. 38; ANET, p. 655: COS, vol. 2, p. 155). On the possibility of Ben-hadad, son of Hazael, being the “Mari” in Assyrian inscriptions, see Raging Torrent, pp. 35–36.

11. Rezin (= Raḥianu), king, r. mid-8th century to 732, 2 Kings 15:37, etc., in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria (in these inscriptions, Raging Torrentrecords frequent mention of Rezin in  pp. 51–78); OROT, p. 14. Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III refer to “Rezin” several times, “Rezin of Damascus” in Annal 13, line 10 (ITP, pp. 68–69), and “the dynasty of Rezin of Damascus” in Annal 23, line 13 (ITP, pp. 80–81). Tiglath-pileser III’s stele from Iran contains an explicit reference to Rezin as king of Damascus in column III, the right side, A: “[line 1] The kings of the land of Hatti (and of) the Aramaeans of the western seashore . . .  [line 4] Rezin of Damascus”  (ITP, pp. 106–107).


Want more on Biblical figures? Read “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible,” “New Testament Political Figures: The Evidence” and “Herod the Great and the Herodian Family Tree” by Lawrence Mykytiuk.


NORTHERN KINGDOM OF ISRAEL

12. Omri, king, r. 884–873, 1 Kings 16:16, etc., in Assyrian inscriptions and in the Mesha Inscription. Because he founded a famous dynasty which ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians refer not only to him as a king of Israel (ANET, pp. 280, 281), but also to the later rulers of that territory as kings of “the house of Omri” and that territory itself literally as “the house of Omri” (Raging Torrent, pp. 34, 35; ANET, pp. 284, 285). Many a later king of Israel who was not his descendant, beginning with Jehu, was called “the son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 18). The Mesha Inscription also refers to Omri as “the king of Israel” in lines 4–5, 7 (Dearman, Studies, pp. 97, 100–101; COS, vol. 2, p. 137; IBP, pp. 108–110, 216; “Sixteen,” p. 43.

13. Ahab, king, r. 873–852, 1 Kings 16:28, etc., in the Kurkh Monolith by his enemy, Shalmaneser III of Assyria. There, referring to the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.E.), Shalmaneser calls him “Ahab the Israelite” (Raging Torrent, pp. 14, 18–19; RIMA 3, p. 23, A.0.102.2, col. 2, lines 91–92; ANET, p. 279; COS, vol. 2, p. 263).

14. Jehu, king, r. 842/841–815/814, 1 Kings 19:16, etc., in inscriptions of Shalmaneser III. In these, “son” means nothing more than that he is the successor, in this instance, of Omri (Raging Torrent, p. 20 under “Ba’asha . . . ” and p. 26). A long version of Shalmaneser III’s annals on a stone tablet in the outer wall of the city of Aššur refers to Jehu in col. 4, line 11, as “Jehu, son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 28; RIMA 3, p. 54, A.0.102.10, col. 4, line 11; cf. ANET, p. 280, the parallel “fragment of an annalistic text”). Also, on the Kurba’il Statue, lines 29–30 refer to “Jehu, son of Omri” (RIMA 3, p. 60, A.0.102.12, lines 29–30).

In Shalmaneser III’s Black Obelisk, current scholarship regards the notation over relief B, depicting payment of tribute from Israel, as referring to “Jehu, son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 23; RIMA 3, p. 149, A.0. 102.88), but cf. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “‘Yaw, Son of ‘Omri’: A Philological Note on Israelite Chronology,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 216 (1974): pp. 5–7.

15. Joash (= Jehoash), king, r. 805–790, 2 Kings 13:9, etc., in the Tell al-Rimaḥ inscription of Adad-Nirari III, king of Assyria (r. 810–783), which mentions “the tribute of Joash [= Iu’asu] the Samarian” (Stephanie Page, “A Stela of Adad-Nirari III and Nergal-Ereš from Tell Al Rimaḥ,” Iraq 30 [1968]: pp. 142–145, line 8, Pl. 38–41; RIMA 3, p. 211, line 8 of A.0.104.7; Raging Torrent, pp. 39–41).

16. Jeroboam II, king, r. 790–750/749, 2 Kings 13:13, etc., in the seal of his royal servant Shema, discovered at Megiddo (WSS, p. 49 no. 2;  IBP, pp. 133–139, 217; “Sixteen,” p. 46).

17. Menahem, king, r. 749–738, 2 Kings 15:14, etc., in the Calah Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. Annal 13, line 10 refers to “Menahem of Samaria” in a list of kings who paid tribute (ITP, pp. 68–69, Pl. IX). Tiglath-pileser III’s stele from Iran, his only known stele, refers explicitly to Menahem as king of Samaria in column III, the right side, A: “[line 1] The kings of the land of Hatti (and of) the Aramaeans of the western seashore . . .  [line 5] Menahem of Samaria.”  (ITP, pp. 106–107). See also Raging Torrent, pp. 51, 52, 54, 55, 59; ANET, p. 283.

18. Pekah, king, r. 750(?)–732/731, 2 Kings 15:25, etc., in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III. Among various references to “Pekah,” the most explicit concerns the replacement of Pekah in Summary Inscription 4, lines 15–17: “[line 15] . . . The land of Bit-Humria . . . . [line 17] Peqah, their king [I/they killed] and I installed Hoshea [line 18] [as king] over them” (ITP, pp. 140–141; Raging Torrent, pp. 66–67).

19. Hoshea, king, r. 732/731–722, 2 Kings 15:30, etc., in Tiglath-pileser’s Summary Inscription 4, described in preceding note 18, where Hoshea is mentioned as Pekah’s immediate successor.

20. Sanballat “I”, governor of Samaria under Persian rule, ca. mid-fifth century, Nehemiah 2:10, etc., in a letter among the papyri from the Jewish community at Elephantine in Egypt (A. E. Cowley, ed., Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C.(Oxford: Clarendon, 1923; reprinted Osnabrück, Germany: Zeller, 1967), p. 114 English translation of line 29, and p. 118 note regarding line 29; ANET, p. 492.

Also, the reference to “[  ]ballat,” most likely Sanballat, in Wadi Daliyeh bulla WD 22 appears to refer to the biblical Sanballat as the father of a governor of Samaria who succeeded him in the first half of the fourth century. As Jan Dušek shows, it cannot be demonstrated that any Sanballat II and III existed, which is the reason for the present article’s quotation marks around the “I” in Sanballat “I”; see Jan Dušek, “Archaeology and Texts in the Persian Period: Focus on Sanballat,” in Martti Nissinen, ed., Congress Volume: Helsinki 2010 (Boston: Brill. 2012), pp. 117–132.

SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF JUDAH

21. David, king, r. ca. 1010–970, 1 Samuel 16:13, etc. in three inscriptions. Most notable is the victory stele in Aramaic known as the “house of David” inscription, discovered at Tel Dan; Avraham Biran and Joseph Naveh, “An Aramaic Stele from Tel Dan,” IEJ 43 (1993), pp. 81–98, and idem, “The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment,” IEJ 45 (1995), pp. 1–18. An ancient Aramaic word pattern in line 9 designates David as the founder of the dynasty of Judah in the phrase “house of David” (2 Sam 2:11 and 5:5; Gary A. Rendsburg, “On the Writing ביתדיד [BYTDWD] in the Aramaic Inscription from Tel Dan,” IEJ 45 [1995], pp. 22–25; Raging Torrent, p. 20, under “Ba’asha . . .”; IBP, pp. 110–132, 265–77; “Sixteen,” pp. 41–43).

In the second inscription, the Mesha Inscription, the phrase “house of David” appears in Moabite in line 31 with the same meaning: that he is the founder of the dynasty. There David’s name appears with only its first letter destroyed, and no other letter in that spot makes sense without creating a very strained, awkward reading (André Lemaire, “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” BAR 20, no. 3 [May/June 1994]: pp. 30–37. David’s name also appears in line 12 of the Mesha Inscription (Anson F. Rainey, “Mesha‘ and Syntax,” in J. Andrew Dearman and M. Patrick Graham, eds., The Land That I Will Show You: Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honor of J. Maxwell Miller. (JSOT Supplement series, no. 343; Sheffield, England:Sheffield Academic, 2001), pp. 287–307; IBP, pp. 265–277; “Sixteen,” pp. 41–43).

The third inscription, in Egyptian, mentions a region in the Negev called “the heights of David” after King David (Kenneth A. Kitchen, “A Possible Mention of David in the Late Tenth Century B.C.E., and Deity *Dod as Dead as the Dodo?” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 76 [1997], pp. 39–41; IBP, p. 214 note 3, which is revised in “Corrections,” pp. 119–121; “Sixteen,” p. 43).

In the table on p. 46 of BAR, David is listed as king of Judah. According to 2 Samuel 5:5, for his first seven years and six months as a monarch, he ruled only the southern kingdom of Judah. We have no inscription that refers to David as king over all Israel (that is, the united kingdom) as also stated in 2 Sam 5:5.

22. Uzziah (= Azariah), king, r. 788/787–736/735, 2 Kings 14:21, etc., in the inscribed stone seals of two of his royal servants: Abiyaw and Shubnayaw (more commonly called Shebanyaw); WSS, p. 51 no. 4 and p. 50 no. 3, respectively; IBP, pp. 153–159 and 159–163, respectively, and p. 219 no. 20 (a correction to IBP is that on p. 219, references to WSSnos. 3 and 4 are reversed); “Sixteen,” pp. 46–47. Cf. also his secondary burial inscription from the Second Temple era (IBP, p. 219 n. 22).

23. Ahaz (= Jehoahaz), king, r. 742/741–726, 2 Kings 15:38, etc., in Tiglath-pileser III’s Summary Inscription 7, reverse, line 11, refers to “Jehoahaz of Judah” in a list of kings who paid tribute (ITP, pp. 170–171; Raging Torrent, pp. 58–59). The Bible refers to him by the shortened form of his full name, Ahaz, rather than by the full form of his name, Jehoahaz, which the Assyrian inscription uses.
Cf. the unprovenanced seal of ’Ushna’, more commonly called ’Ashna’, the name Ahaz appears (IBP, pp. 163–169, with corrections from Kitchen’s review of IBP as noted in “Corrections,” p. 117; “Sixteen,” pp. 38–39 n. 11). Because this king already stands clearly documented in an Assyrian inscription, documentation in another inscription is not necessary to confirm the existence of the biblical Ahaz, king of Judah.

24. Hezekiah, king, r. 726–697/696, 2 Kings 16:20, etc., initially in the Rassam Cylinder of Sennacherib (in this inscription, Raging Torrent records frequent mention of Hezekiah in pp. 111–123; COS, pp. 302–303). It mentions “Hezekiah the Judahite” (col. 2 line 76 and col. 3 line 1 in Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, pp. 31, 32) and “Jerusalem, his royal city” (ibid., col. 3 lines 28, 40; ibid., p. 33) Other, later copies of the annals of Sennacherib, such as the Oriental Institute prism and the Taylor prism, mostly repeat the content of the Rassam cylinder, duplicating its way of referring to Hezekiah and Jerusalem (ANET, pp. 287, 288). The Bull Inscription from the palace at Nineveh (ANET, p. 288; Raging Torrent, pp. 126–127) also mentions “Hezekiah the Judahite” (lines 23, 27 in Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, pp. 69, 70) and “Jerusalem, his royal city” (line 29; ibid., p. 33).

During 2009, a royal bulla of Hezekiah, king of Judah, was discovered in the renewed Ophel excavations of Eilat Mazar. Imperfections along the left edge of the impression in the clay contributed to a delay in correct reading of the bulla until late in 2015. An English translation of the bulla is: “Belonging to Heze[k]iah, [son of] ’A[h]az, king of Jud[ah]” (letters within square brackets [ ] are supplied where missing or only partly legible). This is the first impression of a Hebrew king’s seal ever discovered in a scientific excavation.

See the online article by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered in Ophel Excavations South of Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” December 2, 2015; a video under copyright of Eilat Mazar and Herbert W. Armstrong College, 2015; Robin Ngo, “King Hezekiah in the Bible: Royal Seal of Hezekiah Comes to Light,” Bible History Daily (blog), originally published on December 3, 2015; Meir Lubetski, “King Hezekiah’s Seal Revisited,” BAR, July/August 2001. Apparently unavailable as of August 2017 (except for a rare library copy or two) is Eilat Mazar, ed., The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount 2009-2013: Final Reports, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Shoham Academic Research and Publication, c2015).

25. Manasseh, king, r. 697/696–642/641, 2 Kings 20:21, etc., in the inscriptions of Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (Raging Torrent, pp. 131, 133, 136) and Ashurbanipal (ibid., p. 154). “Manasseh, king of Judah,” according to Esarhaddon (r. 680–669), was among those who paid tribute to him (Esarhaddon’s Prism B, column 5, line 55; R. Campbell Thompson, The Prisms of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal [London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1931], p. 25; ANET, p. 291). Also, Ashurbanipal (r. 668–627) records that “Manasseh, king of Judah” paid tribute to him (Ashurbanipal’s Cylinder C, col. 1, line 25; Maximilian Streck, Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrischen Könige bis zum Untergang Niniveh’s, [Vorderasiatische Bibliothek 7; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1916], vol. 2, pp. 138–139; ANET, p. 294.

26. Hilkiah, high priest during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 2 Kings 22:4, etc., in the City of David bulla of Azariah, son of Hilkiah (WSS, p. 224 no. 596; IBP, pp. 148–151; 229 only in [50] City of David bulla; “Sixteen,” p. 49).

The oldest part of Jerusalem, called the City of David, is the location where the Bible places all four men named in the bullae covered in the present endnotes 26 through 29.

Analysis of the clay of these bullae shows that they were produced in the locale of Jerusalem (Eran Arie, Yuval Goren, and Inbal Samet, “Indelible Impression: Petrographic Analysis of Judahite Bullae,” in The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin [ed. Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011], p. 10, quoted in “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34).

27. Shaphan, scribe during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 2 Kings 22:3, etc., in the City of David bulla of Gemariah, son of Shaphan (WSS, p. 190 no. 470; IBP, pp. 139–146, 228). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

28. Azariah, high priest during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 1 Chronicles 5:39, etc., in the City of David bulla of Azariah, son of Hilkiah (WSS, p. 224 no. 596; IBP, pp. 151–152; 229). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

29. Gemariah, official during Jehoiakim’s reign, within 609–598, Jeremiah 36:10, etc., in the City of David bulla of Gemariah, son of Shaphan (WSS, p. 190 no. 470; IBP, pp. 147, 232). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

30. Jehoiachin (= Jeconiah = Coniah), king, r. 598–597, 2 Kings 24:5, etc., in four Babylonian administrative tablets regarding oil rations or deliveries, during his exile in Babylonia (Raging Torrent, p. 209; ANEHST, pp. 386–387). Discovered at Babylon, they are dated from the tenth to the thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylonia and conqueror of Jerusalem. One tablet calls Jehoiachin “king” (Text Babylon 28122, obverse, line 29; ANET, p. 308). A second, fragmentary text mentions him as king in an immediate context that refers to “[. . . so]ns of the king of Judah” and “Judahites” (Text Babylon 28178, obverse, col. 2, lines 38–40; ANET, p. 308). The third tablet calls him “the son of the king of Judah” and refers to “the five sons of the king of Judah” (Text Babylon 28186, reverse, col. 2, lines 17–18; ANET, p. 308). The fourth text, the most fragmentary of all, confirms “Judah” and part of Jehoiachin’s name, but contributes no data that is not found in the other texts.

31. Shelemiah, father of Jehucal the official, late 7th century, Jeremiah 37:3; 38:1 and 32. Jehucal (= Jucal), official during Zedekiah’s reign, fl. within 597–586, Jeremiah 37:3; 38:1 only, both referred to in a bulla discovered in the City of David in 2005 (Eilat Mazar, “Did I Find King David’s Palace?” BAR 32, no. 1 [January/February 2006], pp. 16–27, 70; idem, Preliminary Report on the City of David Excavations 2005 at the Visitors Center Area [Jerusalem and New York: Shalem, 2007], pp. 67–69; idem, “The Wall that Nehemiah Built,” BAR 35, no. 2 [March/April 2009], pp. 24–33,66; idem, The Palace of King David: Excavations at the Summit of the City of David: Preliminary Report of Seasons 2005-2007 [Jerusalem/New York: Shoham AcademicResearch and Publication, 2009], pp. 66–71). Only the possibility of firm identifications is left open in “Corrections,” pp. 85–92; “Sixteen,” pp. 50–51; this article is my first affirmation of four identifications, both here in notes 31 and 32 and below in notes 33 and 34.

After cautiously observing publications and withholding judgment for several years, I am now affirming the four identifications in notes 31 through 34, because I am now convinced that this bulla is a remnant from an administrative center in the City of David, a possibility suggested in “Corrections,” p. 100 second-to-last paragraph, and “Sixteen,” p. 51. For me, the tipping point came by comparing the description and pictures of the nearby and immediate archaeological context in Eilat Mazar, “Palace of King David,” pp. 66–70,  with the administrative contexts described in Eran Arie, Yuval Goren, and Inbal Samet, “Indelible Impression: Petrographic Analysis of Judahite Bullae,” in Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman, eds., The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin(Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), pp. 12–13 (the section titled “The Database: Judahite Bullae from Controlled Excavations”) and pp. 23–24. See also Nadav Na’aman, “The Interchange between Bible and Archaeology: The Case of David’s Palace and the Millo,” BAR 40, no. 1 (January/February 2014), pp. 57–61, 68–69, which is drawn from idem, “Biblical and Historical Jerusalem in the Tenth and Fifth-Fourth Centuries B.C.E.,” Biblica 93 (2012): pp. 21–42. See also idem, “Five Notes on Jerusalem in the First and Second Temple Periods,” Tel Aviv 39 (2012): p. 93.

33. Pashhur, father of Gedaliah the official, late 7th century, Jeremiah 38:1 and 34. Gedaliah, official during Zedekiah’s reign, fl. within 597–586, Jeremiah 38:1 only, both referred to in a bulla discovered in the City of David in 2008. See “Corrections,” pp. 92–96; “Sixteen,” pp. 50–51; and the preceding endnote 31 and 32 for bibliographic details on E. Mazar, “Wall,” pp. 24–33, 66; idem, Palace of King David, pp. 68–71) and for the comments in the paragraph that begins, “After cautiously … ”


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ASSYRIA

35. Tiglath-pileser III (= Pul), king, r. 744–727, 2 Kings 15:19, etc., in his many inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 46–79; COS, vol. 2, pp. 284–292; ITP; Mikko Lukko, The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud (State Archives of Assyria, no. 19; Assyrian Text Corpus Project; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013); ABC, pp. 248–249. On Pul as referring to Tiglath-pileser III, which is implicit in ABC, p. 333 under “Pulu,” see ITP, p. 280 n. 5 for discussion and bibliography.

On the identification of Tiglath-pileser III in the Aramaic monumental inscription honoring Panamu II, in Aramaic monumental inscriptions 1 and 8 of Bar-Rekub (now in Istanbul and Berlin, respectively), and in the Ashur Ostracon, see IBP, p. 240; COS, pp. 158–161.

36. Shalmaneser V (= Ululaya), king, r. 726–722, 2 Kings 17:2, etc., in chronicles, in king-lists, and in rare remaining inscriptions of his own (ABC, p. 242; COS, vol. 2, p. 325). Most notable is the Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series, Chronicle 1, i, lines 24–32.  In those lines, year 2 of the Chronicle mentions his plundering the city of Samaria (Raging Torrent, pp. 178, 182; ANEHST, p. 408). (“Shalman” in Hosea 10:14 is likely a historical allusion, but modern lack of information makes it difficult to assign it to a particular historical situation or ruler, Assyrian or otherwise. See below for the endnotes to the box at the top of p. 50.)

37. Sargon II, king, r. 721–705, Isaiah 20:1, in many inscriptions, including his own. See Raging Torrent, pp. 80–109, 176–179, 182; COS, vol. 2, pp. 293–300; Mikko Lukko, The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud (State Archives of Assyria, no. 19; Assyrian Text Corpus Project; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013); ABC, pp. 236–238; IBP, pp. 240–241 no. (74).

38. Sennacherib, king, r. 704–681, 2 Kings 18:13, etc., in many inscriptions, including his own. See Raging Torrent, pp. 110–129; COS, vol. 2, pp. 300–305; ABC, pp. 238–240; ANEHST, pp. 407–411, esp. 410; IBP, pp. 241–242.

39. Adrammelech (= Ardamullissu = Arad-mullissu), son and assassin of Sennacherib, fl. early 7th century, 2 Kings 19:37, etc., in a letter sent to Esarhaddon, who succeeded Sennacherib on the throne of Assyria. See Raging Torrent, pp. 111, 184, and COS, vol. 3, p. 244, both of which describe and cite with approval Simo Parpola, “The Murderer of Sennacherib,” in Death in Mesopotamia: Papers Read at the XXVie Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, ed. Bendt Alster (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1980), pp. 171–182. See also ABC, p. 240.

An upcoming scholarly challenge is the identification of Sennacherib’s successor, Esarhaddon, as a more likely assassin in Andrew Knapp’s paper, “The Murderer of Sennacherib, Yet Again,” to be read in a February 2014 Midwest regional conference in Bourbonnais, Ill. (SBL/AOS/ASOR).

On various renderings of the neo-Assyrian name of the assassin, see RlA s.v. “Ninlil,” vol. 9, pp. 452–453 (in German). On the mode of execution of those thought to have been  conspirators in the assassination, see the selection from Ashurbanipal’s Rassam cylinder in ANET, p. 288.

40. Esarhaddon, king, r. 680–669, 2 Kings 19:37, etc., in his many inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 130–147; COS, vol. 2, p. 306; ABC, pp. 217–219. Esarhaddon’s name appears in many cuneiform inscriptions (ANET, pp. 272–274, 288–290, 292–294, 296, 297, 301–303, 426–428, 449, 450, 531, 533–541, 605, 606), including his Succession Treaty (ANEHST, p. 355).

BABYLONIA

41. Merodach-baladan II (=Marduk-apla-idinna II), king, r. 721–710 and 703, 2 Kings 20:12, etc., in the inscriptions of Sennacherib and the Neo-Babylonian Chronicles (Raging Torrent, pp. 111, 174, 178–179, 182–183. For Sennacherib’s account of his first campaign, which was against Merodach-baladan II, see COS, vol. 2, pp. 300-302. For the Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series, Chronicle 1, i, 33–42, see ANEHST, pp. 408–409. This king is also included in the Babylonian King List A (ANET, p. 271), and the latter part of his name remains in the reference to him in the Synchronistic King List (ANET, pp. 271–272), on which see ABC, pp. 226, 237.

42. Nebuchadnezzar II, king, r. 604–562, 2 Kings 24:1, etc., in many cuneiform tablets, including his own inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 220–223; COS, vol. 2, pp. 308–310; ANET, pp. 221, 307–311; ABC, p. 232. The Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series refers to him in Chronicles 4 and 5 (ANEHST, pp. 415, 416–417, respectively). Chronicle 5, reverse, lines 11–13, briefly refers to his conquest of Jerusalem (“the city of Judah”) in 597 by defeating “its king” (Jehoiachin), as well as his appointment of “a king of his own choosing” (Zedekiah) as king of Judah.

43. Nebo-sarsekim, chief official of Nebuchadnezzar II, fl. early 6th century, Jeremiah 39:3, in a cuneiform inscription on Babylonian clay tablet BM 114789 (1920-12-13, 81), dated to 595 B.C.E. The time reference in Jeremiah 39:3 is very close, to the year 586. Since it is extremely unlikely that two individuals having precisely the same personal name would have been, in turn, the sole holders of precisely this unique position within a decade of each other, it is safe to assume that the inscription and the book of Jeremiah refer to the same person in different years of his time in office. In July 2007 in the British Museum, Austrian researcher Michael Jursa discovered this Babylonian reference to the biblical “Nebo-sarsekim, the Rab-saris” (rab ša-rēši, meaning “chief official”) of Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 604–562). Jursa identified this official in his article, “Nabu-šarrūssu-ukīn, rab ša-rēši, und ‘Nebusarsekim’ (Jer. 39:3),” Nouvelles Assyriologiques Breves et Utilitaires2008/1 (March): pp. 9–10 (in German). See also Bob Becking, “Identity of Nabusharrussu-ukin, the Chamberlain: An Epigraphic Note on Jeremiah 39,3. With an Appendix on the Nebu(!)sarsekim Tablet by Henry Stadhouders,” Biblische Notizen NF 140 (2009): pp. 35–46; “Corrections,” pp. 121–124; “Sixteen,” p. 47 n. 31. On the correct translation of ráb ša-rēši (and three older, published instances of it having been incorrect translated as rab šaqê), see ITP, p. 171 n. 16.

44. Nergal-sharezer (= Nergal-sharuṣur the Sin-magir = Nergal-šarru-uṣur the simmagir), officer of Nebuchadnezzar II, early sixth century, Jeremiah 39:3, in a Babylonian cuneiform inscription known as Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (column 3 of prism EŞ 7834, in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum). See ANET, pp. 307‒308; Rocio Da Riva, “Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (EŞ 7834): A New Edition,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, vol. 103, no. 2 (2013): 204, Group 3.

45. Nebuzaradan (= Nabuzeriddinam = Nabû-zēr-iddin),
a chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar II, early sixth century, 2 Kings 25:8, etc. & Jeremiah 39:9, etc.
, in a Babylonian cuneiform inscription known as Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (column 3, line 36 of prism EŞ 7834, in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum). See ANET, p. 307; Rocio Da Riva, “Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (EŞ 7834): A New Edition,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, vol. 103, no. 2 (2013): 202, Group 1.

46. Evil-merodach (= Awel Marduk, = Amel Marduk), king, r. 561–560, 2 Kings 25:27, etc., in various inscriptions (ANET, p. 309; OROT, pp. 15, 504 n. 23). See especially Ronald H. Sack, Amel-Marduk: 562-560 B.C.; A Study Based on Cuneiform, Old Testament, Greek, Latin and Rabbinical Sources (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, no. 4; Kevelaer, Butzon & Bercker, and Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener, 1972).

47. Belshazzar, son and co-regent of Nabonidus, fl. ca. 543?–540, Daniel 5:1, etc., in Babylonian administrative documents and the “Verse Account” (Muhammed A. Dandamayev, “Nabonid, A,” RlA, vol. 9, p. 10; Raging Torrent, pp. 215–216; OROT, pp. 73–74). A neo-Babylonian text refers to him as “Belshazzar the crown prince” (ANET, pp. 309–310 n. 5).

PERSIA

48. Cyrus II (=Cyrus the great), king, r. 559–530, 2 Chronicles 36:22, etc., in various inscriptions (including his own), for which and on which see ANEHST, pp. 418–426, ABC, p. 214. For Cyrus’ cylinder inscription, see Raging Torrent, pp. 224–230; ANET, pp. 315–316; COS, vol. 2, pp. 314–316; ANEHST, pp. 426–430; P&B, pp. 87–92. For larger context and implications in the biblical text, see OROT, pp. 70-76.

49. Darius I (=Darius the Great), king, r. 520–486, Ezra 4:5, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own trilingual cliff inscription at Behistun, on which see P&B, pp. 131–134. See also COS, vol. 2, p. 407, vol. 3, p. 130; ANET, pp. 221, 316, 492; ABC, p. 214; ANEHST, pp. 407, 411. On the setting, see OROT, pp. 70–75.

50. Tattenai (=Tatnai), provincial governor of Trans-Euphrates, late sixth to early fifth century, Ezra 5:3, etc., in a tablet of Darius I the Great, king of Persia, which can be dated to exactly June 5, 502 B.C.E. See David E. Suiter, “Tattenai,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), vol. 6, p. 336; A. T. Olmstead, “Tattenai, Governor of ‘Beyond the River,’” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 3 (1944): p. 46. A drawing of the cuneiform text appears in Arthur Ungnad, Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler Der Königlichen Museen Zu Berlin (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1907), vol. IV, p. 48, no. 152 (VAT 43560). VAT is the abbreviation for the series Vorderasiatische Abteilung Tontafel, published by the Berlin Museum. The author of the BAR article wishes to acknowledge the query regarding Tattenai from Mr. Nathan Yadon of Houston, Texas, private correspondence, 8 September 2015.

51. Xerxes I (=Ahasuerus), king, r. 486–465, Esther 1:1, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own (P&B, p. 301; ANET, pp. 316–317), and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (COS, vol. 2, p. 188, vol. 3, pp. 142, 145. On the setting, see OROT, pp. 70–75.

52. Artaxerxes I Longimanus, king, r. 465-425/424, Ezra 4:6, 7, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own (P&B, pp. 242–243), and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (COS, vol. 2, p. 163, vol. 3, p. 145; ANET, p. 548).

53. Darius II Nothus, king, r. 425/424-405/404, Nehemiah 12:22, in various inscriptions, including his own (for example, P&B, pp. 158–159) and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (ANET, p. 548; COS, vol. 3, pp. 116–117).


BAS Library Members: Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s Biblical Archaeology Review articles “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 and “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People” in the May/June 2017 issue.Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


“Almost Real” People: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

In general, the persons listed in the box at the top of p. 50 of the March/April 2014 issue of BAR exclude persons in two categories. The first category includes those about whom we know so little that we cannot even approach a firm identification with anyone named in an inscription. One example is “Shalman” in Hosea 10:14. This name almost certainly refers to a historical person, but variations of this name were common in the ancient Near East, and modern lack of information on the biblical Shalman makes it difficult to assign it to a particular historical situation or ruler, Assyrian or otherwise. See Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Hosea (The Anchor Bible, vol. 24; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), pp. 570–571. A second example is “Osnappar” (=Asnapper) in Ezra 4:10, who is not called a king, and for whom the traditional identification has no basis for singling out any particular ruler. See Jacob M. Myers, Ezra-Nehemiah (The Anchor Bible. vol. 14; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1981), p. 333.

The second category of excluded identifications comes from the distinction between inscriptions that are dug up after many centuries and texts that have been copied and recopied through the course of many centuries. The latter include the books of the Bible itself, as well as other writings, notably those of Flavius Josephus in the first century C.E. His reference to Ethbaal (=’Ittoba’al =’Ithoba’al), the father of Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31). is not included in this article, because Josephus’ writings do not come to us from archaeology. See IBP, p. 238 n. 90; cf. Raging Torrent, pp. 30, 115–116 (p. 133 refers to an Ethbaal appointed king of Sidon by Sennacherib, therefore he must have lived a century later than Jezebel’s father).

AMMON 
Balaam son of Beor, fl. late 13th century (some scholars prefer late 15th century), Numbers 22:5, etc., in a wall inscription on plaster dated to 700 B.C.E. (COS, vol. 2, pp. 140–145). It was discovered at Tell Deir ʿAllā, in the same Transjordanian geographical area in which the Bible places Balaam’s activity. Many scholars assume or conclude that the Balaam and Beor of the inscription are the same as the biblical pair and belong to the same folk tradition, which is not necessarily historical. See P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “The Balaam Texts from Deir ‘Allā: The First Combination,” BASOR 239 (1980): pp. 49–60; Jo Ann Hackett, The Balaam Text from Deir ʿAllā (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1984), pp. 27, 33–34; idem, “Some Observations on the Balaam Tradition at Deir ʿAllā,” Biblical Archaeologist49 (1986), p. 216. Mykytiuk at first listed these two identifications under a strong classification in IBP, p. 236, but because the inscription does not reveal a time period for Balaam and Beor, he later corrected that to a “not-quite-firmly identified” classification in “Corrections,” pp. 111–113, no. 29 and 30, and in “Sixteen,” p. 53.

Although it contains three identifying marks (traits) of both father and son, this inscription is dated to ca. 700 B.C.E., several centuries after the period in which the Bible places Balaam. Speaking with no particular reference to this inscription, some scholars, such as Frendo and Kofoed, argue that lengthy gaps between a particular writing and the things to which it refers are not automatically to be considered refutations of historical claims (Anthony J. Frendo, Pre-Exilic Israel, the Hebrew Bible, and Archaeology: Integrating Text and Artefact [New York: T&T Clark, 2011], p. 98; Jens B. Kofoed, Text and History: Historiography and the Study of the Biblical Text [Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005], pp. 83–104, esp. p, 42). There might easily have been intervening sources which transmitted the information from generation to generation but as centuries passed, were lost.

Baalis, king of the Ammonites, r. early 6th century, Jeremiah 40:14, in an Ammonite seal impression on the larger, fairly flat end of a ceramic cone (perhaps a bottle-stopper?) from Tell el-Umeiri, in what was the land of the ancient Ammonites. The seal impression reveals only two marks (traits) of an individual, so it is not quite firm. See Larry G. Herr, “The Servant of Baalis,” Biblical Archaeologist 48 (1985): pp. 169–172; WSS, p. 322 no. 860; COS, p. 201; IBP, p. 242 no. (77); “Sixteen Strong,” p. 52. The differences between the king’s name in this seal impression and the biblical version can be understood as slightly different renderings of the same name in different dialects; see bibliography in Michael O’Connor, “The Ammonite Onomasticon: Semantic Problems,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 25 (1987): p. 62 paragraph (3), supplemented by Lawrence T. Geraty, “Back to Egypt: An Illustration of How an Archaeological Find May Illumine a Biblical Passage,” Reformed Review 47 (1994): p. 222; Emile Puech, “L’inscription de la statue d’Amman et la paleographie ammonite,” Revue biblique 92 (1985): pp. 5–24.


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NORTHERN ARABIA 
Geshem (= Gashmu) the Arabian, r. mid-5th century, Nehemiah 2:10, etc., in an Aramaic inscription on a silver bowl discovered at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt, in the eastern delta of the Nile, that mentions “Qainu, son of Geshem [or Gashmu], king of Qedar,” an ancient kingdom in northwest Arabia. This bowl is now in the Brooklyn Museum. See Isaac Rabinowitz, “Aramaic Inscriptions of the Fifth Century B.C.E. from a North-Arab Shrine in Egypt,” Journal of the Near Eastern Studies 15 (1956): pp. 1–9, Pl. 6–7; William J. Dumbrell, “The Tell el-Maskhuta Bowls and the ‘Kingdom’ of Qedar in the Persian Period,” BASOR 203 (October 1971): pp. 35–44; OROT, pp. 74–75, 518 n. 26; Raging Torrent, p. 55.
Despite thorough analyses of the Qainu bowl and its correspondences pointing to the biblical Geshem, there is at least one other viable candidate for identification with the biblical Geshem: Gashm or Jasm, son of Shahr, of Dedan. On him, see Frederick V. Winnett and William L. Reed, Ancient Records from North Arabia (University of Toronto Press, 1970), pp. 115–117; OROT, pp. 75. 518 n. 26. Thus the existence of two viable candidates would seem to render the case for each not quite firm (COS, vol. 2, p. 176).

SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF JUDAH
Shebna, the overseer of the palace, fl. ca. 726–697/696, Isaiah 22:15–19 (probably also the scribe of 2 Kings 18:18, etc., before being promoted to palace overseer), in an inscription at the entrance to a rock-cut tomb in Silwan, near Jerusalem. There are only two marks (traits) of an individual, and these do not include his complete name, so this identification, though tempting, is not quite firm. See Nahman Avigad, “Epitaph of a Royal Steward from Siloam Village,” IEJ 3 (1953): pp. 137–152; David Ussishkin, The Village of Silwan(Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 247–250; IBP, pp. 223, 225; “Sixteen Strong,” pp. 51–52.

Hananiah and his father, Azzur, from Gibeon, fl. early 6th and late 7th centuries, respectively, Jeremiah 28:1, etc., in a personal seal carved from blue stone, 20 mm. long and 17 mm. wide, inscribed “belonging to Hananyahu, son of ‘Azaryahu” and surrounded by a pomegranate-garland border, and (WSS, p. 100, no. 165). This seal reveals only two marks (traits) of an individual, the names of father and son, therefore the identification it provides can be no more than a reasonable hypothesis (IBP, pp. 73–77, as amended by “Corrections,” pp. 56‒57). One must keep in mind that there were probably many people in Judah during that time named Hananiah/Hananyahu, and quite a few of them could have had a father named ‘Azariah/‘Azaryahu, or ‘Azzur for short. (Therefore, it would take a third identifying mark of an individual to establish a strong, virtually certain identification of the Biblical father and/or son, such as mention of the town of Gibeon or Hananyahu being a prophet.)

Because the shapes of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet gradually changed over the centuries, using examples discovered at different stratigraphic levels of earth, we can now date ancient Hebrew inscriptions on the basis of paleography (letter shapes and the direction and order of the strokes). This seal was published during the 19th century (in 1883 by Charles Clermont-Ganneau), when no one, neither scholars nor forgers, knew the correct shapes of Hebrew letters for the late seventh to early sixth centuries (the time of Jeremiah). We now know that all the letter shapes in this seal are chronologically consistent with each other and are the appropriate letter shapes for late seventh–century to early sixth–century Hebrew script—the time of Jeremiah. This date is indicated especially by the Hebrew letter nun (n) and—though the photographs are not completely clear, possibly by the Hebrew letter he’ (h), as well.

Because the letter shapes could not have been correctly forged, yet they turned out to be correct, it is safe to presume that this stone seal is genuine, even though its origin (provenance) is unknown. Normally, materials from the antiquities market are not to be trusted, because they have been bought, rather than excavated, and could be forged. But the exception is inscriptions purchased during the 19th century that turn out to have what we now know are the correct letter shapes, all of which appropriate for the same century or part of a century (IBP, p. 41, paragraph 2) up to the word “Also,” pp. 154 and 160 both under the subheading “Authenticity,” p. 219, notes 23 and 24).

Also, the letters are written in Hebrew script, which is discernably different from the scripts of neighboring kingdoms. The only Hebrew kingdom still standing when this inscription was written was Judah. Because this seal is authentic and is from the kingdom of Judah during the time of Jeremiah, it matches the setting of the Hananiah, the son of Azzur in Jeremiah 28.

Comparing the identifying marks of individuals in the inscription and in the Bible, the seal owner’s name and his father’s name inscribed in the seal match the name of the false prophet and his father in Jeremiah 28, giving us two matching marks of an individual. That is not enough for a firm identification, but it is enough for a reasonable hypothesis.

Gedaliah the governor, son of Ahikam, fl. ca. 585, 2 Kings 25:22, etc., in the bulla from Tell ed-Duweir (ancient Lachish) that reads, “Belonging to Gedalyahu, the overseer of the palace.” The Babylonian practice was to appoint indigenous governors over conquered populations. It is safe to assume that as conquerors of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., they would have chosen the highest-ranking Judahite perceived as “pro-Babylonian” to be their governor over Judah. The palace overseer had great authority and knowledge of the inner workings of government at the highest level, sometimes serving as vice-regent for the king; see S. H. Hooke, “A Scarab and Sealing From Tell Duweir,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 67 (1935): pp. 195–197; J. L. Starkey, “Lachish as Illustrating Bible History,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 69 (1937): pp. 171–174; some publications listed in WSS, p. 172 no. 405. The palace overseer at the time of the Babylonian conquest, whose bulla we have, would be the most likely choice for governor, if they saw him as pro-Babylonian. Of the two prime candidates named Gedaliah (= Gedalyahu)—assuming both survived the conquest—Gedaliah the son of Pashhur clearly did not have the title “overseer of the palace” (Jeremiah 38:1), and he was clearly an enemy of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 38:4–6). But, though we lack irrefutable evidence, Gedaliah the son of Ahikam is quite likely to have been palace overseer. His prestigious family, the descendants of Shaphan, had been “key players” in crucial situations at the highest levels of the government of Judah for three generations. As for his being perceived as pro-Babylonian, his father Ahikam had protected the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:24; cf. 39:11–14), who urged surrender to the Babylonian army (Jeremiah 38:1–3).

The preceding argument is a strengthening step beyond “Corrections,” pp. 103–104, which upgrades the strength of the identification from its original level in IBP, p. 235, responding to the difficulty expressed in Oded Lipschits, The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem: Judah under Babylonian Rule (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005), p. 86 n. 186.

Jaazaniah (= Jezaniah), fl. early 6th century, 2 Kings 25:23, etc., in the Tell en-Naṣbeh (ancient Mizpah) stone seal inscribed: “Belonging to Ya’azanyahu, the king’s minister.” It is unclear whether the title “king’s minister” in the seal might have some relationship with the biblical phrase “the officers (Hebrew: sarîm) of the troops,” which included the biblical Jaazaniah (2 Kings 25: 23). There are, then, only two identifying marks of an individual that clearly connect the seal’s Jaazaniah with the biblical one: the seal owner’s name and the fact that it was discovered at the city where the biblical “Jaazaniah, the son of the Maacathite,” died. See William F. Badè, “The Seal of Jaazaniah,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentlishe Wissenschaft 51 (1933): pp. 150–156; WSS, p. 52 no. 8; IBP, p. 235; “Sixteen Strong,” p. 52.

Hezir (=Ḥezîr), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early tenth century, 1 Chronicles 24:15, in an epitaph over a large tomb complex on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing the site of the Temple in Jerusalem. First the epitaph names some of Ḥezîr’s prominent descendants, and then it presents Ḥezîr by name in the final phrase, which refers to his descendants, who are named before that, as “priests, of (min, literally “from”) the sons of Ḥezîr.” This particular way of saying it recognizes him as the head of that priestly family. See CIIP, vol. 1: Jerusalem, Part 1, pp. 178‒181, no. 137.

Also, among the burial places inside that same tomb complex, lying broken into fragments was an inscribed, square stone plate that had been used to seal a burial. This plate originally told whose bones they were and the name of that person’s father: “‘Ovadiyah, the son of G . . . ,” but a break prevents us from knowing the rest of the father’s name and what might have been written after that. Immediately after the break, the inscription ends with the name “Ḥezîr.” Placement at the end, as in the epitaph over the entire tomb complex, is consistent with proper location of the name of the founding ancestor of the family. See CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1, p. 182, no. 138.

As for the date of Ḥezîr in the inscriptions, to be sure, Ḥezîr lived at least four generations earlier than the inscribing of the epitaph over the complex, and possibly many more generations (CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1:179–180, no. 137). Still, it is not possible to assign any date (or even a century) to the Ḥezîr named in the epitaph above the tomb complex, nor to the Ḥezîr named on the square stone plate, therefore this identification has no “airtight” proof or strong case. The date of the engraving itself does not help answer the question of this identification, because the stone was quarried no earlier than the second century B.C.E. (CIIP, Part 1, p.179, no. 137–138). Nevertheless, it is still a reasonable identification, as supported by the following facts:

1) Clearly in the epitaph over the tomb complex, and possibly in the square stone plate inscription, the Ḥezîr named in the epitaph is placed last in recognition of his being the head, that is, the progenitor or “founding father” of the priestly family whose members are buried there.

2) This manner of presenting Ḥezîr in the epitaph suggests that he dates back to the founding of this branch of the priestly family. (This suggestion may be pursued independently of whether the family was founded in Davidic times as 1 Chronicles 24 states.)

3) Because there is no mention of earlier ancestors, one may observe that the author(s) of the inscriptions anchored these genealogies in the names of the progenitors. It seems that the authors fully expected that the names of the founders of these 24 priestly families would be recognized as such, presumably by Jewish readers. In at least some inscriptions of ancient Israel, it appears that patronymic phrases that use a preposition such as min, followed by the plural of the word son, as in the epitaph over the tomb complex, “from the sons of Ḥezîr,” functioned in much the same way as virtual surnames. The assumption would have been that they were common knowledge. If one accepts that Israel relied on these particular priestly families to perform priestly duties for centuries, then such an expectation makes sense. To accept the reasonableness of this identification is a way of acknowledging the continuity of Hebrew tradition, which certainly seems unquenchable.

See the published dissertation, L. J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004), p. 214, note 2, for 19th- and 20th-century bibliography on the Ḥezîr family epitaph.

Jakim (=Yakîm), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early tenth century, 1 Chronicles 24:12, on an inscribed ossuary (“bone box”) of the first or second century C.E. discovered in a burial chamber just outside Jerusalem on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing the site of the Temple. The three-line inscription reads: “Menahem, from (min) the sons of Yakîm, (a) priest.” See CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1, pp. 217–218, no. 183, burial chamber 299, ossuary 83.

As with the epitaph over the tomb complex of Ḥezîr, this inscription presents Yakîm as the founder of this priestly family. And as with Ḥezîr in the preceding case, no strong case can be made for this identification, because the inscriptional Yakîm lacks a clear date (and indeed, has no clear century). Nevertheless, it is reasonable to identify Yakîm with the Jakim in 1 Chronicles 24 for essentially the same three reasons as Ḥezîr immediately above.

Maaziah (= Ma‘aziah = Maazyahu = Ma‘azyahu), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early 10th century, 1 Chronicles 24:18, on an inscribed ossuary (“bone box”) of the late first century B.C.E. or the first century C.E. Its one-line inscription reads, “Miriam daughter of Yeshua‘ son of Caiaphas, priest from Ma‘aziah, from Beth ‘Imri.”

The inscription is in Aramaic, which was the language spoken by Jews in first-century Palestine for day-to-day living. The Hebrew personal name Miriam and the Yahwistic ending –iah on Ma‘aziah, which refers to the name of Israel’s God, also attest to a Jewish context.

This inscription’s most significant difficulty is that its origin is unknown (it is unprovenanced). Therefore, the Israel Antiquities Authority at first considered it a potential forgery. Zissu and Goren’s subsequent scientific examination, particularly of the patina (a coating left by age), however, has upheld its authenticity. Thus the inscribed ossuary is demonstrably authentic, and it suits the Jewish setting of the priestly descendants of Ma‘aziah in the Second Temple period.

Now that we have the authenticity and the Jewish setting of the inscription, we can count the identifying marks of an individual to see how strong a case there is for the Ma‘azyahu of the Bible and the Ma‘aziah being the same person: 1) Ma‘azyahu and Ma‘aziah are simply spelling variants of the very same name. 2) Ma‘aziah’s occupation was priest, because he was the ancestor of a priest. 3) Ma‘aziah’s place in the family is mentioned in a way that anchors the genealogy in him as the founder of the family. (The inscription adds mention of ‘Imri as the father of a subset, a “father’s house” within Ma‘aziah’s larger family.)

Normally, if the person in the Bible and the person in the inscription have the same three identifying marks of an individual, and if all other factors are right, one can say the identification (confirmation) of the Biblical person in the inscription is virtually certain.
But not all other factors are right. A setting (even in literature) consists of time and place. To be sure, the social “place” is a Jewish family of priests, both for the Biblical Ma‘azyahu and for the inscriptional Ma‘aziah. But the time setting of the Biblical Ma‘azyahu during the reign of David is not matched by any time setting at all for the inscriptional Ma‘aziah. We do not even know which century the inscriptional Ma‘aziah lived in. He could have been a later descendant of the Biblical Ma‘azyahu.

Therefore, as with Ḥezîr and as with Yakîm above, we cannot claim a clear, strong identification that would be an archaeological confirmation of the biblical Ma‘azyahu. We only have a reasonable hypothesis, a tentative identification that is certainly not proven, but reasonable—for essentially the same three reasons as with Ḥezîr above.

See Boaz Zissu and Yuval Goren, “The Ossuary of ‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests [of] Ma‘aziah from Beth ‘Imri’,” Israel Exploration Journal 61 (2011), pp. 74–95; Christopher A. Rollston, “‘Priests’ or ‘Priest’ in the Mariam (Miriam) Ossuary, and the Language of the Inscription,” Rollston Epigraphy (blog), July 14, 2011, www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=275, accessed October 10, 2016; Richard Bauckham, “The Caiaphas Family,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 10 (2012), pp. 3–31.


BAS Library Members: Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s Biblical Archaeology Review articles “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 and “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People” in the May/June 2017 issue.Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


Symbols & Abbreviations

ANEHST  Mark W. Chavalas, ed., The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation (Blackwell Sources in Ancient History; Victoria, Australia: Blackwell, 2006).
ABC  A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2000).
ANET  James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969).
B.C.E.  before the common era, used as an equivalent to B.C. 
BASOR  Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
c.  century (all are B.C.E.) 
ca.  circa, a Latin word meaning “around” 
cf.  compare
CAH  John Boardman et al., eds., The Cambridge Ancient History (2nd ed.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970).
CIIP Hanna M. Cotton et al., eds., Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, vol. 1: Jerusalem, Part 1 (Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2010). Vol. 1 consists of two separately bound Parts, each a physical “book.”
“Corrections”  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, “Corrections and Updates to ‘Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E.,” Maarav 16 (2009), pp. 49–132, free online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/129/.
COS  William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, eds., The Context of Scripture, vol. 2: Archival Documents from the Biblical World (Boston: Brill, 2000).
Dearman, Studies  J. Andrew Dearman, ed., Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab(Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989).
esp.  especially
fl.  flourished
IBP  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004). This book is a revised Ph.D. dissertation in Hebrew and Semitic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998, which began with a 1992 graduate seminar paper. Most of IBP is available on the Google Books web site:  www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=mykytiuk+identifying&num=10
ibid.  (Latin) “the same thing,” meaning the same publication as the one mentioned immediately before
idem  (Latin) “the same one(s),” meaning “the same person or persons,” used for referring to the author(s) mentioned immediately before.
IEJ  Israel Exploration Journal
ITP  Hayim Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, King of Assyria (Fontes ad Res Judaicas Spectantes; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 2nd 2007 printing with addenda et corrigenda, 1994).
n.  note (a footnote or endnote)
no.  number (of an item, usually on a page)
OROT  Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003).
P&B  Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1990).
Pl.  plate(s) (a page of photos or drawings in a scholarly publication, normally unnumbered,)
r.  reigned
Raging Torrent  Mordechai Cogan, The Raging Torrent: Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel (A Carta Handbook; Jerusalem: Carta, 2008).
RlA  Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie (New York, Berlin: de Gruyter, ©1932, 1971).
RIMA  a series of books: The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia: Assyrian Periods 
RIMA 3  A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, II (858–745 BC) (RIMA, no. 3; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 1996).
“Sixteen”  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, “Sixteen Strong Identifications of Biblical Persons (Plus Nine Other Identifications) in Authentic Northwest Semitic Inscriptions from before 539 B.C.E.,” pp. 35–58 in Meir Lubetski and Edith Lubetski, eds., New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012), free online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/.
Third  Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 B.C.) (2nd rev. ed. with supplement; Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1986).
WSS  Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass, Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals (Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Israel Exploration Society, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Institute of Archaeology, 1997).


Date Sources

This table uses Kitchen’s dates for rulers of Egypt, Pitard’s for kings of Damascus (with some differences), Galil’s for monarchs of Judah and for those of the northern kingdom of Israel, Grayson’s for Neo-Assyrian kings, Wiseman’s for Neo-Babylonian kings and Briant’s, if given, for Persian kings and for the Persian province of Yehud. Other dates follow traditional high biblical chronology, rather than the low chronology proposed by Israel Finkelstein.

References

Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 B.C.) (2nd rev. ed. with supplement; Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1986), pp. 466–468.

Wayne T. Pitard, Ancient Damascus: A Historical Study of the Syrian City-State from Earliest Times until its Fall to the Assyrians in 732 B.C.E. (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987), pp. 138–144, 189.

Gershon Galil, The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah (SHCANE 9; New York: Brill, 1996), p. 147.

A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, II (858–745 BC) (RIMA 3; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 1996), p. vii; idem, “Assyria: Ashur-dan II to Ashur-nirari V (934–745 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part I, pp. 238–281; idem, “Assyria: Tiglath-pileser III to Sargon II (744–705 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 71–102; idem, “Assyria: Sennacherib and Esarhaddon (704–669 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 103–141; idem, “Assyria 668–635 B.C.: The Reign of Ashurbanipal,” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 142–161.

Donald J. Wiseman, “Babylonia 605–539 B.C.” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 229–251.

Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander : A History of the Persian Empire (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2002), “Index of Personal Names,” pp.  1149–1160.


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on March 3, 2014. It has been updated.

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Archaeology and the Bible

At the beginning of the Easter week Jesus rode a donkey down from the Mount of Olives toward the great rock-built walls of the city of Jerusalem. His journey that day had been long ago predicted by the prophet Zechariah who had told the Jewish People to expect their Messiah to come to them in this humble way (Zechariah 9:9). While crowds of palm-waving Jews rejoiced at His “triumphal entry,” the religious establishment demanded that he silence these newfound disciples. But Jesus responded, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40). Jesus’ words perhaps referenced the huge stone blocks that surrounded Him at every turn in the Holy City. Today, even though disciples multiplied by millions still rejoice over Him, the stones have also added their voice. In fact, the very stones of which Jesus spoke today have been unearthed at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Fulfilling Jesus own prophecy that they would fall (Luke 19:43-44), they still cry out to our age that the triumph of that first Easter continues still. Such stones are part of the historic witness of archaeology, a science that has come to the service of Scripture at a time when other sciences have sought to subvert it.

We live in an exciting time! New discoveries are being unearthed throughout the world often faster than our newspapers can report them. They open a new window on the ancient world that permits us to view the stories of the Bible with an accuracy never known before. The first generation of Jewish-Christians who were bequeathed the Gospels no doubt had such a first-hand experience of the history and places they describe. Until the advent of archaeology, Christians were left to reconstruct the world of the Bible and the drama of the events of Easter as best they could. Masterpieces of religious art from previous centuries pictured the crucifixion, entombment and resurrection of Christ with the only reference point they had – their own world. Even if they included Oriental models, the look was still more that of seventeenth-century turbaned Turks rather than first-century Jews and Romans. While not detracting from the drama, and certainly with every good intention toward history, such scenes nevertheless portrayed an unrealistic image that was more faith than fact. Today, archaeology has restored much of the first-century world, enabling us to experience the reality of Easter in a way not available to previous centuries of Christians.

In the late 18th century, no one could have dreamed what wonders archaeology was to reveal. The world of the past was itself a dream, forgotten except for the Bible’s parade of ancient names and places. However, the Bible stood as the only surviving testimony to itself. The reader was the blessed by its truths, yet often left baffled by the sites and subjects it recorded. Archaeology has reclaimed mankind’s lost heritage, chasing away the spiders of time whose webs of ruin have hidden our past from us. It has resurrected the faded glory of forgotten eras so that future generations can approach their faith with greater facts than any other in history. In many cases it has also chased away skeptical views of the Bible introduced to our Christian culture by the invasion of biblical higher criticism over a century ago. No longer can the Bible be thought to have been the late product of fanciful Hebrew editors seeking to create a religious history for a race without origins. Rather, as Professor William Foxwell Albright, the renown Dean of American biblical archaeology professed decades ago: “Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition of the value of the Bible as a source of history.” As a result, archaeology has been of special importance to those who seek to capture the original context of scripture. In this regard, Joseph Callaway once observed: “The real business of archaeology is to establish factual benchmarks in the world of the Bible to guide interpreters.”

The Purposes of Archaeology

Archaeology has revealed the cities, the palaces, the temples, the houses of those who lived shoulder to shoulder with those whose names were inscribed in scripture. It makes possible for us what the apostle John once voiced to authenticity his message: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). Tangible things assist faith in its growth toward God. Archaeology brings forth the tangible things of history so that faith can have a reasonable context in which to develop. It also keep faith in balance with facts, confirming the reality of the people and events of the Bible so that skeptics and saints alike might clearly perceive its spiritual message within an historical context. Many people wrongly assume that the purpose of archaeology is to “prove” the Bible. However, since the Bible describes itself as the “Word of God,” it cannot be proved or disproved by archaeology anymore than God Himself is subject to the limited evidence of this world. The proper use of archaeology in relation to the Bible is to confirm, correct, clarify, and complement its theological message.

Confirming the Word of the Bible

According to Webster’s English Dictionary one of the meanings of the word “confirm” is “to give new assurance of the validity” of something. Archaeology provides us new assurance from the stones to accompany the assurance we already have from the Spirit. For instance, a little more than 100 years ago higher critical scholars doubted the existence of the Hittites, a people mentioned 47 times in the Old Testament and among whose ranks were Ephron the Hittite, who sold Abraham his burial cave (Genesis 23:10-20), and Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon (2 Samuel 11). Then in 1876 the ruins of the Hittite empire was discovered at Boghaz-Koy with more than 10,000 clay tablets chronicling their history. Archaeology has produced the same confirmation of the historical sites of Ninevah, Babylon, and countless lost cities in Israel and Jordan. Such confirmation is constantly occurring with new archaeological excavations. Until recently there was no material evidence from the archaeological record to confirm the biblical account of the existence of a biblical King David. That changed in 1993-1994 when Professor Avraham Biran unearthed a monumental inscription in the northern Israelite city of Dan. The inscription, written by one of Israel’s ancient enemies (so no Israelite can be accused of fabricating it) recorded the name of one of Judah’s kings “of the house of David.” These tell-tale words give new assurance of scripture’s most famous warrior and psalmist, since if there was a “house of David” there had to be a David to have a house! In like manner, only a few years ago a startling confirmation of one of the biblical prophets was discovered. The Bible tells us that the Prophet Jeremiah, who stood against an ungodly empire in the last days of Judah’s history, had an associate named Baruch who served as his scribe. The biblical book of Jeremiah, once burned by a rebellious king, was personally written by the hand of this Baruch. In excavations in the ancient City of David more than 50 clay seals were discovered, preserved by the fire that had destroyed the city according to Jeremiah’s prophecy. One of the seals from this site, once used to seal an ancient papyrus document, contained the name of Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch. More astonishing, on the upper left corner of the seal is the imprint of Baruch’s own finger, made in the soft clay the day his letter was sealed and baked by the fire to a hardness that protected it against time. Here, then, is the very fingerprint of a man who wrote one of the books of the Bible and served at the side of one of Israel’s great prophetic figures.

Correcting our Wording of the Bible

One of the first steps in the understanding of the scriptures is to discern the text as originally written by its authors. While it is unlikely that archaeologists will ever dig up one of the autographas (original texts of the Bible), the ancient copies that have come to us have been preserved and passed down to us in such a manner as to give us confidence that we have the very “Word of God” in our hands. From the sands of Egypt to the caves of Qumran, archaeology has unearthed hundreds of copies of Old Testament books and thousands of copies of the New Testament books. In the first category are hundreds of Hebrew, Aramaic inscriptions which contain vocabulary familiar to the Old Testament. Our oldest copy of a biblical text comes from an inscription discovered only in 1979 by Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barcay in a tomb in Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley. Among the more than 1,000 objects taken from the tomb were several tiny silver scrolls dating from before the Judean exile of 586 B.C. One contained the complete text of the Aaronic benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. This text showed scholars how well our later versions of the Bible preserved this important biblical blessing as well as forced a re-evaluation of the old higher critical theory that the authorship of most of the Pentateuch had only taken place after the Judeans return from exile. One of the greatest manuscript discoveries of all time has been the fabulous Dead Sea Scrolls. Included in this collection of 1,100 documents are 233 whole or fragmentary copies of every book of the Old Testament (except the book of Esther), most written at least a hundred years before the birth of Christ. Yet, even greater than our discovery of these Old Testament documents are those for the New Testament. Some 14,000 whole or partial copies are now available to scholars. To this we can add the sensational discoveries of ancient manuscripts in Nag Hammadi which contain Gnostic gospels and texts as well as thousands of newly recovered texts long lost in Saint Catherine’s monastery at the foot of traditional Mt. Sinai. These ancient manuscripts provide the basis for restoring the precise form, grammar, and syntax of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the Bible, as well as their exact meaning in the time in which they were written. Such archaeological literary treasures have given us a far greater collection of biblical manuscripts than that possessed by the Church in previous centuries and have enabled scholars to make better translations from the ancient languages, thus improving our own English language versions of the Bible.

Clarifying the World of the Bible

Since the “Word” was announced to people in this world, at particular places and times, the historical, cultural, and religious context of those addressed must be understood. However, we in the United States are 8,000 miles and some 4,000 years removed from such times and places. Therefore, the better we are able to understand the original meaning of the message, as first communicated in the ancient world of the Bible, the better we will be able to apply its timeless truths to our lives in the modern world. Professor Amihai Mazar, director of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology explains the importance of this when he says: “archaeology is our only source of information that comes directly from the biblical period itself … a whole picture of daily life from this period… which is the only … evidence that we have from the biblical period except the Bible itself … We can now imagine the size and type of settlements people lived in, what type of town plan there was, what kind of vessels they used in every day life, what kind of enemies they had and what kind of weapons they used against these enemies – everything related to the material aspect of life in the Old Testament period can be described by archeological finds from this particular period.” All of these archaeological details assists us in our reconstructing this original context of the Bible so that the theological truth it contains will not be misinterpreted and misapplied. The monumental excavations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Israel have now revealed much of the shape and substance of these long buried empires. Based on paintings from Egyptian tombs and reliefs on their temples we know what the biblical patriarchs may have looked like as well as many of the foreign armies that attacked both Egypt and ancient Israel throughout its history. We even have in some instances stone “snapshots” of actual biblical personalities. From the high cliffs of Behistun we have the portrait of the Persian monarch Darius the Great, from an Assyrian obelisk a picture of the Judean King Jehu, and from Israel a painted image of an enthroned King Hezekiah. Such archaeological trivia has made possible the wonderfully accurate recreations of these ancient civilizations in television documentaries and feature films.

Complementing the Witness of the Bible

The 66 books of the Bible were written on at least five continents over 4,000 years of history by prophets, poets and peasants as well as by shepherds and statesmen. While a vast and diverse witness, the scriptures only mention certain people and record specific events that were necessary to their larger theological purpose. As a consequence, much of significance is deliberately excluded that truths of a greater importance might be included. However, such necessary deletions cause some to question the historical accuracy of the biblical authors. Archaeology through its revelation of the context and culture of the lands and civilizations in which the biblical drama was enacted, adds a complementary witness as fills out the outline drawn by the biblical authors verifying that the particulars they present they faithful to the facts. For example, although the Israelite King Omri who built up Samaria and made it the capital of the Northern Kingdom, was one of the most important rulers of his time (885-874 B.C.), the biblical text gives him only a passing reference (1 Kings 16:21-28). This was most likely because he was one of the most wicked of the Israelite kings and his prideful accomplishments did not deserve recognition. Archaeology complements the biblical notice of King Omri by providing the historical background for his extra-biblical exploits from the recovered records of his foreign foes. It reveals that the biblical authors are correct in their assessment of his character and command. This complementary witness has been especially helpful in understanding the time of Jesus and the correctness and context of His commentary on and extensive dialogues with the various Jewish religious sects. The problem for interpreters until recent times was that while such groups as the Pharisees and Sadducees were well known from the Gospels, no contemporary witness to them was known to have been preserved. However, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and studied it was found that they were filled with numerous descriptions and accounts of these Jewish sects, with whom the Community that hid the scrolls also had controversy. Students of the Gospels now have the advantage of reading complementary commentary on these groups from before the birth of Christ, yet employing the similar strong statements reminiscent of Jesus. In this light, archaeology has also given us countless complementary texts, such as accounts of Creation and Flood which parallel the scriptural stories, demonstrating the trustworthiness of Bible. These not only reveal the Bible’s historical character, but emphasize its uniqueness when compared with other ancient Near Eastern documents. In this regard the discoveries of the religious literatures of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Canaanites have all highlighted the originality and theological distinctiveness of the Bible.

Archaeology and Easter

When we come to the life-changing message of Easter, with its account of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, archaeology again confirms that even though miracles are involved they are being enacted in the arena of actual history. This is important for Christians on two counts. First, our stories of the season, preached with passion in Easter services and performed with pageantry in Easter productions, may connote an air of unreality. As with any truth that has become tradition we can lose the sense of its original setting in this world and feel it belongs to some other. Such a loss of connection with the real world context of Christianity – and especially of the defining facts of our faith – imperils our practice of the real significance of the season, namely our personal salvation provided at the cross and of resurrection life and the future hope of our own bodily resurrection. Archaeology transforms our flannelgraph conceptions of Jesus in pressed linen walking on carpet grass and it replaces it with a real figure from a real world that calls for real faith. As archaeology rightly informs our understanding of the events of Easter, it does not diminish the miracle of the message but increases our faith in its historical fulfillment.

A second concern for archaeology’s importance to Easter grows out the first and relates to the problem of the present postmodern concept of Christianity as an experience transcending history. This is well expressed by Marcus Borg, Oregon State University professor and Chairman of the Jesus Seminar: “The truth of Easter does not depend on whether there really was an empty tomb … It is because Jesus is known as a living reality that we take Easter stories seriously, not the other way around. And taking them seriously need not mean taking them literally.” However, archaeological excavations (see sidebars) have given sufficient evidence that there is every reason to take the Easter stories both seriously and literally.

Touching the Tomb of Jesus

The most serious events of the Easter story are centered around the burial and resurrection of Jesus. Archaeology has revealed many first-century Judean tombs which correspond in type to the Gospels’ description of the tomb of Jesus. However, is it possible to identify the actual tomb in Jerusalem recorded in these accounts? Christian tourists most favor the Protestant site known as “the Garden Tomb” discovered in 1883 by the British officer Charles Gordon. Here in a serene setting outside the present -day walls of Jerusalem can be found a weathered tomb situated next to a deeply eroded limestone hill which Gordon identified as “Skull Hill” (now known as “Gordon’s Calvary”). However, archaeological examination of the site by Jerusalem archaeologists Gabriel Barkay and Amos Kloner have shown that the Garden Tomb is part of a system of Iron Age II type tombs in the area all dating from the First Temple period (8th-7th centuries B.C.). The most prominent of these tombs are located next door to the Garden Tomb on the property of the French School of Archaeology, the École Biblique. Since the New Testament says that Jesus was buried in “a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid” (John 19:41), the Garden Tomb, already some 800 years in the time of Jesus, cannot meet the Gospel’s explicit criteria.

However, the traditional site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which has a history going back at least to the fourth century A.D., based on its description in Byzantine sources and the existence of columns still in use today from the church of Constantine the Great, has significant archaeological support. Although today it is located within the present walls of the Old City, and the Gospels specify that Jesus was crucified “outside the walls” (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:11-12), the modern walls do not follow the ancient course. This was proven in the late 1960’s when British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon discovered that the wall now enclosing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was a “Second Wall” constructed after the time of Jesus (about A.D. 41). Therefore, when Jesus was crucified the site would have been outside the earlier “First Wall.” Furthermore, in 1976 Israeli archaeologist Magen Broshi uncovered a portion of the original Herodian wall in the northeast section of the church. This revealed that the area upon which the church is built was just outside the western wall of the city on the line of the First Wall. In addition, other archaeologists have discovered that a “Garden Gate” was on this wall, a fact which agrees with the Gospel’s mention of a garden in this area. Examination of the tombs in the vicinity of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre confirm that they are from the late Second Temple period (first century A.D.), the very time in which Jesus would have lived. The type of tomb also matches the precise type of tomb in which Jesus was laid. In the first century two types of tombs were in use. One was the more common kokim tomb which employed long narrow niches cut into the chamber of the burial cave walls at right angles. The other known as thearcosolia tomb had shallow benches cut parallel to the wall of the chamber with an arch-shaped top over the recess. These type of tombs were reserved for those of wealth and high rank. This seems to be the type of tomb in which Jesus was laid because Jesus tomb was said to be a wealthy man’s tomb (Matthew 27:57; cf. Isaiah 53:9), the body could be seen by the disciples as laid out (something only possible with a bench cut tomb), John 20:5, 11, and the angels were seen sitting at both His head and feet (John 20:12). The “Tomb of Jesus” at the traditional site, though deformed by centuries of devoted pilgrims, is clearly composed of an antechamber and a rock-cut arcosolium..

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre also encloses a portion of a hill thought to be the true site of Calvary. Excavations to expose more of this rock have revealed that it was a rejected portion of a pre-exilic white stone quarry, as evidenced by Iron Age II pottery at the site. In this light, if this is the actual site it has been suggested that Peter’s citation of Psalm 118:22: “The stone which the builders rejected …” may have a double meaning (see Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7). By the first century B.C. this rejected quarry had made the transition from a refuse dump to a burial site. It also gives evidence that it was located near a public road in Jesus’ time, another factor which helps to qualify it as the authentic site since the Gospels record that those passing by the place where Jesus’ cross was situated were able to mock Him (see Matthew 27:39).The nature of the rock site fits both the Jewish and Roman requirements as an execution site and it may be because of its association with a place of death that it was called in Jesus’ time the “place of the skull.” This rock upon which the Church was built can still be seen in part today through a section preserved for viewing which bears evidence of earthquake activity, a fact which accords with the Gospel story (Matthew 27:51).

Excavations conducted in the late 1970’s at the site revealed further evidence for this being the place where the original Easter drama was performed. In the lower sections of the Church were discovered the foundations of the Roman emperor Hadrian’s “Forum,” in which his Temple of Aphrodite had been erected around A.D.135. Hadrian followed Roman custom in building pagan temples and shrines to supercede earlier religious structures. This was done at the site of the Jewish Temple, located not far from the Holy Sepulchre Church, and the fourth century church historian and Bishop of Caesarea Eseubius confirms that it was also done in this case: “Hadrian built a huge rectangular platform over this quarry, concealing the holy cave beneath this massive mound.” If the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual site venerated by Christians as the tomb of Jesus, it would explain this location for the Roman building.

Final Thoughts

When the disciples first came to the tomb on that first Easter morning, the Gospels record: “the body of Jesus they did not find.” In the same manner down through the ages skeptics and critics have also come, whether literally or figuratively, and the verdict of history has remained the same as in ancient times – “His body they did not find.” In the final analysis, archaeology may bring us to the tomb, but only faith – informed by the facts – can bring us to Christ. Yet, because archaeology has shown us that the facts that support faith are accurate – an identifiable tomb attesting to literal events – our faith in the Christ of history does depend upon an historically empty tomb for its reality. Archaeology has revealed the persons (Caiaphas, Pilate) and events (crucifixion, entombment) which make up the story of Easter. The resurrection is interwoven with these facts so as to command the same consideration. And when considered along with the historical, social and psychological facts of the first century that surround the claim that Christ arose, the stones still cry out concerning Him Who was and is and is to come!

SIDE BAR #1

Caiaphas – No Bones of Contention

One of the prominent figures in the Easter story is the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas. From A.D. 18-36 he served as the leader of the Sandhedrin, the supreme Jewish counsel responsible for legal affairs in Jesus’ day. It was Caiaphas who prophesied that Jesus would die for the Nation and set in motion the plan to kill Him (John 11:49-53; 18:14). And it was Caiaphas who presided over the late night trial at which Jesus confessed Himself to be the Messiah and was subsequently condemned (Matthew 26:57-68). It was also in the courtyard of Caiaphus’ house that Peter waited for word about Jesus, but instead betrayed Him three times as the cock crowed (Matthew 26:69-75). Today, thanks to archaeology, almost 2,000 after his death, Caiaphus has made a reappearance in Jerusalem. His physical remains were discovered accidentally in November of 1990 by construction workers who were beginning construction for a new park in Jerusalem’s Peace Forest just south of the Temple Mount. As the work crew was digging, the ground suddenly collapsed exposing a first-century burial chamber with 12 limestone ossuaries (burial boxes). One exquisitely ornate ossuary, decorated with incised rosettes, obviously belonged to a wealthy or high-ranking patron who could afford such a box. On this box, however, was also an inscription. It read in two places: Qafa and Yehosef bar Qayafa (“Caiaphas,” “Joseph, son of Caiaphas”). The New Testament refers to him only as Caiaphas, but the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus gives his full name as “Joseph who was called Caiaphas of the high priesthood.” Inside were the bones of six different people, including those of a 60-year old man. At the time of the discovery Steven Feldman, associate editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review observed: “the find should be particularly exciting to some believing Christians because to them it may bolster the Bible’s accuracy …” Indeed it does.

SIDE BAR #2

Pontius Pilate – Evidence that Demands a Verdict

During the Easter Passion perhaps no person is more memorable than the troubled figure of Pontius Pilate who uttered the immortal words “What is truth?” For ten years from A.D. 26-36 Pilate was the Roman officer in charge of Judea and therefore destined to confront Jesus of Nazareth. That day arrived when the High Priest Caiaphas turned Jesus over to Roman authority for official trial and punishment. Pilate has the distinction of being the only person during Jesus’ trials that He chose to talk with. He refused to answer the Judean king Herod Antipas and only under oath did so for Caiaphas. Pilate alone was given the much sought explanation for Jesus’ messianic claims, namely that He was a King sent from beyond this world to bring truth to the world (John 18:36-37). Based on his interrogation of Jesus, Pilate found insufficient evidence for a verdict, and would have apparently released Jesus had it not been for the political pressure brought by the Jewish Sandhedrin (John 19:12-15). Perhaps it was for this reason that Pilate, defying the Sandhedrin’s protest, placed a placard (known as a titulus ) in public display above Jesus on the cross which read in Hebrew, Latin and Greek: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19-22). Today, Pilate has spoken again to bring evidence to our age that demands an historical verdict to the Gospel’s account. From Pilate’s official residence at the Mediterranean seaboard city of Caesarea Maritima in excavations at Caesarea’s Roman theater came a stone plaque bearing the name of Pilate. The two-foot by three-foot slab, now known as the Pilate Inscription, was found re-used as a building block in a fourth century remodeling project, but it was an authentic first-century monument, apparently written to commemorate Pilate’s erection and dedication of a Tiberium, a temple for the worship of Tiberias Caesar, the Roman emperor during Pilate’s term over Judea. The Latin inscription of four lines gives his title as “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea,” a title very similar to that used of him in the Gospels (see Luke 3:1). This archaeological evidence of Pilate again testifies to the accuracy of the Gospel writers. Their understanding of such official terms indicate they lived during the time of their use and not a century or two thereafter when such usage would have been forgotten.

SIDE BAR #3

A Witness of Crucifixion

One of the central events of the Easter story is Jesus’ death by Roman crucifixion. When Jesus and the two criminals were crucified it was on both the afternoon of the greatest festival in Judaism and the Sabbath. Therefore, the Jewish rulers had demanded a quick crucifixion so as to not desecrate the approaching holy day (John 19:31-32). Such archaeological details reveal that the Gospel writers had been historical eyewitness of the crucifixion, just as they said (John 19:35). Nevertheless, because no material evidence of any crucified victim had ever been uncovered in the holy land skeptics and scholars dismissed the Gospels accounts as either imagined or inaccurate. They argued that nails could not have been used to fasten a crucified victim to a cross, because the anatomy of hands and feet could not support them. They were rather bound by ropes. This directly contracted Jesus’ own testimony when after His resurrection He showed His crucified body to His disciples and said “See My hands and My feet …” (Luke 24:39). In like manner, these same critics contended that Jesus’ body, as the body of most criminals and insurrectionists, would not have received a proper burial, but instead would have been dumped into a common grave set aside for the corpses of those defiled by crucifixion. Therefore, the narrative concerning Jesus’ burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:51-56), from which He was resurrected, was nothing more than a fictitious tale. However, archaeology has since produced a witness to the contrary. In 1968 the remains of a crucified man from Giv’at ha-Mivtar, a northern suburb of Jerusalem, was discovered in an ossuary from near the time of Jesus. The name of the man, from an Aramaic inscription on the ossuary, was Yohanan ben Ha’galgol, and from an analysis of his skeletal remains he was in his thirties, approximately the same age as Jesus at the time of His crucifixion. His ankle bone was still pierced with a 7 inch-long crucifixion nail and attached to a piece of wood from a cross. Apparently the nail had hit a knot in the olive wood patibulum (the upright section of a cross) and become so lodged that the victim could not be removed without retaining both the nail and a fragment of the cross. In addition, according to one anthropological analyst, there were marks of nails also on the wrist bones and of a board had been used to support the feet. This find reveals afresh the horrors of the Roman punishment as recorded in the Gospels. They indicate that the position the body assumed on the cross was with the legs nailed on either side of the upright stake. Therefore, rather than the body being straight, it was pushed up and twisted, causing terribly painful muscle spasms and eventually death by the excruciating process of asphyxiation. The discovery refutes the theory that crucified victims were simply tied to the cross. The fact that the bones of Yohanan were found in secondary burial within a tomb also disproves the second hypothesis, for this crucified victim, like Jesus, had received a proper Jewish burial.

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