Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


1437-1439 Christopher Moroney – The Archaeology of Music

Ancient Echoes

Ancient Echoes

As important as music is in the worship of churches today, you have to figure that music was important in biblical times also. There’s the Psalms, of course, but what did they sound like?

About ten years ago we discovered Ancient Echoes, a project by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, which attempted to answer the question.

Here again, this week and for the next two weeks, our 3-part interview with SAVAE’s artistic director Christopher Moroney on the research and other aspects of how the project came together, along with a few cuts from the CD. This is a follow-up to our two previous programs on The Language Jesus Spoke.

1435-1436 Seth Sanders – The Language that Jesus Spoke

Christ Pantocrator

The oldest surviving panel icon of Christ Pantocrator, encaustic on panel, c. 6th century.

Pope Francis and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a brief dispute about it, but what language DID Jesus speak? What was the linquistic climate of first century Palestine? To find some answers, we queried Seth Sanders, professor of religion at Trinity College in Hartford CT. Seth is the editor of the Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions. We spoke to him a few years ago about the development of Hebrew writing.

1434 Gordon Govier – Personal Reflections

Gordon Govier

Gordon Govier

After 31 years hosting The Book & The Spade I finally took the opportunity to share some personal reflections on Biblical Archaeology. Earlier this year, following a couple of articles I wrote for Christianity Today, some radio news colleagues invited me to come on their radio programs to talk about Biblical Archaeology. So this week’s program is constructed from edited portions of Bill Feltner’s program, His People, and Keith Peter’s interview program on Classics Radio. Nothing too amazing, just a slightly different format.

1432-1433 Scott Stripling – Khirbet el-Maqatir 2014

digging a hole
It started as a humble little excavation out in a field north of Jerusalem almost 20 years ago, and this year it’s one of the largest digs in Israel. At least that’s what Scott Stripling told us as we got an update on the 2014 excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, the site the excavators believe might be Joshua’s Ai. That’s the city conquered by the Israelites after their defeat of Jericho.

Interestingly, the remains of a New Testament first century city have become prominent in the excavation over the last few years. Could it be Ephraim, a city mentioned in the gospel of John? Lots to talk about as we get the report on the just-concluded excavation season.


1431 Todd Bolen – Magdala and a Jerusalem Inscription

1195 - Magdala synagogue and menorah

The synagogue table inscribed with a menorah, excavated at Magdala.

Two recent articles on important developments in Biblical Archaeology are discussed: a New York Times article on the excavations at Magdala (hometown of Mary Magdalene) and a Biblical Archaeology Review article on the discovery of the oldest alphabetic inscription found in Jerusalem.

Todd Bolen, a professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College and editor of, joins me to reflect on these two developments and how they add to our understanding of the biblical world.

We will be visiting Magdala on our Book & The Spade Archaeological Adventure Study Tour coming up next March, and I’m looking forward to my first visit to the site of this synagogue that was probably visited by Jesus during his ministry. Why don’t you join us?



1430 Todd Bolen – The City of David

Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel, one of the features of the City of David

The City of David area of Jerusalem has become must see territory for Christian pilgrims in recent years, following all of the recent archaeology that has been done there. In addition, a lot of work has been done to make the finds easily accessible to visitors. A lot of what can be seen there is underground.

In this program with Todd Bolen of, we discuss what we will see in the City of David when our Book & The Spade Archaeological Adventure Study Tour visits next March. For example, there’s Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam. Perhaps you would like to join us, tour details available at

1429 Clyde Billington – The silver hoard of Abel Beth Maacah & Noah’s Ark

Abel Beth Maacah Silver Hoard

Abel Beth Maacah Silver Hoard

More items from the news digest of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine. We discuss the silver hoard that was found during the first season of excavations at Abel Beth Maacah, near Dan, in northern Israel. We discuss the crown of thorns relic recently placed on display in Paris. And we discuss the recent discovery of a new version of the Noah’s Ark story in which the boat was actually round.


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