Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1685 Clyde Billington – Another Adonijah

Adonijah Bulla

The Adonijah Bulla

There area three Adonijah’s in the Bible, and know we know about a fourth who also lived in Bible times. A bulla (clay seal impression) has been found in excavations near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with the inscription, “Belonging to Adoniyahu, royal steward.”

This Adonijah lived in the 7th century BC, a time different than the other Adonijahs (one of whom was a son of King David). Royal steward was the highest ranking office in the king’s administration, so he was important. But we don’t know under which 7th century king of Judah he served.

This discovery is one of the items from the news digest of the latest issue of ARTIFAX, our biblical archaeology news magazine, discussed with co-editor Clyde Billington. Professor Billington is also president of the Near East Archaeological Society.

Other items discussed in this program include two discoveries made by the Mt. Zion excavation in Jerusalem: arrowheads and jewelry from the Babylonian destruction layer, and a Crusader era moat. We also discussed a salty solution that helps preserve the Temple Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the centennial anniversary of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

1684 Clyde Billington – Finding Emmaus

"The Road to Emmaus"

“The Road to Emmaus” Painting by Robert Zund, public domain

One of the elusive sites of biblical archaeology is Emmaus, the destination of the two disciples, when they were joined by the resurrected Jesus (Luke 24:13). Several sites have been proposed but now archaeologist Israel Finkelstein believes he has found evidence that supports the site where he is digging, Kiriath Jearim.

That’s one of the leading stories in our news digest in the latest issue of our biblical archaeology news magazine ARTIFAX, and one of the topics in this week’s discussion with prof. Clyde Billington, my co-editor.

We also discuss results of investigations into Bronze Age copper mining and smelting at the Arava sites of Timna and Faynan, and what that tells us about the biblical world of three millenia ago, and the accuracy of the biblical account. Tin used in smelting Copper to make Bronze came all the way from England.

1682+314-1683+315 James Fleming – Biblical Context

James Fleming From out of the archives, a 1991 interview with James Fleming, who is today director of the Biblical History Center in LaGrange, Georgia. In 1991, he directed a similar facility, the Biblical Resources Study Center in Jerusalem. Both missions were similar, to illustrate biblical history to help people understand the Bible better.

In these two programs, Dr. Fleming shares some insights that help us understand the way people lived in the first century and what they would have taken for granted, that helps us better understand the Gospel stories.

1679-1681 Jordan Ryan – Jesus and the Synagogue

Jordan Ryan

Jordan Ryan

The synagogue is a significant part of Jesus’ ministry, as recounted in the Gospels. And so little is known about the beginnings of the synagogue, that the Gospel accounts are actually a major resource for such studies.

Wheaton College professor Jordan Ryan, author of The Role of the Synagogue in the Aims of Jesus (Fortress Press, 2017), has excavated at Magdala, where one of the most recently discovered first century synagogues was discovered, and has extensively studied the history of the synagogue.

In addition to this 3-part interview, Ryan will be speaking in Madison on Saturday, October 19, 2019, International Archaeology Day. His talk is at 7pm at Upper House, 365 East Campus Mall #200, on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Presented by the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society and Upper House. More information and registration here.

1677-1678 Todd Bolen-A Visit to Susa

Todd Bolen

Todd Bolen

Susa is one of the four capital cities of the Persian empire, and where the stories of Esther, Mordecai, Nehemiah, and Daniel all intersect, in the Hebrew Bible. It’s a long way from Israel, and not an easy place to visit in these modern times. Ancient Persia is the modern nation of Iran.

But Todd Bolen of Bibleplaces.com visited Iran a few months ago, and Susa was one of the main places he wanted to see. So we talked about his visit on these two programs.

1675-1676 Jimmy Hardin – State Formation in the 10th Century BC

jimmyA recent conference allowed archaeologists to hear about the latest research into one of the most important periods in the history of Israel, the 10th century BC. A number of archaeologists are focused on this period — the time of the biblical kings Saul, David, and Solomon — and excavating sites along the border between Israel and the Philistines.

One of those archaeologists is Jimmy Hardin, director of the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University. He is one of the excavators of Khirbet Summeily, a border site which is part of the Hesi Regonal Project.

In this interview, we talk about why the 10th century BC is such a critical period, and what’s going on there.

1674 Clyde Billington – Thessalonian Subways and Seneca’s History

Seneca the Elder

Seneca the Elder

Our final review of archaeology digest news items from the Summer 2019 issue of ARTIFAX news magazine includes information from Thessalonica, where a subway construction project is far behind schedule due to all of the archaeological treasures which are being found, and a copy of Seneca’s Histories has been found for the first time in history. Up til now Seneca’s work has only been found quoted in other ancient documents.

Other news items include the excavation plans for the huge hippodrome at Laodicea, one of the seven cities of Revelation; a discovery of the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean (dating to 1600 BC) carrying a cargo of copper ingots, and plans to make the historic site of Karkemish an open air museum along the Euphrates River.