Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


1524-1525 Charles Aling – Exodus and the Priests of Amen

Professor Charles Aling

Professor Charles Aling

Egyptologist Charles Aling returns to TB&TS with a discussion of his article in the Winter issue of ARTIFAX magazine, looking at role-changing clues to the impact of the Exodus. Professor Aling examines three important positions that were often all three held by the high priest of Amen.

But after the reign of Amenhotep II — who may be the pharaoh of the Exodus, going by the Bible’s internal chronology — these positions changed significantly, as if the reigning pharaohs no longer trusted the high priests of Amen. An intriguing suggestion that the Exodus changed the Egyptian ruling class, right up to the reign of Akhenaten.


1522-1523 Minna Silver – Haran of Abraham in Turkey

s200_minna-l_nnqvistArchaeologist Minna Silver recently visited excavations in Turkey at the site of Haran, visited by the Patriarch Abraham on his journey to Canaan. Minna is studying the ancient Amorites. And although the Bible refers to Abraham as a wandering Aramean, there’s also an Amorite connection.

#1521 Walter Kaiser Jr. – Arad Ostraca & Biblical Literacy

DSCN4034aThis week’s big news in Biblical Archaeology was a new analysis of pottery shards found at the desert fortress of Arad a half century ago, and what they might have to say about literacy and when the Bible was written. Mainline liberal scholars say the evidence shows the Bible could have been written before the Babylonian Exile, not after, as they have believed in recent years.

However, evangelicals continue to maintain a much earlier date for the development of widespread literacy and when the Bible was written, in large part based on internal evidence from the Bible itself. That’s the topic of this week’s discussion with Walter Kaiser Jr., President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


1519-1520 Clyde Billington – What’s Up With the Hittites?


Hittite/Egyptian treaty: Hattusili III & Ramses II

The Hittites are mentioned in a number of verses in the Old Testament, from the time of Abraham to the time of David and Solomon. But just who were the Hittites?

In these two programs we fill in some of the blanks, including some information left out of the latest article on the Hittites in Biblical Archaeology Review. There are actually three different groups of Hittites in the biblical period.

The treaty between the Hittite King Hattusili III and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II is the oldest treaty known. A copy of this treaty is on display at the United Nations Security Council.


1517-1518 Brad Schaeffer – Astronomically Easter

schaeferWe enjoyed talking with LSU astronomer Brad Schaeffer about the Star of Bethlehem last year, so we invited him back on the program to give us an astronomical perspective on the Easter holiday, particularly Good Friday.

Astronomers are keepers of the calendar, so astronomical information has a bearing on some of our most important holidays, and may help us cut through some of the ambiguity of the biblical texts.

1516 Clyde Billington – The Harbor of Corinth and the Machaerus Palace


Machaerus, overlooking the Dead Sea

Archaeological work is being done underwater to study the western harbor of Corinth, Lechaion on the Corinthian Gulf. Ancient Corinth profited greatly from the maritime traffic across the isthmus from the western harbor of Lechaion to the eastern harbor of Cenchrae. The work currently underway is looking at construction dating to around 500 A.D.

Authorities in Jordan have announced the reconstruction of Herod’s mountaintop fortress of Machaerus, where Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptist (as reported in Mark 6:21-29) after the dance of Salome.

We discuss these two news items that were reported in the winter 2016 issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

1515 Clyde Billington – Hezekiah’s Seal and Iron-Age Farmhouse

HEZmazarXsmall1In this program we take a look at some of the news digest items from the Winter issue of ARTIFAX magazine that has just been published. The news items involve the discovery of a seal impression from King Hezekiah’s official seal (pictured), as well as the discovery of an Iron Age Farmhouse and a Byzantine monastery at Rosh Ha-‘Ayin (near Tel Aphek where I volunteered on an excavation in 1978), and the discovery of a Canaanite citadel at Nahariya, on the coast north of Akko.

I’m joined on this program by professor Clyde Billington, my co-editor of ARTIFAX.


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