Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


1709 Clyde Billington – The Nazareth Inscription

The Nazareth Inscription

The Nazareth Inscription

The Nazareth Inscription is a 2,000-year old text inscribed on a marble tablet that threatens penalties against anyone disturbing bodies in tombs. This strange pronouncement has been described as possible evidence for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.

A new analysis offers evidence for the source of the marble but does it tell us anything else about the reason for the text? Professor Billington has devoted considerable time to an analysis of this text and suggests there is an easy explanation for how the marble tablet got from the Aegean island of Kos to Nazareth, where it was apparently discovered by a French antiquities collector almost a century and a half ago.

The Nazareth Inscription is in the collection at the Louvre, though apparently not currentlty on display.


1708 Clyde Billington – The First Marathon plus Olive and Date Archaeology

The Ottoman Fortress at Tel Aphek

The Ottoman Fortress at Tel Aphek

Centuries before the famous running messenger who told the tale of the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon, another messenger took the tale of a disastrous Israelite defeat at the hands of the Philistines back to the Israelite Temple at Shiloh. The message was just the opposite, but the distance was about the same. And thus, today there is a marathon race in Israel that goes from Tel Aphek, the site of the battle, to Tel Shiloh.

In addition to this fascinating story that connects archaeology to sports, we have two more stories that connect archaeological research to two important foods of the region: olives and dates. These stories and more in this week’s program, discussing stories from the news digests of the latest issue of ARTIFAX, our biblical archaeology news magazine.

1707 Clyde Billington – A Palace and Two Temples

Tel Lachis

Tel Lachish

News stories have been published in recent months about a palace of the kings of Israel, near the modern city of Afula, and two temples: one Israelite and one Canaanite.

A road project near Afula, in the Jezreel valley has uncovered the largest palace associated with the House of Omri (Ahad, Jezebel, etc.). Interestingly, it’s just about a half dozen miles from Tel Jezreel, where they had another palace.

We also discuss a Canaanite temple excavated at Tel Lachish, and an Israelite temple excavated just outside of Jerusalem, less than a half dozen miles from the “official” Jerusalem temple. What’s that all about? Tune in and find out.

UPDATE: My colleague John DeLancey provides a video visit to Lachish. (The temple excavation is not seen, unfortunately.)

1706 Clyde Billington – COVID19 Archaeology Impact & Hadrian’s Gate

Iron Age Gate at Tel Dan

Iron Age Gate at Tel Dan

No excavations at Tel Dan and a number of other archaeological sites in Israel this summer due to the travel restrictions related to the COVID19 coronavirus. But there are still some excavations holding out hope that they may get into the field in 2020. We discuss both situations plus other impacts of COVID19.

Also, from the news digest of the latest issue of our biblical archaeology newsmagazine, ARTIFAX, we discuss the reopening of Hadrian’s Gate in Jerusalem, which is almost 2,000 years old, and the discovery of a large Phoenician iron-smithing installation at Akko from the Persian period.

1704-1705 Christopher Rollston – The Dead Sea Scroll Forgeries

Christopher Rollston

Christopher Rollston

One of the participants in an academic symposium at the Museum of the Bible, held in conjunction with the release of an investigative report on the museum’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments, was Christopher Rollston. The report, paid for by the museum, found that the fragments were modern forgeries.

Rollston, professor of Northwest Semitic languages and literatures at George Washington University, is often called upon to verify the authenticity of ancient inscriptions. In our interview he discusses the praiseworthy transparency of the museum on this issue, his desire to see the perpetrator of this fraud brought to justice, and why no one should ever buy antiquities.

1703 Jeffrey Kloha – Museum of the Bible: Repatriating Antiquities


Jeffrey Kloha

Almost simultaneously with the announcement from the Museum of the Bible that the Dead Sea Scroll fragments in their collection were modern forgeries, came the additional announcement that museum founder and board chairman Steve Green was repatriating, to Egypt and Iraq, more than 11-thousand antiquities that were inappropriately acquired during the museum formation process. Once again I was referred to Jeffrey Kloha, the Chief Curatorial Officer at the Museum of the Bible. He was speaking for the museum, and not for Steve Green in this week’s interview.

#637 William Lane Craig – The Historicity of Jesus



In this 1997 program from TB&TS archives, I engaged philosopher William Lane Craig in a discussion on the historicity of Jesus. One of the questions I asked concerned the significance of the four slightly dissimilar biographical stories on the life and ministry of Jesus. This interview was originally an Easter season presentation, so once again during this Easter season, we present William Lane Craig.