Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1551 Clyde Billington – Gezer Palace/Cana Cave Workshop

Professor Clyde Billington

Professor Clyde Billington

Professor Clyde Billington, the new president of the Near East Archaeological Society and fellow editor of ARTIFAX magazine, joins me to discuss some of the news items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX.

Our discussion includes this summer’s excavation of a palace from the time of Solomon at Tel Gezer, the discovery of the cave that may have been the source of the water/wine containers present at the wedding in Cana attended by Jesus and his disciples, the results of the excavations in the priestly quarter of first century Jerusalem, and a possible gem from the Jewish High Priest’s ephod.

1549-1550 Frankie Snyder – Tiles of the Temple

Frankie Snyder

Frankie Snyder

A mathematician has come up with designs of the floors of the first century temple, the temple of Jesus’ time, built by King Herod. These geometric stone tile floors are called Opus Sectile, a design brought to Israel by Herod and used in many of his projects.

In these two programs Frankie Snyder describes her detective work and what has been discovered about this unique flooring design.

1548 Darrell Bock – The Tomb of Jesus

Darrell Bock - Dallas Theological Seminary

Darrell Bock – Dallas Theological Seminary

Archaeologists and conservators in Jerusalem are repairing the edicule, a small structure that covers the traditional location of the tomb of Jesus in the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. During a 60-hour period they were able to remove the marble covering of the stone tomb and observe for the first time in four and a half centuries the actual stone bench on which the body of Jesus is believed to have lain.

But could this actually be the Tomb of Jesus? There are questions about which site is right so we went to Darrell Bock, Research Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary to seek some answers.

1546-1547 Bryant Wood – The Conquest and Archaeology

bryantwood1The Exodus and Conquest is a murky period archaeologically. Many archaeologists believe that the archaeological evidence does not support the biblical account of what happened during that period. Bryant Wood is NOT one of those archaeologists.

In fact, Bryant Wood has dedicated his archaeological career to investigating the evidence for the destruction of Jericho (about which we first interviewed him many years ago) and for the existence of the city of Ai, destroyed by the Israelites in Joshua 7 &  8.

In this 2-part interview we discuss his perspective on what the evidence shows from Jericho, Hazor, and the site of Khirbet el-Maqatir, which he has been excavating for much of the last 20 years.

1545 Brent Seales – Reading Carbonized Texts 2016

prof. Brent Seales

prof. Brent Seales

One year later, we bring our listeners up to date on the latest from University of Kentucky Computer Science professor Brent Seales and his computer program for virtually opening unopenable ancient texts.

Further work has been done on the carbonized scroll from Engedi that we discussed a year ago, revealing its total contents are the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus. New dating, based on the form of the letters in the text, reveals that this book is as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

1543-1544 James Edwards – Paul’s Riot in Ephesus

Roman theater in Ephesus, where the silversmith's riot took place.

Roman theater in Ephesus, where the silversmith’s riot took place.

Ephesus is mentioned more times in the New Testament than any other city, with the exception of Jerusalem. In these two programs with James Edwards, professor of Theology at Whitworth University, we review the city as Paul knew it and the archaeological evidence that is being uncovered in Ephesus today. And over the past 100+ years in fact, by an Austrian excavation.

The most prominent feature of the ruins of Ephesus is the Roman theater, which was able to seat 25,000 people. Missing is the temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which drew pagan worshipers to the city in Paul’s day and supplied a source of revenue for the city’s silversmiths. What happened when the silversmiths got upset at Paul and filled the theater with angry Ephesians is recounted in Acts 19.

Riot in Pompeii – Carl Rasmussen has shared photos from Pompeii where an amphitheater riot from 59 A.D. is depicted.

UPDATE – The Turkish government has apparently cancelled the Austrian excavation at Ephesus, after more than 100 years of digging up the city.

1542 Clyde Billington – Jerusalem’s Trash & Ancient Writing

Kidron Valley - Jerusalem

Kidron Valley – Jerusalem

More news digest items from the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine covered in this week’s program with ARTIFAX co-editor Clyde Billington, including:

  • The discovery of the garbage dump from first century Jerusalem including the remains of the Last Supper (not identified yet, but it’s got to be in there somewhere)
  • A cache of first century writing tablets from London, at the other end of the Roman Empire
  • An abecedary (alphabet listing) from 15th century BC Egypt, the time of Moses
  • And conclusive evidence that the ancient Coptic papyrus fragment that mentions the wife of Jesus is actually a forgery

Information on subscribing to ARTIFAX is at the radioscribe website.