Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

Radio Active Archaeology

The Book & the Spade has been on the air for 22 and a half years now and it’s time to develop the interactive part of the program with a weblog. In a sense we have been making the program interactive with our BOOK & THE SPADE tours in 1985, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2001. They were incredible experiences that included visiting the major sites and talking with some of the top archaeologists. Right now no new tours are on the horizon but we expect to resume this particular service in the future.

However, I would like to expand the dialogue now over the internet. I’ll be able to offer a little background on our programming and perhaps answer questions, maybe even talk about these online discussions on the program. Right at the beginning I need to establish the fact that I am not an archaeologist. I’ve worked on an archeaology dig, for what that’s worth, and I’ve educated myself by interviewing many of the top archaeologists in the field. But I freely acknowledge there are some gaps in my understanding, and a lack of depth that a formal education would provide. If my performance anchoring the program seems to indicate otherwise well, that’s the magic of radio. If the program gives the impression that I enjoy doing this immensely, that part is accurate. I would continue to do this even if I didn’t get paid. Wait a minute, I don’t get paid for doing this. Well, it’s not a salaried position anyway, but I think the rewards are well worth the effort.

I also believe that this is an immensely important topic for Christians. You can become a Christian and live a Christian life without knowing one whit about archaeology. But archaeology can greatly enrich your spiritual life by offering perspective and enhanced understanding of the richness of the Biblical narrative. Archaeology does not prove the Bible, nor does it disprove the Bible, as some critics have claimed. I like what Jeff Sheler said in his book, Is the Bible True? Archaeology affirms the Biblical record. Sure it raises new questions, and sometimes stretches our desire for easy answers about some Biblical accounts. But over the last century, sometimes in near miraculous ways, it has underscored the accuracy of the historical information in the Bible.

Before I go any further I need to thank my unflagging co-host, professor Keith Schoville, “the author of the textbook Biblical Archaeology in Focus and a past president of the Near East Archaeological Society.” He was a good sport to agree to start this venture with me almost two dozen years ago and one couldn’t ask for a better colleague and friend. I couldn’t have found a better person for the job if I had done a nationwide search. He has enriched my understanding of our topics and encouraged me in numerous ways. I hope we’re able to continue our association for many years to come. Additional credit goes to his mentor, the late professor Menahem Mansoor, the founder of the University of Wisconsin Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies and the Madison Biblical Archaeology Society. His love for the Bible enriched us both and to him we credit the inspiration for the name of the program.

Now, there are new discoveries to discuss. Let’s press on!

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