Called by one author, “a preface to Biblical History,” the Amarna tablets describe the Canaanite world just before the Israelites arrived. These diplomatic messages were sent from Canaanite kings and others to the Pharaoh Akhenaton, describing and complaining about various circumstances. These cuneiform tablets were discovered in Amarna, Egypt, in the late 19th century and are still being discussed and debated by Egyptologists and biblical scholars.
In this 2-part recorded conversation, Alice Mandell, Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew Language and Biblical Literature in the University of Wisconsin Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, describes some of the latest discoveries and latest debates about these tablets and the ancient world they describe.
Catching up with some of the archaeology stories in the news digests of the latest issue of our ARTIFAX magazine, co-editor Clyde Billington and I discuss some new Dead Sea Scrolls fragments that have been found. That is, they were found in some caves along the western shore of the Dead Sea but not at Qumran, rather further south near Masada, along Wadi Tze’elim.
Another discovery in the same cave (known as the Cave of the Skulls) is the Jerusalem Papyrus, which was one of our Top Ten biblical archaeology stories of 2016. This papyrus contains what appears to be the oldest mention of Jerusalem in the Hebrew language, dating to the 7th century B.C.
And finally, we discuss the recent proposition put forth by Douglas Petrovich, that the alphabetic Semitic inscriptions from Wadi el-Hol in Egypt and Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai were actually written by ancient Hebrews.
Biblical Archaeology covers thousands of years of Old Testament history. It also includes three years of the public ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Professor Craig Evans of Houston Baptist University has a new book, Jesus and the Remains of His Day, that focuses on some of the most important archaeological discoveries that tell us about Jesus, his ministry, and the world he lived in.
Jesus’ ministry was centered around the Sea of Galilee and today cities along the seashore are being excavated, including Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene. But there’s a lot more, and we discuss these discoveries in these three programs.
UPDATE: This week’s Biblical Archaeology news is about the 12th cave discovery near Qumran. Up to now there’s only been 11 caves in which Dead Sea Scroll materials were found. Archaeologists have now identified one more. This week’s guest, Craig Evans, has an article on the Logos Academic blog, and also an article on the Fox News Opinion website. There’s always something new happening in Biblical Archaeology.
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.
The 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.
Kenneth Bailey died recently. He had spent 40 years living and teaching in the Middle East and his book, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes was a real eye-opener for understanding the parables and gospel accounts of Jesus ministry. We talked with Kenneth Bailey back in 2013 and we are presenting these two programs once again in his memory.
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 Amon.
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 Amon. An intriguing suggestion that the Exodus changed the Egyptian ruling class, right up to the reign of Akhenaten.