Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

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1615-1617 Clyde Billington – Archaeology News Updates

Professor Clyde Billington

Professor Clyde Billington

In preparation for a two and a half week trek to Israel, and in recognition of the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine, I talked with my ARTIFAX co-editor Clyde Billington about some of the news digests items that hadn’t yet been mentioned on our program. So we have three programs that have been posted online and sent out via RSS with all kinds of archaeological tidbits about what’s been happening in the world of biblical archaeology.

And it’s fair to say that the titles of the three programs just scratch the surface of what’s been reported in biblical archaeology lately:

  • #1615 – “Megiddo and Caesarea Update”
    #1616 – “What Happened to the Ark of the Covenant”
    #1617 – “Negev Desert Archaeology News”

I hope to bring back from Israel more news of biblical archaeology and post it in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned.

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1613-1614 John Currid – The New ESV Archaeology Study Bible

Professor John Currid

Professor John Currid

An Archaeology Study Bible is a great resource for Bible study, drawing together information on all of the biblical background and perspective that enlivens our understanding of the biblical accounts and the biblical world.

And now there are two such resources. The new ESV Archaeology Study Bible, published by Crossway, joins the NIV Archaeology Study Bible published about a dozen years ago by Zondervan. In my mind they are different enough that you will enjoy having both, if that is your interest.

In these two programs we talk with one of the main editors, John Currid, of Reformed Theological Seminary, about how the project came together, what’s unique about this particular volume, and about some of his own archaeological experiences along the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, and along the Mediterranean Coast at ancient Carthage.


1612 Remembering James Strange and the Archaeology of Qumran

James F. Strange

James F. Strange

We are sorry to report the passing of James Strange, a professor of religious studies at the University of South Florida, and an archaeologist associated with work at Sepphoris (4 miles from Nazareth) and Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered). He died March 23, 2018. He was 80 years old.

We have several programs in our archives with professor Strange. This program was recorded in 2000, when the Israel Antiquities Authority presented a display of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Field Museum in Chicago. There were a number of lectures in association with this event, and at the particular lecture professor Strange reported on the archaeological background of Khirbet Qumran, near where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.


1476 Again – John DeLancey – Visiting the Holy Land

John DeLancey

John DeLancey

In preparation for our TB&TS Israel Study Tour next month, we’re hosting tour co-leader John DeLancey of Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours for his “Bringing the Bible to Life” presentation this Friday evening and Sunday morning at City Church here in Madison.

I met John three years ago, the first time we co-led a tour, and at the end of the tour we sat down at the Garden Tomb in Israel for a chat about visiting Israel, archaeology, and the like. Dr. DeLancey has lived and studied in Israel, and has let more than 50 tours to Israel. He is a great tour leader and Bible teacher. If you can’t join us for the seminar, I hope you will enjoy getting to know him through this program.


1611 Mark Chavalas – What the Ancients Thought of Jesus

Icon of Jesus from the church at Tabgha, along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Icon of Jesus from the church at Tabgha, along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Ancient historians didn’t completely ignore Jesus and the nascent Christian movement, there are a few mentions. So, as we prepare for Easter, a time when many different media perspectives on Jesus proliferate, we take a look at what people wrote about him almost 2000 years ago.

Our guest on this week’s program is Mark Chavalas, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. His column on what the ancients thought about Jesus is featured in the latest issue of our quarterly magazine, ARTIFAX.

UPDATE: Joan Taylor has posted an article on the ASOR blog on what Jesus might have looked like.


1610 Clyde Billington – Roman Camp at Megiddo

The Jezreel Valley, viewed from Megiddo

The Jezreel Valley, viewed from Megiddo

Megiddo, one of the most famous sites of biblical archaeology, is becoming even more so with archaeological developments in its neighborhood. While the tell excavation continues (a royal burial was announced recently), a new excavation across the road has been uncovering the remains of second century Roman camp, the largest known in the eastern Mediterranean.

Down at the crossroads, about a mile away, an Israeli prison is being demolished. A more modern facility is being built elsewhere, so that the mosaics from Roman period homes can be displayed, one which identifies one of the earliest known Christian worship communities in Israel (discovered in 2005).

We also discuss the mosaics found in Byzantine churches in the Galilee, reconnecting Ephesus to the Aegean Sea, a surveillance network in Syria, and an Assyrian document that echoes the story of Abraham from Genesis.

UPDATE: The Tel Megiddo excavation just released this video from their 2016 excavation season, where a 3600-year-old Royal Canaanite burial was uncovered:


1609 Clyde Billington – Tomb of Jonah and Archaeological Destruction

Ashurbanipal

Ashurbanipal

The Mosque marking the traditional tomb of Jonah in Mosul was destroyed by ISIS four years ago. Now that ISIS is gone, the mosque could be rebuilt but there’s just one problem, it sits on top of a ruin that archaeologists have identified as the ancient palace of Assyrian kings Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Ashurbanipal.

These kings are mentioned in the Old Testament. Sennacherib tried and failed to conquer Jerusalem. We bring our listeners up-to-date on what’s happening at this site.

We also report on the looting and destruction of two other palaces in Israel, the Jericho palace of King Herod, and the palace of Archelaus, the son of Herod, just north of Jericho.

(Ashurbanipal image: photo by Johnbod – Wikimedia)