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.
Thomas Oden died December 8, 2016. He was 85. We are rebroadcasting these programs 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.
The Hittites are mentioned in a number of verses in the Old Testament, from the time of Abraham to the time of David and Solomon. But just who were the Hittites?
In these two programs we fill in some of the blanks, including some information left out of the latest article on the Hittites in Biblical Archaeology Review. There are actually three different groups of Hittites in the biblical period.
The treaty between the Hittite King Hattusili III and the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II is the oldest treaty known. A copy of this treaty is on display at the United Nations Security Council.
Charles Aling, chair of the history department at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, was featured in the recent documentary Patterns of Evidence, which investigates the historical evidence for the Exodus of the Bible.
The documentary highlights the tensions between the theories for the early date for the Exodus and the late date and other issues related to the historicity of this founding event for two of the world’s major religions.
We discuss some of the theories presented in the documentary, why Dr. Aling supports the early date for the Exodus, and the issues he has with some of the other presentations in the documentary.
UPDATE: Christianity Today posted an excellent article by Gregory Alan Thornbury on “Why It Matters That the Exodus Really Happened.”