Over the 40-year history of TB&TS, which will be officially marked next February, we have discussed hundreds of biblical archaeology discoveries. Some discoveries were later determined to be fraudulent. And it’s an open question about some others. So the most important discovery in biblical archaeology…over the past 40 years?
That’s a subjective question. Different archaeologists would probably give us lots of different opinions.
But a few years back, when we talked with journalist Jeff Sheler, about his book, Is the Bible True? he identified one mayor recent discovery as a “Eureka Moment” in biblical archaeology.
This discovery was, in his words, “A perfect example of what archaeology can do to debates over the veracity and historicity of the Bible. Overnight it turned the arguments of skeptics on their ear. Up to that point, there was no reference to David outside the Bible. Lo and behold, they discovered there was this inscription that mentioned David, and it wasn’t in the writing of Jewish scribes, but written by an enemy of Israel.”
It’s called the House of David Inscription. We mentioned it in our last program when we featured our meeting with archaeologist Avraham Biran at the gate of Tel Dan. That meeting was in 1992. Then, just a year later, this amazing discovery, at that very site, was in news headlines around the world.
I called professor Biran at his office in Jerusalem, and he told me the story of the discovery of the Tel Dan inscription.
BTW, if you are a regular listener to this radio program, or a regular reader of this blog, this 40-year anniversary would be a good time to let me know you’re out there. I’d like to hear from all listeners and readers. How long have you been listening? Where are you located? What do you like about the program? Let me hear from you!
Two recent articles on important developments in Biblical Archaeology are discussed: a New York Times article on the excavations at Magdala (hometown of Mary Magdalene) and a Biblical Archaeology Review article on the discovery of the oldest alphabetic inscription found in Jerusalem.
Todd Bolen, a professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s College and editor of Bibleplaces.com, joins me to reflect on these two developments and how they add to our understanding of the biblical world.
We will be visiting Magdala on our Book & The Spade Archaeological Adventure Study Tour coming up next March, and I’m looking forward to my first visit to the site of this synagogue that was probably visited by Jesus during his ministry. Why don’t you join us?