on biblical archeology

I agree with Joe Zias who wrote the following on the biblical studies e-list:

They are at it again -Hong Kong vs Liberty Univ. No, it’s not football, it’s out and out more BIBLICAL Archaeological fraud, folks from that VA University who stated that ‘one cannot be a Christian and vote Democratic’ versus the folks in Asia with the biblical theme park.  All looking for the Ark, on other people’s money, fraud everywhere, including the basic fact that despite their claims not a university trained (minimum requirement a BA in archaeology) on site.  The WAR folks in Tenn.  mentioned in the article are still at it with a new ark guy on the street wrestles for the WWF and Cornuke, well he went south to greener pastures, hustling some stuff in Africa as the room there on the mountain was getting crowded.

The IAA eventually finally wised up and pulled their permit (Liberty Univ) at Qumran where they were digging, ( to our dismay) believing that one of those applying for the dig permit had a degree in archaeology. Seems he was just another biblical scholar posing as a archaeologist, something rampant in today’s world of biblical archaeology. It’s about time Evangelical and Pentacostal folks hustling biblical archaeology cleaned up their act, will it happen, as long as they run these get rich schemes on other people’s money, I’m not betting the farm on it.  Biggest winners here are the Turks who know that they too can make a fast buck here, been doing if for decades, beginning back in the 60’s. Somewhat hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s all on other folks money, many whom can least afford it in these hard times in the US.
SEE http://www.wnd. com/index. php?fa=PAGE. view&pageId= 235033

Joe Zias http://www.joezias. com
Anthropology/ Paleopathology

Science and Antiquity Group – Jerusalem
Jerusalem, Israel


I agree completely – Pentecostals and Evangelicals – please quit being fakes.  If you are not an archeologist, please don’t try to go get some dig permit and ruin a site with your own incompetence, please?  That’ll do all the rest of us a huge favor! 🙂

What is “Biblical” Archeology?

In this whole deal of the supposed find of Noah’s ark, the question arises “what is biblical archeology” really?  What do biblical archeologist do that makes their work scientifically valid and not fraudulent as is the work of Noah’s Ark Ministries? 

Dr. Robert Cargill answers these questions and more in his interview on Jason Boyett’s blog “O me of little faith.”   It’s a pretty informative interview that helps one get right to the issues at hand. 

Here are some excerpts:

It is important to remember, however, that real archaeologists don’t go ‘looking for something.’  We dig.  We dig and we find what we find.  Wherever the evidence leads us, we go.  Whatever the evidence says, we report.  We don’t go looking to ‘prove the Bible.’  This is flawed methodology, because you begin seeing what you want to see or hope to see, and not what’s really there.

One person in the comments asks, “what do you mean you don’t go looking for something?  Then how do you find it?”  To which Dr. Cargill answers:

it is important to distinguish between early ‘archaeology’ and the modern science of archaeology.  early archaeology was little more than treasure hunting, and people did, in fact, go out and look for specific things.  they even called them quests.  others stumbled upon items, and they proceeded to dig the place apart until they found the ‘treasure.’ they then looted the ‘treasure’ to other countries, and this explains why there are egyptian obelisks in france, the greek parthenon marbles in england, and italian statues in the usa.

modern archaeology is much different.  many excavations do, in fact, begin because a tractor was plowing in a field or a bulldozer was clearing the way for a highway or hotel.  archaeologists then come in and establish a systematic excavation.  whatever they find, they publish.  however, these guys began a ministry (not an archaeological group, but a ministry) with the purpose of questing after noah’s ark. this is not good [not real] archaeology (even 100 years ago).

 So there you have it – real biblical archeology doesn’t involve “quests” to prove the Bible.

Re: Noah’s Ark

UPDATE: See Eric Cline on Good Morning America talking about the discovery here.


In regards to the recent supposed find (again) of Noah’s Ark I’ll simply point people to an interview with renown archeologist Eric Cline and others.   Here is a good comment:

“I’m fascinated by people’s fascination in Noah’s ark when there are many more solvable mysteries out there, and yet that might be exactly what draws them to it.  They know it’s inherently unsolvable,” says Mr. Cline, an associate professor of ancient history and archaeology at George Washington University and author of “From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible,” recently published by National Geographic.

I agree with others that this recent claim of finding Noah’s ark is dilettantism at its finest!

Also consider getting his little book (which I need to get too) Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions).

oldest image of St Paul (updated)

paulROME (Reuters) – Vatican archaeologists using laser technology have discovered what they believe is the oldest image in existence of St Paul the Apostle, dating from the late 4th century, on the walls of catacomb beneath Rome.

Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, revealing the find on Sunday, published a picture of a frescoed image of the face of a man with a pointed black beard on a red background, inside a bright yellow halo. The high forehead is furrowed.

Experts of the Ponitifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology made the discovery on June 19 in the Catacomb of Santa Tecla in Rome and describe it as the “oldest icon in history dedicated to the cult of the Apostle,” according to the Vatican newspaper.

The discovery, which involved removing layers of clay and limestone using lasers, was announced a day before Rome observes a religious holiday for the Feasts of St Peter and St Paul.

Peter and Paul are revered by Christians as the greatest early missionaries. Converting on the road to Damascus following a blinding vision of Jesus, Paul took the Gospel to pagan Greeks and Romans and met his martyrdom in Rome in about 65 AD.

Early Christians in Rome buried their dead in catacombs dug into the soft rock under the city and decorated the underground walls with devotional images, often in the Pompeian style.

(Writing by Stephen Brown; Editing by Sophie Hares)



UPDATE: I am not one to really be commenting on archeology let alone early church history but this might be interesting.  Only problem is the picture seems to be limited and not open yet to the public – I haven’t been able to find the pubished picture.  Well, I managed to find the picture….

The World’s First Church?

Based on a Yahoo report: AMMAN (AFP) – Archaeologists in Jordan have unearthed what they claim is the world’s first church, dating back almost 2,000 years, The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.

“We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD,” the head of Jordan’s Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan, said.

He said it was uncovered under Saint Georgeous Church, which itself dates back to 230 AD, in Rihab in northern Jordan near the Syrian border.

“We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians — the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ,” Husan said.

I know next to nothing about biblical archeology except that (if I’ve been paying attention to the Biblical Studies List) it neither proves nor disproves anything about the Bible, for or against it. I guess Archeology is highly interpretive (and speculative?) and any conclusions drawn need to be done so carefully, if at all.

Funny thing is, the church is the people of God, not a building.   Maybe the title should be “Possible remains of world’s first church site found in a cave.”  Interesting I guess.  We’ll see what comes of it.

I am glad I posted this before Jim West did.  I wanted to see if part of my post would reflect what he would say.  Does it?