Today I am going to lump lectures 4, 5 & 6 together into one as Dr. Dever deals more with evidence than anything else and his approach to the evidence is basically the same in all the lectures. There is no point dragging this out further than it has to go but one thing you should realize you do not know how mentally, spiritually and intellectual wearying this all is.
I have said that archaeologists like to take the evidence and paint their own version of the past and it is difficult to get to the truth through all of their pontificating and if they are like Dr. Dever then it is more difficult because he just makes broad statements of ‘fact’, sweeping generalizations and massive assumptions then acts as if they are all true portrayals of the ancient world and its people. The good thing is, he is not the worst of the bunch yet his misrepresentations of both the Bible and the ancient world tires a person out. Then on top of that he likes to repeat himself which is annoying.
The big battle in archaeology is not just with secular archaeologists like Dr. Dever, who had a theological upbringing, but with those who have decided to join the Copenhagen school of thought or are otherwise known as minimalists. These people will flat-out deny the reality of any biblical event they do not like without consideration, even if you show them a boatload of evidence. I have seen it done, not only in my discussions with them but on DVD documentaries where Phillip Davies just simply closes his eyes and repeats ‘it never happened’ over and over.
These people do not listen to reason or anything that doesn’t tell them what they want to hear. Case in point:
#1. 4 entry gate dated to Solomon and the 10th Century but minimalists date them to the 9th.
Why do they do this? Because they do not believe David and Solomon existed or were the men described in the Bible. The 4 entry gate has been found in 3 important cities and each time they have been dated to Solomon’s reign so the minimalist is having difficulty lowering them to an earlier time frame. Then we have the famous stables:
#2. The stables are dated to the 9th century as Ahab is said to have had 2,000 chariots and 10,000 soldiers.
The ruins that we have uncovered that are identified as the stables could have belonged to Ahab for he may have torn down the ones Solomon left behind, renovated them or simply just took them over. BUT his possession of such buildings do NOT mean that Solomon did not have stables for his horses. It is ridiculous to say that because a building was dated to a time after a king that it is now impossible for the earlier king to build his own buildings of a similar nature.
The idea that since Ahab owned stables thus Solomon did not is like saying that Mayor Koch did not have the World Trade Centers because newer buildings were built over the older ones remains. This is one of the things that bothers me about unbelieving archaeologists, they are so limited in their thinking and view of the ancient world that we cannot get the truth out of them or their work without much trudging through mindless dribble that has no hope of ever being proven true.
The same idea crops up in the use of the Qumran remains. Some archaeologists and scholars say the Essenes used it as a monastery and writing center while others say it was a resort, prison, pottery factory, military outpost and so on. Those remains could have been used for all those purposes at different times. We do not know who owned them, how long they were in existence and so on.
For a modern example, we can point to schools which house education facilities, allows church service use, and other activities as well. The history of a building is not limited to one use. How many churches have been converted to apartments or office space? Archaeologists 2,000 years from now will be arguing over who used those buildings and what their purpose really was.
Then we come to architecture:
#3. There are no monumental buildings in Jerusalem
This is actually a common complaint from unbelievers as they compare Jerusalem to cities like Rome, Paris, and other capitals and proclaim Jerusalem could not have been a large and important city because it did not develop huge structures like their foreign counterparts. What those complainers omit from their supposedly rational thought is that those other cities did not face the type of invasions and destruction that Jerusalem has over its tenure. This is not original with me — Jerusalem just did not have the peace it needed to develop such structures.
First the Babylonians invaded, not to mention King David’s siege and conquest, then the Assyrians, then the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusades and on it goes, invaded and destroyed what was built. How could any ruler or his descendants develop anything when their city was constantly being torn down and burnt? The irrational thinking towards Jerusalem and the Bible knows no boundaries.
The ruins of what was once built is probably lying underneath someone’s modern house and no one will find them because it is impossible to dig in most of the modern city. Though we hear of an ocassional homeowner digging a basement and discovering some ancient building under his home, these moments are rare. We really do not have any idea how monumental the buildings were and since the Romans were able to tear down the Temple, no building was going to be safe.
Then we come to education and the sweeping generalities and gigantic assumptions about this industry are immense. Not one shred of proof exists that proves Dr. Dever’s illiterate ancient world position yet he states that they were as if it were the gospel truth. Case in point:
#4. The Gezer calendar is a school boy’s practice text
This sole artifact is used to support Dr. Dever’s arguments. His problem is that all it shows is the work of 1 person and not the whole population. We do not know who wrote on it, their age, the extent of their abilities and so on yet the rest of the Hebrew nation is labeled as illiterate because of it. Most arguments for illiteracy depend upon silence as their proof and I have explained this in a previous article called The Ancient World Was Literate.
Their arguments also ignore the desires of parents, grandparents, children and the government. These play a role in how literate a family was going to be yet not one word from those archaeologists and scholars on this side of the issue. It is as if those desires never existed and the ancient people were simply robots with no will.
I dare anyone to dig around and find my public school work or any of my school mates’. We destroyed those long ago so future archaeologists and scholars would probably declare us illiterates who never went to school. There are numerous reasons and circumstances that would explain the lack of educational evidence for literacy, for all we know, because future archaeologists would find a pulpit like piece of furniture in one part of the school, they would declare it a temple which took in crops as payment for someone’s tax bill.
I am convinced that some of those ancient ruins declared by modern archaeologists as temples are in fact real schools and possibly universities but because the modern archaeologist or scholar doesn’t like that idea, they relabel them as temples. When it comes to religion, the archaeologists and scholars really mess things up as they do not read the Bible to find the correct purpose for the existence of Canaanite cult items in Israeli sites.
Dr. Dever says that monotheism came slow, and via a very hard road yet since he ignores scriptures and dismisses most of its words, he can’t possibly agree that the Israelis started with monotheism then back slid to practice other religions. For some reason he and other scholars just have to say the bible is wrong.
#5. Canaanite standing stones in Israeli sites…Bible is not a good source to find Israeli religion…the Bible is an idealistic view and is a critique of a folk religion not the religion of the people…religion in the book not how people lived their religious lives.
I will go with the last comment first. Of course, the Bible does not reflect how the people lived their religious lives because the Bible is the guide and people have free choice. Just like today, people choose to follow the Bible or not and their lives most likely will not match up with God’s teaching. We cannot expect much different from the ancient world especially since we know that they strayed from following God and were punished for it.
The Bible is Israel’s religion just as it is the Christian religion. It provides instruction, revelation and much more yet if people choose not to abide by it then there is little the Bible can do about it. If people ignore the warnings of history, the prophets, the pastors etc., then they will live as they please and we see that today with all the alternative believers out there in the modern church. The unrealistic approach to the Bible not only leads people like Dr. Dever to the wrong conclusions but demonstrates to us how deceived ‘the experts’ are.
#6. Female figurines not mentioned in the Bible
There are lots of things not mentioned in the Bible but that doesn’t make them cultic artifacts or sinful. We might as well give up air travel since planes are not mentioned in the Bible. The thing that bothers me about archaeologists identifying small figurines, human, animal or whatever, as religious icons is that they do it to ALL figurines and there is no way to say that all of them are religious in nature or reflect a fertility desire. That is like saying that all the figurines your mother ha son her knickknacks shelves means she is wishing for more children and that is just not so (or even possible in most cases).
It means that the figurines are cute and that woman wanted to decorate their homes with them but archaeologists distort what they find for whatever agenda they may have.It boggles the mind how irrational and illogical, as well as unrealistic, supposedly educated men and women get when they look at something from Israel’s past. Don’t get me started on his idea of what the silver scrolls represent. It is such an imaginary theory that it should not be held by someone with Dr. Dever’s credentials.
#7. Ruth is fictional
The arrogance and pompous attitude archaeologists have about the Bible and Israel and someone once said, if the archaeologists and scholars are correct then that means that Israel is the only nation in history incapable of writing its own history. That is the view modern archaeologists and scholars have taken. They think Israel needs help in documenting its past simply because they do not like the one that was written.
I didn’t count but Dr. Dever says that the biblical writers embellished, exaggerated and borrowed their stories over and over throughout the lectures. He doesn’t say how they could get away with that nor doe she present any ancient texts that provide a truthful and verifiable alternative to support that point, he just uses his interpretation of the incomplete data brought to him by archaeology.
#8. The temple was no place for the common people…Only for the king and elites,…Most people had never been to the temple and if they did go they would not be allowed in
That is just pure archaeological conjecture and has no foundation in reality as well as ignoring biblical texts that say otherwise. Dr. Dever and others complain that the Bible doesn’t present a factual account of the past but they are being dishonest in their analysis of their own research for they ignore the Bible whenever it shows them to be in error. Not to mention they just arbitrarily toss out any passage they do not like. It is hard to find the truth when so many unbelievers just dismiss the Bible and lend it zero credibility.
Their appeal to archaeology is just an escape route because they know the limitations of that field and that most of the past is gone, buried, destroyed or whatever, Archaeology is a convenience for them, helping unbelievers to avoid the truth.
Dr. Dever in his book, Did God Have A Wife?, stated that what the biblical writers wrote was propaganda but the truth is, that is what Dr. Dever is spreading in his lectures and written materials. He has no evidence to support his claims and manipulates archaeology to fit his ideas instead of being honest and letting the Bible change his views with the truth. He has no reason to say that the 600 laws found in the Mosaic writings are unrealistic yet he condemns them as such.
Can archaeology illuminate the Bible? It depends upon who is wielding the information found in archaeology. If it is people like Dr. Dever then no it can’t for we are not getting the information unedited from archaeology, we are merely getting the edited views and opinions of unbelievers who have a bias and an anti-bible agenda. Dr. Dever may say that archaeology is unedited but that can only apply to the artifacts and other remains before they are analyzed by scholars and archaeologists.
After that we are getting the biased and bad interpretations of people who are deceived and do not want the truth. If the people who are handling the information from archaeology are following the HS to the truth then yes archaeology will help us understand certain events or actions carried out by biblical people. It all depends thus we need to use discernment when listening to ‘experts’ and place them under God’s criteria to see if we should listen to their words or not.