Archaeology And…The Exodus

25 May

We have discussed the limitations of archaeology in previous installments but those limitations really rear their head when anyone discusses the Exodus.  Part of the limitations is found in identification of remains. If the archaeologist doesn’t accept the biblical account or they do not read the details of the account thoroughly then they will identify any remains they find erroneously (for the most part) Because the Israelites were slaves, it must be realized that they had NO material culture to leave behind in Egypt to identify their presence and what era they resided in that country.

If you come across a building or tomb, everything about it is Egyptian so how will you identify the Israeli people? Then for the Exodus itself, most of the events were supernatural and everyone knows that the supernatural cannot be examined by science. But that isn’t the vital aspect that shows that archaeology can’t be an authority on biblical events.  The Bible is quite clear that the Hebrews were given Egyptian artifacts, precious metals and clothes and so on. Just about everything they had were Egyptian. Even if they designed their own clothes, how would we know? They would be found in Egyptian territory and mistaken for Egyptian creativity and material culture.

Even on their journey, the possessions the Israelites left behind were Egyptian not Israeli, even for their burial rites. The tombs would contain Egyptian artifacts clothing and possibly the burial itself was influenced by the Egyptian culture. This means that if Hebrew was written in any of the tombs, they would be received with some scepticism and possibly credited to some other Semitic speaking nation and not the passing Israelites. Because the archaeologist has no known Israeli material culture previous to their captivity to compare any discoveries with to truly identify what they have found, they will make a great many mistakes in their identification of what they found and what time period those remains belonged.

What this means to the believer is that they cannot rely upon archaeology to bring them the correct information they need to build up their faith. The field is just to limited and vulnerable to errors because there is no foolproof way to garner all the data needed to draw conclusions about the past. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience and education an archaeologist has, those facets of their expertise will not overcome these limitations nor can they correct those mistakes because so much information is lost to time.

The validity of the Bible does not rest upon what archaeology determines. Archaeology has too many vulnerabilities to trump God and the Bible.

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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in academics, archaeology, Bible, church, education, faith, history, leadership


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