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Category Archives: archaeology

What is in a Date

We are not talking about the fruit. We are talking about a scientific dating system that enjoys producing unrealistic dates for human history

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/nov/07/worlds-oldest-figurative-painting-discovered-in-borneo-cave

A patchy, weathered painting of a beast daubed on the wall of a limestone cave in Borneo may be the oldest known example of figurative rock art, say researchers who dated the work.

Faded and fractured, the reddish-orange image depicts a plump but slender-legged animal, probably a species of wild cattle that still lives on the island, or simply dinner in the eyes of the artist, if one streak of ochre that resembles a spear protruding from its flank is any guide.

The animal is one of a trio of large creatures that adorn a wall in the Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave in the East Kalimantan province of Indonesian Borneo. The region’s rock art, which amounts to thousands of paintings in limestone caves, has been studied since 1994 when the images were first spotted by the French explorer Luc-Henri Fage.

The researchers come up with a 40,000 year date for the paintings using what is called uranium series analysis. If you want to know what that is just click the following link

https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/jres/122/jres.122.044.pdf

This dating system is just another way for secular scientists to justify their rejection of the truth. It is their way to say that creation did not take place 6 to 10,000 years ago. Scientists and other unbelievers claim that their dating systems are independent. But when you take a hard and close look at their dating systems you will see that they are all created by unbelievers using fallible deceived thinking which cannot verify one claim about the dating systems.

Since these dating systems all come from the same source, they are hardly independent and hardly free from error. Even calibration won’t help because the dating systems used to calibrate other dating systems also come from unbelieving sources. There is no independence found in any of the dating systems.

But there is room for doubt. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers concede that the crusts they analysed had formed on top of a heavily weathered part of the animal painting and that pigment analyses could not distinguish the underlying paint from that of a nearby mulberry-coloured hand stencil.

At least they are honest but that won’t help they case or their cause. Nothing in this solar system existed 40,000 years ago. If we give an honest look at the development of human civilization, let’s use America as an example, why would it take humans 40,000 years to develop, when America went from the stone age to the nuclear age in just over 300 years.

The reasoning is not logical and researchers have to totally dumb down humans to brute beasts to even get close to making any logical arguments about human development. If humans took so long to develop why then did the Minoan society have flush toilets, 2 and 3 floor apartments and homes, hot and cold running water and a lot more modern-day technological advances roughly 3,500 years ago? Why did the ancient societies discovered in India, Europe and other places have grid patterns for their cities, modern day type sewers and more, thousands of years before the current modern era?

Or why did the ancient Babylonians use time capsules, a social security system long before America was a hint in Britain’s eyes? No, evolutionary arguments do not make sense nor can they explain anything about human development. Archaeology alone interferes with their theories. As a side note, it is funny that an anthropologist will find a bone or two near the surface of the earth and declare it too be millions of years old based on the dirt surrounding the discovery.

But an archaeologist digging a mile or to away and goes down over 100 feet only gets dirt dating to a few thousand years ago. Sorry but tectonic plates or other similar theories, pushing up dirt is not a realistic explanation, especially when skeletons are found in pristine condition in that supposed million+ year old dirt. Evolutionary theories do not make sense and neither does the dating of that cave painting.

The work suggests that figurative art may have emerged in south-east Asia and Europe at about the same time,

No the work does not suggest that. The researchers are suggesting that. They have no way to verify that thinking nor do they have any means to determine where cave painting or figurative art originated or who taught who the concept. What they have is paintings done by someone who lived after the creation of the world that used cave walls to tell a story, describe a hunt, graffiti or numerous other explanations for the painting’s existence

Keep in mind that evolutionists also cannot verify one evolutionary claim they make. They cannot produce one piece of verifiable credible and legitimate evidence showing that humans and life developed the way they say it developed. Yet the Bible is dismissed even though not one scientific, archaeological or other research field discovery has yet to prove the Bible false.

We reject that date for the cave paintings and that dating system. They only have one piece of supposed evidence, the date they claim, to justify their conclusions. We have more evidence for Noah’s flood than that. All this does is make the cave painting dating a fairy tale. There is no corroborating evidence supporting the date or the claims made by the researchers. Especially from non-evolutionary sources.

If the supposed supporting evidence comes from evolutionists, then that does not make the new evidence independent. It is like-minded people trying desperately to support their unbelief in the Bible and shore up their nagging doubts that come with the evolutionary theory.

But he is cautious about the dating in the latest study. “Sadly, this work says more about academic competition and the scramble for early dates than it does the emergence of art,” he said. “I welcome the impressive discovery and documentation of a major early art region, but I have considerable reservations about the pertinence of the dated samples to the art beneath. It is not made clear that the oldest minimum ages are clearly and unambiguously related to the figurative art.”

We are not alone in our dissent but our view comes from the truth found in the bible and won’t change when evolutionists wave amagic wand and claim they have supporting evidence. Evolutionists are not promoting the truth, only demonstrating their foolishness by not believing the words of God.

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Stick to the Truth

In Walsh’s video published by The Daily Wire on YouTube last week, he argued that although he doesn’t “question the sincerity or the faithfulness of six-day Creationist folks,” he positioned that when the belief is preached, it can “inadvertently do some harm” and “put obstacles in the way, especially for non-believers.”

https://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-ham-hits-back-after-matt-walsh-claims-creationists-make-reaching-others-with-christianity-harder-228119/

When talking about the Bible it is best to stick to the truth. Paul told us that the unbeliever cannot do anything against the truth.  The truth does not do any harm to evangelism. Misrepresenting what the Bible says does the harm. If you tell the truth, the only person putting obstacles in the way of unbelievers converting is evil.

Faith and love means that you believe God. If God said he created in 6 24 hour days then our faith and our love have us siding with God over sinful man and his words.

If you state something about the Bible that the Bible does not say, then you are not stating what God said but what you want to believe. You are not evangelizing someone to God’s faith but your own version of it. You are communicating that God cannot even get his own act of creation correct. Who would want to believe in a God like that and who would want to adopt a faith where the adherents do not even believe their own God?

The truth is, God created in 6 24 hour days just like he said. There was no failure by God to communicate his creative act to his biblical writers and their was no altering the creative act because the biblical writers did not understand any alternatives. They wrote what God told them he did and since God cannot lie, there are no alternatives to the creation accounts found in Genesis.

The people who are doing harm and creating obstacles are those who adopt and promote alternatives to the truth.

 

Archaeology, the Bible and Children

We will look at a couple of short articles on archaeology, the Bible and children. Too often when modern peope read biblical accounts they tend to read their own views or modern culture into the different accounts referring to children. That is not the correct way to read anything about the Bible or the ancient past.

the first article- Did the Ancient Israelites Think Children Were People?- brings this research question. The author starts off with the following point

When the class session on the 10 plagues in Exodus came around, an interesting discussion ensued among the students about the plague of the firstborn and whether or not the Israelite deity was morally justified in killing Egyptian babies.

The key words are in bold. The biblical account says the firstborn. It does not say babies. That is the first mistake made by that author and her students. The firstborn could have been at any age. They could have been elderly, middle ages, young adults, teenagers and so on. The second mistake they make is to stand in judgment of God. Who are they to say if God is justified or not? Most of those people probably are still in their sins and think they know more than God does.

Why, we then have to ask, would the Israelites have imagined their deity Yahweh slaughtering children for sins the children themselves had not committed? If they thought children could be killed for the transgressions of others, did they even think children were persons with any type of rights?

Their assumption that those punished were babies leads that class and its instructor to the faulty conclusions stated in that quote. Most likely, God was punishing those children for the sins the Egyptian firstborn had committed in their lives and failed to repent of them. Were the children punished for the transgression sof others? That is hard to say as that teacher and class produced no evidence that was taking place. Of course, when plaques hit, both the innocent and guilty are affected.  That is a fact of life.

We are sure that the many victims of the Black Plague did nothing to warrant their demise from that disease. The last line of that quote shows the infusion of modern thinking into past records. Rights have nothing to do with a person’s identity as a human. The fact that they were born human gives them that identity not any so-called rights.

Rights are also not biblical and have no part in defining how the ancient Israelites thought of children.

What do I mean by “persons” exactly? A person, in my usage and that of many anthropologists, is a human being accorded status and recognition in their society. A person is an individual who is seen as having value—not economic value like a sheep or a llama, but social value, value in relationships with others.

None of those elements need rights to support them.  Also, you can see how far off the secular word is in its thinking. A human is a human whether they are given value, status, or not.

Personhood is an abstract concept. One might say it is too abstract to be useful. But discussions of personhood arise generally only in the most pressing situations—when we are discussing what we can do to human beings and their bodies.

Actually it is not. A human being is a person no matter how someone defines that term. Both identifications start at conception and continue thorugh life until the person dies.

And this narrative is not alone among texts in the Hebrew Bible in leading readers to call into question whether or not the Israelites saw children as persons. We even read in the storied 10 Commandments: “I, Yahweh, your god, am a jealous god, punishing children for the iniquity of parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” (Exodus 20:5 in English versification; Deuteronomy 5:9). Either the Israelites who wrote this did not see children as persons, or their conception of personhood was a collective one that allowed children to be punished for the sins of parents.

It is clear that the author does not understand what is being said in the Bible. Declaring that certain punishment will take place does not remove the identity of children. It is just telling people what will happen when they sin. Distorting scripture to make a thesis point or answer a research question is not an intelligent thing to do. It misrepresents the Bible and misleads people.

We could answer this question more easily if we could speak and interact with real Israelites. Since we can’t do this and since the Israelites revealed their views of personhood indirectly rather than through philosophical treatises on the subject, we are left having to read through the lines. At best, the Israelites held a view of personhood that allowed for collective punishment and saw children as low-level subordinates subject to the wishes and whims of parents—usually fathers. At worst, they were not seen as persons

This is the danger that comes when a person cherry picks verses to handle their discussion. it leaves out the myriad of biblical verses that show that the Israelites thought and treated children like real people. We skipped a section on child sacrifice as that is a topic for another day. They come to wrong conclusions about the people of the past. They only look for those verses that will support their thesis and not head for the truth.

We do not see philosophical treaties as direct sources. They also do not give us direct insights into the thinking of ancient people. But that comment does tell us a lot about the author and her bias. That bias undermines and ruins her point. There is more to that article to discuss but we want to move on to the second one. you can read the first one here: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/ancient-israel-children-personhood/?mqsc=E3998904&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDDaily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=ZE8AOVZ70

What Does the Bible Say About Children—and What Does Archaeology Say?

Unfortunately, children are underrepresented in the archaeological record and ancient texts, including the Bible. It is difficult to discern which artifacts belonged to children. In fact, the best context for identifying children’s artifacts is burials. When children and infants are buried with particular materials, we can infer that these materials were associated with children and were usually intended to assist them in the afterlife.

Burials do not say much about how a person thought. They may say something about the individual families or the regional culture but very little about the deceased, including children. it is impossible to say if the chid requested those items to be buried with them or if their parent sinluded them because they did not want their child to be alone or defenseless in the after life.

It is also misleading to say that children are underrepresented in ancient texts or the bible. Those are adult activities and adult written. They deal with, for the most part, adult things. The lack of children’s drawings, writings and other remains indicate that only the children’s parents took an active interest in what their children did. There is no reason for anyone to preserve children’s works outside of the family for posterity.

Legal documents are the best textual source for learning about the lives of ancient children; these include “wet-nurse contracts, adoptions, inheritance, debt-slave sales, and slave sales.” We have a large amount of ancient adoption records from the site of Nuzi in northeastern Iraq. For adopted boys, the major concern was inheritance; for adopted girls, it was marriage prospects.

Again, these show nothing much about the lives of children. They do show how the adults in their lives were governed. What is sad is that the article cherry picks what it will focus on when it comes to children. Again, this second article veers off topic towards child sacrifice. The article is weak as it ignores all the ancient children games and other artifacts archaeologists have uncovered over the decades.

If the author wants to focus on the lives of children, then it should actually focus on the lives of children. It should not talk about child sarifice as that is an adult decision,not a child’s one. We will address one point on child sacrifice:

Second, the discovery of infant cemeteries (called tophets) at Carthage and other Punic sites suggests that child sacrifice did occur in the ancient Near East. Not all scholars agree with this interpretation, but many think these tophets are proof of the practice.

What are the parents supposed to do when their child dies? Leave them to rot? Of course there will be child cemeteries but that does not mean child sacrifice was practiced. Modern scholars keep reading into the evidence what they want to see or they take the words of the enemies of a given people over rational thought.

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-world/what-does-the-bible-say-about-children/?mqsc=E3998904&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDDaily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=ZE8AOVZ70

 

Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls

We get a couple of newsletters from different archaeology organizations and the one we received today had the title of this article as its question. They also hade the following as a lead in:

Villa, fortress, pottery factory, caravanserai. Essene, Sadducee, Christian

The debate about who wrote the dead sea scrolls and what was Qumran probably will go on for a long time. That is until someone comes to their senses about Qumran and see that it could have been everything described in that lead in. It is quite possible that Qumran was fortified when the news of the approaching Roman legions finally reached the area.

It would be hard to tell when exactly that fortification took place. The buildings could have been a prison prior to the Essene occupation and fortified at that time. Then it could have been a pottery factory prior to the Essenes moving in, or the Essenes could have made pottery to support themselves. Archaeology can be a guessing game at times.

Where does the truth actually lie–if indeed any undisputed truth has even yet been established?

As we have studied Qumran and the Essenes, we have come to the conclusion that Qumran had a variety of uses including the Essene sanctuary. The presence of mikvahs helps support that last idea. The truth may not be found in this case as to many people look for a single answer. They dismiss the idea that the buildings existed for a long time prior to the Roman destruction and went through a variety of owners who used the space for their own purposes

The Essenes of Qumran were a community formed and guided by a party of Zadokite priests. In the latter half of the second century B.C., having lost hope of regaining their ancient authority in the theocracy of Jerusalem and under active persecution by a new house of reigning priests, they fled to the desert and, finding new hope in apocalyptic dreams, readied themselves for the imminent judgment when their enemies would be vanquished and they, God’s elect, would be given final victory in accordance with the predictions of the prophets.

We have an article written a while ago on the Essenes. We just forgot where we put it. We like the author but do not run into many of his published works so we have forgotten his name for now. We will try to look for it and put it up here if we can. In the meantime, it is a great article on who Jesus was talking about in those verses where he mentions the Pharisees, Sadducees and the scribes. The author made a very strong case that Jesus was refering to the Essenes when he used the word scribes.

Jesus wouldn’t have used the name Essenes as that was a name created many centuries after Jesus walked the earth. They may not have had an organizational name at that time. Since the Essenes had the reputation as being scribes, it would make sense that Jesus would use the term for scribes. If that author is correct, that would solve one biblical mystery.

Certainty was short-lived. By 1990, in Bible Review, Lawrence H. Schiffman was convinced that either the sect at Qumran was not Essene, but was Sadducean, or that the Essene movement must be totally redefined as having emerged out of Sadducean beginnings.

But archaeology being what it is, there will always be those people who do not accept the facts and continue to push for their ideas. The origins of the Essenes are shrouded in mystery. They could have taken in disgruntled former Sadducees, they could have been formed by the those men who quit that group. We don’t know for any credible documents talking about their origin either were never written or have never been uncovered. Religious groups start up almost every year and the Essenes could have come from anywhere.

They could also have  been started by men who were not part of any religious tradition but saw the need or heard a speaker they liked and decided to form their group. Again, we cannot be sure because documentation is missing.

Scholars used to think that the library was entirely the product of the inhabitants of Qumran. Instead, it can now be stated, this hoard of manuscripts includes material representing a variety of Jewish groups as well as polemics against other Jewish groups.

The scrolls could have been written or copied by the Essenes or they could have purchased them from a businessman who dealt in religious works. It is highly likely that they wrote the scrolls that pertained to their beliefs and the teacher of righteousness. The other scrolls could be their own work or… pick your theory. Again, archaeology can be a guessing game.

Because so little evidence refering to the Essenes remain, we may never know the complete truth. One thing is for sure, Robert Cargill’s, the new editor at BAR, theory that men smuggled the scrolls out through underground tunnels in pottery jars while the Romans had circled Jerusalem and were starting to enter the city, is unrealistic and void of any logical or rational proof. The scroll were placed in those caves long before the Romans cut the area off with their troops.

Sometimes we must be content with the mystery.

 

Not Quite

We are sure you have heard about this recent discovery

https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/historical-evidence-for-the-exodus-may-have-been-found.html

Historical Evidence for the Exodus May Have Been Found

Well we have read about it and our title is our opinion. There are several reasons for our not accepting this possibility. We go through the article mixing our reasons with comment son other tidbits we find inside the article.

Experts are currently analyzing ruins near the River Jordan as potential proof that the story of the Exodus, is more than a legend and indeed a historical fact.

Only unbelievers consider the Exodus a legend. if you gather what facts we have and look at them closely, you would see that there is enough evidence to prove the biblical account true.

According to U.K. Daily Express, a United Kingdom media outlet, archaeologists generally agree that the Israelites were natives of Canaan, which contradicts the account in the Biblical book of Exodus.

Yes there are some and maybe it is quite a large group. Yet, scholarly beliefs do not dictate history or historical events. Israel Finkelstein is one such archaeologist but he cannot provide any evidence to support that theory. What they have found is evidence for a large influx of people around the time of the Exodus. But archaeologists being who they are, do not accept the evidence.

Archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo have now found some evidence in the Jordan Valley site of Khirbet el-Mastarah, which they believe are remnants of ruins from a nomadic people who they believe to be the Hebrews coming from Egypt.

Archaeological belief also doesn’t prove an historical event either. This is one of our reasons why we reject their theory. The Israelites were not building any buildings during the Exodus. They were given marching orders and had to conquer the land first. Plus, the wandered continuously for 40 years. They did not stop to build anything. Then, they moved from the Exodus to the conquering stage and attack Jericho. No building was done.

We have not proved that these camps are from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible,” noted Ben-Shlomo.

This is leading into another reason why we reject their theory. It would be impossible to link those ruins to the ancient Israelites of the Exodus.

he Christian Post reports that the archaeologists found stone ruins and pottery fragments at the site and were able to preliminarily date them to a period of time between the Late Bronze Age (1400–1200 B.C.) and the Iron Age (1200–1000).

The dating is moot. It may give us a ballpark figure but the pottery may come after the conquest or from the people living in the area when the Israeites arrived. This is another reason we reject the theory. KA Kitchen wrote in his book On The Reliability of the OT that the Israelites were expecting to be in the promised land very soon after leaving Egypt. He said that it is highly doubtful that the Israelites took heavy pottery with them. Desert travel, whether for a short time or long time does not facilitate carrying heavy equipment or kitchen ware.

Especially when the Israelites could make more once they settled in the new land.

Within a range of just a couple of miles, we may be able to see the evolution of early Israel from a domestic-scale culture [at Khirbet el-Mastarah] to a political-scale culture [at Khirbet ‘Auja el-Foqa].”

No, not really. But nice try. There are just too many mitigating factors that come into play before that could be established. So  given the reasons above, we still say not quite. The archaeologists may have come close but they do not get a cigar. Those ruins and pottery do not tie into the Exodus.

 

Some Discoveries and News

#1. https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/2000-year-old-jerusalem-inscription/

2,000-Year-Old Jerusalem Inscription Bears City’s Name

For the first time, archaeologists have unearthed a Second Temple period stone inscription that spells the name Jerusalem as Yerushalayim (as it’s spelled in Hebrew today), rather than Yerushalem or Shalem. The inscription, dating to the first century B.C.E., reads:

Hananiah son of
Dudolos
of Jerusalem

The Jerusalem inscription, carved on a limestone column drum, was uncovered during excavations led by Danit Levy on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in Binyanei Ha’Uma, a massive convention center in Jerusalem. The IAA press release announcing the discovery describes the inscription as Aramaic but written with Hebrew letters.

Read the rest at the link

#2. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/currentevents.aspx

All of the following reports in this section come from the above link

A.Archaeologists Discover Tomb of Fifth Dynasty Egyptian Official

The tomb of a prominent official in the Egyptian Court of the Fifth Dynasty was discovered in Abusir, just north of the Saqqara region in Giza. Archaeologists unearthed a large limestone and mud brick tomb with the name of the owner and his titles engraved on the walls. The official named “Ka Ir Is” was known as the “Supervisor of the King’s affairs,” “Secret Keeper of the Morning House,” and “His Master’s Beloved.” A large pink granite statue of the tomb’s owner was also discovered which portrays him seated on a small chair inscribed with his name and titles, and wearing a wig. According to biblical chronology, the tomb itself predates Abraham’s visit to Egypt (Gn 12:10) by a several hundred years.

B.Mt. Zion Excavations Unearth First-Century Mansion and Ancient Road

Archaeologists digging at Mount Zion have uncovered the remains of a priestly mansion dating to the first century AD, as well as an adjacent structure that dates from the Hasmonean era (late first century BC). The rooms of the mansion were well-preserved with ceilings despite the fact that it had been destroyed when the Romans took Jerusalem in 70 AD. Another important find was the discovery of an ancient road dating to the Byzantine era, if not earlier. The paved street had a central drain and may be a continuation of the famous Cardo Maximus street which extended across Mt. Zion

C.Excavations at Abel Beth Maacah Reveal Cultic Shrines

Archaeologists excavating at Tel Abil el-Qameh, identified as the biblical city of Abel Beth Maacah, continue to uncover evidence of cultic activity at the site spanning several hundred years. One structure, dating to the Iron Age I, had two standing stones, benches and fragments of a bull figurine. A series of later buildings included a room with standing stones, an offering table, a cylindrical cultic stand and plastered basins. Another discovery dating to the ninth century BC was a jar on a round podium filled with astragaloi (knucklebones) which were often used in divination. The most recent discovery was yet another shrine with unmarked standing stones. Excavators have suggested this site may be associated with the “wise woman” of 2 Sam. 20:18-19, who they propose may have served in the role of an oracle.

D.Submerged Church Honoring Council of Nicea Discovered

Aerial photographs commissioned by the government of the Bursa Province in Turkey revealed the remarkable outline of a church submerged in Lake Iznik, near ancient Nicea. It is located in only 10 feet of water, about 160 feet from shore. Archaeologists believe the church may have been built on the site of the former Senate Palace, where the first Council of Nicea took place in 325 AD. Underwater excavations have revealed several graves dating to the fourth century underneath the basilica’s main wall which included coins dating to the reign of Emperor Valens (364-378 AD). There is evidence that an earlier pagan temple to Apollo might lie beneath the church.

E.Over 1000 Clay Seals Discovered in Central Israel

A huge cache of clay seal impressions (known as bullae) was found at the ancient Hellenistic city of Maresha, located in the Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park. Archaeologists recently discovered seven previously unknown rooms in the cave complex of Maresha, including one that had 1020 untouched clay seals lying on the floor amidst broken pottery. An initial study of 300 of the clay seals suggest they date primarily from the second century BC and may have been part of a private archive. The delicate, unfired bullae depict images of various gods, such as Apollo, Athena, and Aphrodite, as well as cornucopia, masks and animals. Only a few bore Greek letters and numbers, perhaps indicating dates; none of the seals in the initial survey had written inscription

F. Evidence of Aramean Destruction Unearthed at Biblical Gath

Archaeologists working at Tell es-Safi – biblical Gath – have released their first summary from the 2018 excavation season. This year they focused entirely on the lower city at the site, and unearthed significant evidence of the destruction by Hazael, King of Aram at Damascus in the ninth century BC. This confirms what is recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 12:17: “About this time Hazael king of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem.” The remains of the siege system built around the site have been discovered, as well as evidence of defensive actions taken by the residents of Gath in attempting to use soil from the garbage dump to fortify and buffer the inside of the city wall against the Aramean forces.

G. Ceramic Pomegranate Discovered at Biblical Shiloh

The Associates for Biblical Research has announced the discovery of a ceramic pomegranate during the 2018 excavation season at biblical Shiloh. Shiloh was the center of Israelite worship and site of the tabernacle for over 300 years. The 20 cm-long pomegranate was unearthed in situ, and still had four of the five prongs intact. Pomegranates were common motifs in the Israelites’ worship at the tabernacle, having adorned the hem of Aaron’s robe (Ex 28:34; 39:26), and later in the first temple (1 Ki 7:17, 42). This discovery confirms the biblical description of Shiloh as a temenos (a sacred, dedicated precinct) early in Israel’s history.

H. New Study Suggests Whales Were Once Native to the Mediterranean Sea

A study recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biology), suggests that whales once swam in the Mediterranean Sea. Researchers from the Université de Montpelier used DNA barcoding and collagen fingerprinting to identity a collection of ancient whale bones from Roman and pre-Roman archaeological sites near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results indicated that the bones belonged to two species of whales: right whales and grey whales. Given the proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar, the researches believe that the Mediterranean Sea was once a calving ground for these whales. Furthermore, they conclude: “The evidence that these two coastal and highly accessible species were present along the shores of the Roman Empire raises the hypothesis that they may have formed the basis of a forgotten whaling industry” some 2000 years ago. Biblical critics have questioned where a fish big enough to swallow Jonah in the Mediterranean Sea came from. While the Bible never calls the fish that swallowed Jonah a whale – it simply describes it as a “great fish” – the new study is evidence that whales were once native to the Mediterranean Sea

I. Another Stunning Roman-Era Mosaic Discovered in Lod

Excavators have unearthed another spectacular 1700-year-old mosaic in the ancient city of Lod (called Lydda in the New Testament). In 1996, the famous Lod Mosaic was discovered, and in 2014, another one was found in the courtyard of the same structure. At that time, the corner of a third mosaic could be seen, but it was under a parking lot. Now, four years later, that mosaic has been unearthed and is another stunning example of Roman-era workmanship. The house in which the mosaics have been unearthed is believed to have been a luxurious villa belonging to a wealthy Jewish merchant. Based on pottery and coins uncovered in the excavations, it appears the villa was in use from the first century AD to the late third or early fourth century AD. The new mosaic, like the others, depicts scenes of nature with animals and fish, but not people. Archaeologists hypothesize that this may be because of the Jewish belief in the divine prohibition against graven images.

There are plentyg links at that website to pursue each story if you want

 

 

The Lost Gospels

Our topic comes from the following link

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/christian-apocrypha-the-lost-gospels/

Christian Apocrypha: The “Lost Gospels”? Apocryphal texts and early Christianity

As you know, the term gospel means ‘good news’. Yet if something has been lost for 2 millennia, it certainly cannot be good news.It is bad news for if those recovered works were part of God’s word and instructions to us, billions of people would have died not having a chance to read them. God is a fair and just and has preserved his word throughout history. While every nation has not heard the word in each generation, that we know of, at least his word was available to all.

Which brings us to the topic of today. We will agree with the following quote:

Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria wrote in the fourth century C.E. that the Christian apocrypha—texts that refer to the life of Jesus and his followers that are not included in the New Testament—“are used to deceive the simple-minded.”

In the past 1800 years, there has been nothing to change that conclusion. These supposed lost gospels were lost for a reason- they were not the truth and not part of God’s inspired word. Yet that fact has not stopped some scholars from trying to promote these works and make them a part of Christianity. That is because they define Christianity so broad that cults and false religions are included in that category.

Gnosticism was not and is not a part of the Christian faith but to scholars, just because some Gnostic works included the word God, Jesus, the disciples an dother Christian words and content, these scholars have concluded they belong to the faith. Again, they are not correct in that assumption.

It was once believed that after the Church had determined the contents of the canon, all of these additional (noncanonical) texts were abandoned, hidden or destroyed

We do not know for sure if those false religious works were abandoned, hidden or destroyed. Just because the Nag Hammadi library was found in the dirt, does it mean such actions took place. Some may have been but with what we know of religious people, it is highly unlikely that these works failed to gain some sort of following or were kept unsold on the ancient bookshelves. As the Jehovah Witnesses’ prove, ancient cultic beliefs do not die out. They just find a new audience.

“Today scholars of the Christian apocrypha are challenging this view of the loss and rediscovery of apocryphal texts,” explains Burke. “It has become increasingly clear that the Christian apocrypha were composed and transmitted throughout Christian history, not just in antiquity.

Seems that some scholars agree with us, though we would not place their transmission or acceptance in the Christian history category. False beliefs do not die out when an era ends. If that were so Mormonism would have died out by the end of the 20th century, as would so many other false beliefs would.

Another modern “invention” has also aided in the scholarly understanding of the history of Christian apocrypha: archaeology. At Egyptian sites such as Oxyrhynchus and Akhmîm, archaeologists have unearthed texts or works that were previously known only from their mention by other ancient authors

We do not agree that the invention of the printing press sparked any flood of  new searches for ancient works. That idea just doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, archaeology has uncovered a host of ancient documents which would have sparked a very great interest in what the ancients had to say. BUT, this tool does not change the boundaries of what is Christian and what is not.

The bad identification of many ancient works by scholars and archaeologists have only served to confuse people, mislead them, and misrepresent Christianity. This is partially due to the fact that a majority of archaeologists and scholars have stopped believing in the Bible and God and seek their own ideas over the truth. They do not accept Peter’s or Paul’s warning that false teachers abound and have decided to make Christian what is not Christian.

It has become increasingly clear that Christianity began as a multitude of voices, each one declaring itself right and others wrong,” states Burke, who rejects the idea that these gospels were “lost” through intentional suppression by the “winning” tradition, the Roman Church

This is evidence for the above point. It is not clear that Christianity began as a multitude of voices. It began with only 1 voice– Jesus’. The other voices were like today. False ideas being passed off as truth in hopes of leading people to sin and destruction. We have no doubt that the ancient church soon filled up with many people calling themselves Christians but preaching a different gospel. Much like today, even the fundamental, evangelical and other true Christian churches are filled with these people.

It is not a multiple of voices leading to one voice. But one voice being distorted and changed into multiple voices for whatever reason they may have. One reason for this is that such people, like Joseph Smith, held a poor view of the people they were preaching to and saw them as a means to an end. Not as Christ saw them, people without a shepherd, needing the truth and good spiritual food.

Oh and the Roman Church was not the winning church. It was filled with the same type of people looking to get rich through religion. History has not been kind to those people who kept the faith and stayed away from the Roman church once it went astray from the truth. We must add that the Roman church of Paul’s and Peter’s time is not the same church as the one now known throughout history as the Roman Catholic Church. That denomination did not get started till about the 5th or 6th century AD.

All this leads Burke to conclude that the Christian apocrypha “were valued not only by ‘heretics’ who held views about Christ that differed from normative (or ‘orthodox’) Christianity, but also by writers within the church who did not hesitate to promote and even create apocryphal texts to serve their own interests.”

Here we have modern scholars trying to read long dead minds. If ancient writers in the church held those false works in high esteem, we would doubt their declaration that they were Christian. Of course, Burke does not differentiate between Christian and non-Christian so his general statement is quite misleading. The key words would be — “to serve their own interests”. That purpose would automatically disqualify those people from being in the Christian category unless they were just new or immature believers at the time.

A lot of the scholarly views concerning the ancient false texts we disagree with. We do not see many as forgeries. We see them as books that were more or less like historical fiction is today. Using the names and places of real people and cities while creating a fictional tale around it. Ben Hur, long thought of as a Christian movie, would probably fit this category.

When you look at what the scholars and archaeologists say about these texts, we have to consider the source. Are they believers? If they are, are they following Christ’s rules on academic and historical research or secular rules? Are they preaching a different gospel than what Jesus and the disciples taught?  Are the scholars lumping everything in the Christian category without reason to do so? Do they accept God’s boundaries on what is or isn’t Christian?

Are they bringing the good news or making the truth less divine and more earthly? There are more questions one can ask here. The thing is modern believers should not let themselves be tripped up when scholars and archaeologists use biblical or Christian terms. They have their own definitions, like cults, for those terms and because of their failure to follow God are far more inclusive than God is.

Christianity is defined by God and Christ, not by modern scholars or archaeologists. We must be discerning, as the Bible instructs, to avoid being swept away by false ideas disguised as Christian works. Th Bible as we have it today is the only work that is the gospel and Christian. Nothing has been lost or rediscovered since the biblical books were first penned.

 
 
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