"Biblical History" Article Items

The “Lost” Gospels

Bible Image

Posted on May 17, 2020 by

Categories: Historical, Textual

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Television documentaries about Bible history often are aired during the major Christian holidays, especially during Easter.  These documentaries invariably include a spacial concerning the “lost” gospels.  These books are also known as apocryphal gospels from the Greek meaning “hidden book.” These “hidden” gospels purport to have been written by eyewitnesses to Christ’s ministry such as Peter, Judas, or Thomas – but they tell a story that is very different than the gospels included in Scripture.  These differences are not minor, but so substantial that they are “shocking” making them a frequent topic of discussion on popular outlets such as the History… Read More »

Age of Old Testament

Recent archaeological discoveries show the ancient Hebrews had high rates of literacy and writing ability.

Posted on May 14, 2020 by

Categories: Archaeology, Historical

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The age of the Old Testament has been a point of controversy between those who believe in the literal truth of the Old Testament versus secular scholars who believe it to be a relatively new invention. A study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests the Hebrew Bible is older than most have previously believed.  The study was performed at the Tel Aviv University in Israel who analyzed multi-spectral images of sixteen ancient Hebrew inscriptions. The letters are written in ink of broken pottery shards (ostraca) using a proprietary software program specially designed for this purpose.  The… Read More »

The Gospel Authors

Bible Image

Posted on May 5, 2020 by

Categories: Historical

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The identity of the gospel authors has been a topic of intense scrutiny for many years.  It would seem to be an open question as there is no eye-witness account to verify who wrote these important documents.  Liberal apologists argue they were likely not written by their namesake but instead were gradually authored over years or even decades by well-meaning early Christian scribes. The early “church fathers” provide interesting testimony as to the actual authors of these documents.  Some of them lived within a few short decades of the apostles themselves and some were personally acquainted with an apostle. They… Read More »

Jezebel’s Hometown

Posted on May 5, 2020 by

Categories: Archaeology, Historical

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The Biblical Archaeology Society wrote a nice piece concerning Jezebel’s hometown – the infamous Queen who led Israel into idolatry but later was eaten by dogs. Sidon Sidon was an influential ancient Phoenician city along the Mediterranean Sea now located in modern-day Lebanon.  Some of the latest archaeological discoveries concern the polytheistic religion and worship practice of the ancient Sidonians.  This is relevant to Biblical history as Jezebel was from this area. The ancient Sidonians were Canaanites who shared much of their religion and customs with other Canaanites south of them.  The Phoenicians were Canaanites who were not pushed aside… Read More »

Moabite Stone Altar

Close inspection of writing on ancient ceramic shards demonstrate very ancient writing.

Posted on April 30, 2020 by

Categories: Archaeology, Historical

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The recently discovered Moabite stone altar attests to the historicity of an ancient Jewish conflict between Israel and the Biblical Kingdom of Moab. The Kingdom of Moab Moab was a country near ancient Israel founded by the descendants of Lot, the nephew of Abraham.  The Bible notes this country was frequently in conflict with Israel. This historical conflict started when the country impeded the crossing over into the Promised Land from the desert.  As a consequence, they were excluded from joining the Jewish nation for ten generations. The Book of Ruth in the Old Testament is story of a Moabite… Read More »

Why Christ was Crucified

The resurrection of Christ is the central feature of Christianity.

Posted on April 23, 2020 by

Categories: Historical, Philosophical, Resurrection

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Precisely why Christ was crucified is a question posed by curious Christians throughout the centuries. There is no real doubt the crucifixion occurred – it is one of the best-documented events in ancient history.  The Scriptures, as well as extra-Biblical history, support the historicity of Christ’s crucifixion.  Ancient Greco-Roman sources such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Lucian of Samosata confirm that Christ was crucified. The reason why Christ was crucified is not as obvious to modern Christians who have only marginal knowledge of the Old Testament.  As Bart Ehrman, an agnostic, notes, [If] Jesus had simply been a great moral teacher,… Read More »

Sign of Jonah

The giant fish which swallowed Jonah may have been a whale.

Posted on April 18, 2020 by

Categories: Historical, Philosophical, Resurrection

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The Sign of Jonah Christians are very familiar with the story of Jonah in the Old Testament.  The Reader’s Digest version is that Jonah was a Jewish prophet who was called to go to the capital city of the Assyrian empire – Nineveh.  The Assyrians were particularly troublesome of the northern ten tribes of Israel due to repeated military conflicts.  Eventually, the Assyrians would conquer the ten tribes them away into slavery and captivity.  Jonah was to preach repentance to these people with the understanding they could then repent and avoid God’s judgment. The problem was that Jonah was not… Read More »

Historicity of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Christ is the central feature of Christianity.

Posted on April 15, 2020 by

Categories: Historical, Philosophical, Resurrection

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The historicity of the resurrection has been debated for many years.  The “minimal facts argument was developed by Gary Habermas for his Ph.D. dissertation to evaluate the possibility that the resurrection was an actual historical event and not just a nice story invented by an ancient culture. While secular scholars might disagree as to whether Christ rose from the dead in bodily form and revealed himself to multitudes of people, they do agree on several facts concerning the event.  These critical scholars can be liberal Christians, agnostic, or even atheist in their religious views as long as they are specialists… Read More »

The Upper Room

Jerusalem

Posted on April 8, 2020 by

Categories: Archaeology, Historical

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The Upper Room is one of the most venerated places in Jerusalem.  It is a site featured in the New Testament Gospels as the place where Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, and where he later appeared to them after the Resurrection.  It is also the place where the first believers gathered together to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit. The  Biblical Archaeology Society has an excellent article showing possible ancient renderings of the Upper Room in various churches throughout the ancient world.  This article has these renderings in order for the readers to make their own… Read More »

The Ancient Canaanites

Archaeology sites validate the Biblical narrative.

Posted on March 29, 2020 by

Categories: Archaeology, Historical

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The ancient Canaanites are an ancient population that inhabited the Promised Land when the Hebrews escaped from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Ancient texts show the Canaanites lived in the “land of Canaan” which may have included portions of modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Much of what we know about the Canaanites comes from the records of other population groups. Some of the most detailed information comes from the ancient Egyptian site of Armana, with additional information coming from modern excavations of Canaanite sites. Archaeology scholars believe the Canaanites represented a diverse group of people… Read More »