Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains, especially those that have been excavated. (Dictionary, Archaeology) Archaeology is used throughout history and in many ways. Biblical Archaeology is a field of study that combines the study or reading of the Bible, a book of God and Archaeology. Biblical Archaeology allows individuals to explore the Holy Land, former and recent inhabitants, provides historical evidence or proof of God, and helps decipher what the Bible provides for the individuals personal learnings and the teachings of God.
The Holy Land, which refers to today’s Israel, continues to become flourished with many archaeological finds, which allows each interested individual to understand the environment and land of Jesus. Archaeology allows individuals to explore the land without even going there physically. By exploring through the artifacts found on an archaeological dig or excavation, one can find more information on the environment that surrounds the Bible. It is highly possible for individuals to gather more information on the habitat and its inhabitants of The Holy Land just through archaeology. Items like walls, homes, and many other different parts of buildings are usually excavated.
Along with smaller objects such as coins, pots, scrolls, fragments of scriptures, utensils, and other smaller objects are excavated as well and kept as antiquities or artifacts. Such antiques and evidence are crucial to the history of the Bible because they allow individuals to see a previous ruler at the time, or the deities that were worshiped. They allow individuals to see how life was thousands of years ago and the role each former inhabitants had in their family, society, and even the country as a whole. This creates a setting for the Biblical events that occurred and allows the reader or individuals to fully appreciate the significance. Archaeology can also allow the individual to gain better knowledge of the lifestyle of the people living there and the impact that God had on their lives and their way of their life.
Archaeological discoveries can also add a bit of reality to the Bible because of the actual places to visit, like The Holy Land itself, or the city of Bethlehem. This provides authentication of the history of the Bible and the events that occurred within the Bible. For example, mentioned in the New Testament, Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue (Mark 1:21) in Capernaum, and after excavations happened, they had discovered the first century synagogue where it is said that Jesus had taught. (Capernaum Synagogue, Bible History Online) Biblical Archaeology allows individuals to witness the greatness of the Holy Land and experience the life of the followers of Jesus and silenced those who dismiss the book of God as mythological.
Archaeological finds also allows individuals to explore the physical proof of this time. Throughout the many years, there have been many discoveries through archaeology. One of the discoveries that are very well known are the Dead Sea Scrolls. Between the time of December 1946 and January 1947, three Bedouin shepherds discovered seven scrolls throughout the Qumran Cave in the Judean along the Dead Sea. Over the next few years the excavation and rediscovery of what is now known as “Cave 1” continued, and later on full excavations of the rest of the Caves. With every biblical archaeological discovery, there is much debate that arises and many scholars challenging each theory.
There are many ongoing questions about the scrolls, who wrote them? How did they come about? With these questions, there are many answers. Many people believe that the people of Essenes wrote the scrolls and hide them away during wartime. Another belief is that the Jewish inhabitants had written the scrolls. Some scholars even believe that both groups of people wrote them and passed them along from generation to generation. These scrolls are now currently under the ownership of the Government of the state of Israel, and housed in the Shrine of the Bookon the grounds of the Israel Museum. Another great example of archaeological proof is the Tel Dan Inscription. Which is a fragment of inscriptions with evidence of King David from the Bible, which was discovered in 1933 at the site of the Tel Dan. Again with all great discoveries, there are the skeptics calling the discovery implausible.
One thing throughout the excavations and discoveries of many more biblical evidence, are that the rules and regulations stay the same. Archaeological digs must be done with respect for surroundings, individuals, and to the ancestors, and current inhabitants. There should always be a motive for the excavation or collection of antiquities and research questions must be developed as well to insure a purpose for the excavation. There should be documentation and recordings of what is found or collected to avoid fraud or damage. These excavations should never be for selfish reasons, for example, can be shown in the case of James’ Ossuary. The researcher must obey and follow the rules of the local community, state, and country.
Biblical Archaeology allows each follower to understand the teachings of the bible in a more personal way. It can also allow for better interpretation of the Bible’s teachings, and passages. Archaeology allows us as readers and followers to have a better understanding of the words and uses of utilities in the day-to-day life, many years ago. Biblical Archaeology allows individuals to decipher the strange writing and relate them back to events that had occurred within the Bible. This can further the faith and support of a follower of the teachings of the Bible. The individual is now able to have a foundation to what they are learning and trying to understand, and provides them with the knowledge to connect the dots of the physical proof or evidence within the artifacts and antiquities to Jesus and his teachings and God’s teachings within the Bible itself.
It provides the archaeologist the satisfaction and excitement of finding or discovering a fragment or item with inscriptions from thousands of years ago mentioning scriptures you read and proving events that happened or describing the environment and habitat around the event occurred. The field of Biblical Archaeology provides students, adults, and individuals a different style and way of learning about historical events. It produces a way of imaginative discovery for one to explore the land and relate back to the life of the inhabitants of modern day Israel without physically being there to see or feel it. Biblical Archaeology allows individuals to gather information and allows themselves to go deep into the history of the Bible and the lifestyle of its followers. It provides a different way of learning and exploring the Holy Land and provides its followers with a foundation for their beliefs and faith in God.
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