The Bible as History
The question of whether the Holy Bible is an actual historical account of what happened since the beginning of humanity, or merely stories that man has come up with over time has long been considered. Many choose to believe the Bible literally and take everything word for word. Others believe the stories in the Bible are a way of showing God's love for us, but think of them as stories and lessons on how to follow the "way of God." Others think the stories in the Bible are false, and have no basis in truth at all. Some people want to have a clear picture of what early Palestine was like without ever having reference to the Bible, and "this may be an equally one-sided approach as using the Bible [as] complete factual history" (Porter 16). More and more archaeological digs are uncovering tangible evidence that some of the stories in the Bible actually do have a factual basis. Most people are still undecided, as there hasn't been much evidence found supporting that either side of the argument has a strong lead over the other. "Previous generations of scholars often linked archaeology very directly with the Bible: they spoke of Biblical Archaeology' and saw it as a means of establishing the credibility of the Scripture" (Porter 16). The Bible is a historical account, in some areas, because there is proof. In other aspects, however, the Bible may turn out to be just stories.
Archaeologists undergo many excavations in the Palestinian area, because this is where most of the stories in the Bible took place. Many books and inscriptions have been uncovered providing information on events and people both Israelite and Non-Israelite alike (Porter 16). Several buildings, pottery, tools, and weapons have revealed what the daily life of the Palestinians may have been like. Archaeology has also confirmed many of the sites referred to in the Bible (Porter 17). Even though there have been various excavations of possessions of the Israelites, most of these are not from the setting of early Israel. Most civilizations have records of how they developed, and in this case, the Hebrew Bible is the only account of the Israelite civilization (Porter 17).
In addition to the remains of ancient civilizations, the digs have earthed agricultural information and the layout of towns (Porter 17). "Sometimes findings will directly illuminate the Biblical text" (Porter 18). One example of a "historical correlation with the Bible," was the discovery of a weight labeled "pim" which has helped scholars understand 1 Samuel 13:21 which is the only verse in the Bible containing the term. They concluded that "pim" was a size of weight probably used as a method of payment.
Another artifact from this region are carved ivories dating back to 800 B.C. found at the royal palace of Sumaria, the capital of the north king of Israel. In a passage from 1 Kings 22:39 there is a reference to the "ivory house" of King Ahab (Porter 18). Discoveries have also been made at a "popular site of Israeli religion" and there have been excavations of the only known temple and "cult objects" from the era of David and Solomon (Porter 19).
Another find by archaeologists is a painting of a half nude female figure with the inscription "Yahweh or Samaria and his Asherah." This was excavated from the eighth century site of Kuntillet Arjud. The significance of the painting is still undecided. It may reflect the continuing worship in Israel of Asherah, the great Canaanite mother goddess. This would have been in spite of the official state religion which recognized Yahweh as the one and only God (Porter 20).
Through all of these uncovered artifacts from the Israelite nation, many of the names, places, and events that are named in the Bible are proved. The Bible may not just be a person's stories, but an actual historical account of the history of the world. There are many huge gaps in the stories that still have nothing backing...
Cited: Porter, J.R. The Illustrated Guide to the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press,
Sheler, Jeffrey L. "Is the Bible True?" US News and World Report. 25 Oct. ‘99: 50-9
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