One of the grandest facts about the ongoing findings of archaeology is that it never fails to produce unique and interesting finds that open up new proofs for conclusions previously unknown. One such find was the law code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was the sixth king in the Babylonian dynasty and ruled from approximately 1792 to 1750 B.C. He was a great military leader, enlarging Babylon from a small city-state into a vast world empire, covering all the land from the Tigris to the Euphrates. However, Hammurabi is best known for his extensive list of law codes. Scholars date the code c. 1780 B.C. The stele on which the code was written was discovered by an Egyptologist named Gustav Jequier in 1901. The find was located in modern-day Iran, near the ancient Babylonian city of Susa.
The law code consists of an introduction stating that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods to record the code, followed by 282 statements of law, and concluded with an epilogue. What is unique about this code is that unlike other ancient findings, it is completely intact.
Continue reading » The Law Code of Hammurabi
Although it might be tempting to read the accounts in the Bible as “stories” with about as much historicity as a myth or fable, Luke’s reliability as an historian is unquestionable. Biblical archaeologist Merrill Unger says that archaeology has authenticated the gospel accounts, especially Luke. In Unger’s words, “The Acts of the Apostles is now generally agreed in scholarly circles to be the work of Luke, to belong to the first century and to involve the labors of a careful historian who was substantially accurate in his use of sources.”
His mention of matters such as the census (Luke 2:1-3), Lysanias as a tetrarch (Luke 3:1), Lystra and Derbe being cities of Lycaonia (Acts 14:6) all show his intimate knowledge of first century life.
Furthermore, his usage of terms such as “deputy” (Acts 13:7, 12; 18:12), “part” (Acts 16:12),“rulers” (Acts 17:6) and “chief man” (Acts 28:7) have confounded scholars but he has always be proven to be right.
Continue reading » The Incredible Accuracy of Luke
If you were to go to any major university to study the Bible, you would probably be told that historical events in the Bible are to be treated as myths, legends, and folklore. We need to have confidence in the Bible. Archaeology can help with that confidence.
The word archaeology is composed of two Greek words: Archaios, meaning “old” or “ancient”; and Logos, signifying “word, treatise or study.” A literal definition is “the study of antiquity.” It is the science which deduces a knowledge of past times from the study of existing remains. The earliest known archaeologist was Nabonidus, king of Babylon, who, in the sixth century B.C., excavated a temple floor down to a foundation stone laid 3,200 years before. Modern archaeology began with Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt (1798), when one of his officers discovered the Rosetta Stone, whose identical inscription in three languages unlocked the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphs and opened the history of Egypt. Later a British officer named Henry Rawlinson found a trilingual inscription at Behistun, Persia, that unlocked the mysteries of cuneiform. Since 1948, archaeology has been concerned with the scientific study of the actual culture of people in the Bible.
Continue reading » What Good Is Archaeology?
On the cover of the December 18, 1995 issue of Time magazine is an artist’s rendition of Moses about to break the tablets of stone on which God had written the ten commandments. In bold letters is the question: Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? Under this eye-catching headline, we are informed that “Archaeologists in the Holy Land are shedding new light on what did – and didn’t – occur in the greatest stories ever told”. The article which underlies this cover has some interesting information, but also some inconsistencies and misleading statements. I am not in the business of criticizing journalists or their work, so I do not intend to pick out all of the various problems in the piece, nor indeed would there be space to do so in this paper. However, the assertions made regarding the fall of Jericho are particularly interesting, and also perhaps most damaging to anyone seeking the truth. We would do well, therefore, to examine these a little more closely. Continue reading » Evidences of Faith: The Walls of Jericho