David, Goliath And Tabloid Archaelogy

One day a friend sent me an invitation to a church meeting and asked me if I knew anything about the subject. On the flyer was a picture of a human skeleton with crooked teeth and a rock embedded in his forehead. The title above the skull read: “They’ve Found Goliath’s Skull!” Needless to say, that caught my attention. I read with great interest what was written on the flyer. It reported: “Diggers in Israel believe they’ve made a giant discovery. For they’re convinced they

The Rediscovery of the So-Called Jesus Family Tomb in Jerusalem

On Monday morning, February 26, 2007, I heard the opening statement by Matt Lauer on the NBC Today’s Show. It was: “Is this the tomb of Jesus? A shocking new claim that an ancient burial place may have housed the bones of Christ and a son. This morning a Today exclusive that could rock Christianity to its core.” When I saw the interview with James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici I said to myself, “This isn’t new. It is a rehashing of the 1996 ‘Easter special’ by the BBC!”

The segment on the Today’s Show was an infomercial promoting the new book by Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino, entitled The Jesus Family Tomb (hereafter footnoted as J&P 2007), and the documentary that would be aired later on the Discovery Channel called “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.” The book is well written, very dramatic and reads like a page turning detective novel.

I said in the title of this article, the “rediscovery” of the so-called tomb of Jesus’ family because in 1996, the BBC ran an Easter special called “Heart of the Matter: The Body In Question” on the resurrection of Jesus. In this documentary they claimed that the ossuaries of Joseph, Mary and Jesus were found in 1980 and were sitting in the basement of the Department of Antiquities in Jerusalem. The London Sunday Times ran an article on March 31, 1996, entitled, “The Tomb that Dare Not Speak Its Name.” Jacobovici acknowledges this BBC broadcast in their book (J&P 2007: 23, 24), and hints at his knowledge of the title of the newspaper article (2007:194). Now he claims to have more information that was not available in 1996 to prove his case and has a different interpretation of some of the ossuaries.

Remember, Archaeology is NOT a Treasure Hunt!

Introduction The headline of the Science Section of the New York Times for Tuesday, September 28, 2004 read, “Solving a Riddle Written in Silver.” I recognized the picture underneath the headline right away. It was a portion of a silver amulet that was discovered in Jerusalem in 1979. The article described the scholarly debate concerning the date assigned to the amulets by the excavator and his team in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. They...

Archaeology, Assyrian Reliefs and the Psalms of the Sons of Korah

Introduction The Psalms of the Sons of Korah, like the other psalms, express the inner most feelings of the psalmists as they experience real life events. Psalms 42-49 and 84-89 reflect the end of the eighth century BC when the Assyrians afflicted the Kingdom of Judah. This article will briefly look at these psalms from a literary perspective and then place them in their historical context at the end of the eighth century BC. Some archaeological material that has been excavated in the Lan...

“At Home In Death”: --An Archaeological Exposition of Psalm 49:11

Death is a subject that intrigues and frightens. Death is discussed, debated, covered-up and ignored. I remember visiting the Egyptian wing of the Brooklyn Museum several years ago. In one of the far back rooms a mummy was on display. While I was looking at other objects in the room, a group of senior citizens entered. The elderly guide never talked about, nor did the people in the group look at, the mummy. They were deathly afraid of that object (no pun intended). After they left, a group o...

Nahum, Nineveh And Those Nasty Assyrians

[Disclaimer: If there are any similarities in this discussion between Ashurbanipal II and his Assyrian troops and Saddam Hussein and the Republican guards, it is purely coincidental. Having said that, it is my position Saddam Hussein is not discussed in the Book of Nahum, nor are automobiles on the LA Freeway (cf. Nahum 2:3)!] If I mentioned the city Nineveh, what would come to your mind? Most likely you would say Jonah. We’ve all heard the story about Jonah being swallowed by the great...

Is Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia

Two treasure hunters stood on the top of Jebel al-Lawz thinking it was the real Mt. Sinai, the "Mountain of God". One was struck with fear because he thought he was trespassing on the "holiest place on earth". As he gulped down Gatorade and munched on M & M's, a sense of guilt overcame him because he had forged a letter from the king of Saudi Arabia in order to obtain a visa into the Kingdom (Cornuke and Halbrook 2000: 10, 11, 74, 77, 79; Blum 1998: 206). Should he have felt guilty for this deceit? Yes, what he did was illegal, and offended the honor of the Saudi Arabian people. Should he have been afraid because he was on the holy mountain of God (Ex. 19:12)? No, because he was standing on the wrong mountain. MT. SINAI IS NOT IN SAUDI ARABIA!

This article will examine four aspects of the question regarding whether or not Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia. First, the credibility of the claims will be questioned. Second, the false assumptions by the proponents of Jebel al-Lawz will be disputed. Third, the Biblical evidence will be discussed. Fourth, the archaeological evidence will be examined.

Mount Sinai was the destination of Moses and the Children of Israel after the Lord miraculously delivered them from the bondage of Egypt (Ex. 18:5). It was from this mountain that the Lord also gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the people of Israel (Ex. 19:1-3, 11,18; 20:1-17). Here, too, the prophet Elijah found himself after his escape from wicked Queen Jezebel (I Kings 19).

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