Friday, July 13, 2012

Biblical Archaeology News 2012

A 1st Century Fragment of Mark's Gospel?:

Up to this point, we have no Gospel manuscripts dating from the 1st century. Liberal scholars assert that the Gospels we have were produced centuries later than what the Chuch has always maintained. And these Gospels, liberals charge, were rewritten to advance the theological agenda of one faction within the Church after it expelled its opponents from its ranks. If a Gospel, or a fragment of a Gospel from the 1st century was discovered, this would be a major refutation of the liberal position. It has been announced that such a discovery may be announced next year. Here are the details from a transcript of the Hugh Hewitt interview with Dr. Dan Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary (HT: Larry Hurtato's blog) : . Here is a cautionary comment from Dr. Hurtato's blog (HT: Ben Witherington's blog):

Ancient Bethlehem And The Mattanyahu Seal

From the Archaeological Daily: An ancient seal has been discovered proving the existence of Bethlehem as a city in the Kingdom of Judah from between 1006 and 586 B.C. This is the first physical evidence of Bethlehem as an ancient city from that time period outside the Bible.

From Dr. Claude Mariottini's blog: A seal was excavated bearing the name of Mattanyahu. This seal could have belonged to one of ten such characters bearing this name mentioned in the Old Testament. See here.

Jesus' Tomb Discovered?:

The Discovery Channel ran an Easter Special claiming that archaeologists have discovered the tomb of Jesus. Ben Witherington effectively debunks this assertion: . Here is another refutation by Dr. Craig Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College of Acadia University . Larry Hurtato provides links to analyses written more for scholars than for the general public:

The James Ossuary:

An Israeli antiquities dealer has been found not-guilty of forgery by an Israeli judge in the case of the James Ossuary. The James Ossuary is purported to be the burial box of the bones of James, the brother of Jesus. The dealer was also aquitted of charges of forging an inscription concerning the Temple in Ancient Jerusalem. Here is background information from Claude Mariottini's blog. Unfortunately, the judge in this case may rule that the Ossuary be destroyed (from Ben Witherington).