An Archaeological Enigma

This little figurine, as reported by Yosef Garfinkel in the Fall 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeological Review, was found in Israel, dates from sometime around 900 B.C., and may represent the face of God, Yahweh. Or at least some god.

Let’s rewind back to the Ice Age and look at, oh, just one cave painting, supposedly produced by primitive cave men.

What the Lascaux Cave Paintings Tell Us About the Nature of Human ...

Given some thousands of years in which to practice art, and improve one’s artistic skills, why does this Iron Age clay figurine look like a five-year-old did it?  (Okay, I want to make an eye: blob of clay, and poke a hole in it. Eat your heart out, Michelangelo.) And scholars think such clumsy figurines were actually meant to be worshiped. Good grief.

Did Iron Age artists in Israel and Judah truly not understand that the stuff they were creating was junk? Did they not know what a sculpture ought to look like? Did they pat themselves on the back when they were done throwing clay into crude and awkward shapes? Why wasn’t art in the Iron Age light-years better than art in the Stone Age? I mean, the people who produced this childish rubbish lived in cities and wore clothes and had domesticated animals, etc., etc. Why was their art so childish?

Then again, look at some of the so-called art that’s been pitched to us in our lifetime…

Going into Debt–in 664 B.C.

Assyrians came, conquered, and kicked everyone out: Tablets reveal ...

(Source: Biblical Archaeology Review, Summer 2020)

You think you’ve got troubles with the finance company? Hah!

The clay tablet in the picture is a legal document from 664 B.C., discovered at Tel Hadid in central Israel, which was then under Assyrian rule. The document is the record of a loan in which the borrower agreed to pay 33% interest if his bill was overdue… and he had to put up his wife and sister as collateral! “Rocky” would come and take them away if the loan was not repaid on time. (Does this shed any light on the Bibles consistent condemnation of usury?)

Those seem like pretty harsh terms to me. You’re better off with Household Finance.

The document doesn’t say what the borrower needed the loan for. Probably not smart pills. Obviously they weren’t making them back then.

 

‘Conspiracy Baloney Aimed at Our Lord’ (2016)

See the source image

“Scholars,” eh?

I thought you might enjoy the discussion which followed this post, two years ago. If you want interesting conversation online, you’ve come to the right place.

Conspiracy Baloney Aimed at Our Lord

I happened to be leafing through the latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review last night. With Herschel Shanks retired as editor-in-chief, the new regime has filled the magazine with ads for books to Reputable Bible Scholars Inc. alleging there was no such person as Jesus Christ–or at best, he was just a nice guy who ran afoul of the Romans.

They are evangelists for atheism. And paganism.

What do they get out of it? Search me.

My Interview with the President of the Biblical Archaeological Society (2005)

Image result for images of hershel shanks

Hershel Shanks at work

When I interviewed him in 2005, Hershel Shanks was president of the Biblical Archaeological Society, which he helped to found, and editor-in-chief of its print magazine, “Biblical Archaeology Review.”

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/biblical-archaeology-an-interview-with-hershel-shanks

I’ve been a BAR subscriber for many years, and it was a kick for me to interview the man who launched it and served as editor until his retirement last year. BAR has been notable for its coverage of all the liveliest controversies in the field of Biblical archaeology–most of which spilled over into the “Letters” column.

Two of the controversies covered in this interview were “Biblical minimalism” (he didn’t support it) and the purportedly ancient ossuary (bone box) that bore the inscription “James, brother of Jesus”–which the Israeli authorities had branded a modern forgery, but which Mr. Shanks felt ought to be studied further, and more deeply, by an international team of experts.

There is, unfortunately, a great deal of material in BAR by “reputable Bible scholars” who don’t believe a single word of Scripture. Readers have to learn to ignore them.

One thing Mr. Shanks did as editor, though–he kept things lively. I haven’t seen that, so far, from his successor.

Dogs’ Memorials… from Ancient Rome

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/ca/6d/ce/ca6dce8b234c22577c5fa957957588ef.jpg

A dog’s tomb: her name was Helena

Every so often a discovery is made that brings the past to life. Its people speak to us; and we understand. We feel what they felt.

The inscription on Helena’s tomb reads, “To Helena, foster child, soul without comparison and deserving of praise.”

And an unknown Roman, some two thousand years ago, wrote this:

“My eyes were wet with tears, our little dog, when I bore you [to the grave]. So, Patricus, never again shall you give me a thousand kisses. Never can you be contentedly in my lap. In sadness, I buried you, as you deserve. In a resting place of marble, I have put you for all time by the side of my shade. In your qualities, you were sagacious, like a human being. Ah, what a loved companion we have lost!”

We know, whoever you were–we know.

I  cannot read this post aloud.

[Source: Biblical Archaeological Review, May/June 2019, “Dogs in the Biblical World,” pg. 48]

Ridiculous Politics

Ooh! Naughty, naughty! I guess she can’t be our First Lady, either…

So who says politics can’t be played for laughs? Ha-ha for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump this week, currently feuding over their wives.

Cruz started it–or rather, an anti-Trump (and, by extension, benefiting Cruz) PAC did–by running an ad in the Utah primary this week showing Mrs. Trump, Melania, in a photo shot for Gentleman’s Quarterly magazine 10 years ago, when she was a professional model and not yet married to Trump ( https://drlillianglassbodylanguageblog.wordpress.com/tag/ted-cruz/ ). Like, “Do you want this floozy for your First Lady?”

After hearing about this red-hot controversial picture all day, I finally saw it on Dr. Lillian Glass’s body language blog (see above).

Uh… What you see is Melania’s face, one bared shoulder, and her upper arm. Everything else is wrapped up in a blanket. Okay, it would be quite racy for 1898. But nowadays we see saucier stuff on the cover of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Trump fired back with a picture of pretty Melania alongside one of Heidi Cruz making a grimace like she was fighting off a bunch of orcs.

So, the world’s on fire, liberals have gutted America, here come the jihad, and these two guys are trying to establish which of their wives would be most repellent to the voters. As if even a gigantic praying mantis wouldn’t be better than what we have now.

Oh, well, ha-ha-ha, I hope a pie fight’s next. Much more entertaining than a debate.

The Lost River of Eden

The Bible preserves the memory of an ancient river that flowed across Arabia many thousands of years ago.

God speaks to us in many ways.

I was raised in a close-knit Christian family, but came out of four years of college with the kind of precious know-it-all attitude for which the university is the ultimate greenhouse. And in that wilderness I wandered for 30 years or so, until the Good Shepherd brought me back.

One of His tools was an article in Biblical Archaeological Review, Vol. 22 No. 4, July/August 1996, “The River Runs Dry.” This told of the discovery, via satellite photo analysis, of a long-vanished river that ran across Arabia into Mesopotamia. (I can’t figure out how to navigate the BAR site, but this will help you, http://kata-aletheia.blogspot.com/2007/01/ancient-geography-lost-river-of-eden.html )

The Bible preserves much ancient knowledge which would otherwise be lost. In Genesis 2, the “four rivers of Eden” are described. Two we know today as the Tigris and the Euphrates, in Iraq. But in verse 11 we read, “The name of the first is Pison [or Pishon]; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold…”

“Havilah” refers to what is now the western part of Saudi Arabia. Geologists for years wondered about the presence of certain kinds of pebbles and stones in Kuwait which were not original to that country. But as satellite photos revealed the bed of a mighty river now buried under the Arabian desert, it became clear that these stones and pebbles came from far away, carried there by a river which dried up and disappeared thousands of years ago.

So there is information in that chapter of Genesis that has no business being there unless it is an accurate record of truly ancient things. Never mind the Reputable Bible Scholars Inc. who say the whole Bible is just a bunch of fables and stories invented by priests in Babylon after 500 B.C. to wile away the time spent in captivity.

Geologists estimate that the Kuwait/Pison River ceased to exist by, at the latest, 2,000 B.C. So then they talked about it for 1,500 years?

Reading about this lost river of Eden, now found again, shocked me deeply: shocked me with the revelation that Genesis is true. It got me started back on the road to the Bible. It continues to fascinate me 20 years later.

It’s God’s Word, it’s true, and we can trust it.