With Clyde Billington
Every year we draw attention to all of the interesting excavations in Biblical Archaeology by highlighting ten of the most exciting discoveries or announcements of the previous year. This year the top discovery on the list goes right to the heart of the Christian faith, the opening up of the traditional tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. There are nine more on the list, one all the way at the other end of the Roman Empire.
With Walter Kaiser Jr.
This week’s big news in Biblical Archaeology was a new analysis of pottery shards found at the desert fortress of Arad a half century ago, and what they might have to say about literacy and when the Bible was written. Mainline liberal scholars say the evidence shows the Bible could have been written before the Babylonian Exile, not after, as they have believed in recent years. However, evangelicals continue to maintain a much earlier date for the development of widespread literacy and when the Bible was written, in large part based on internal evidence from the Bible itself. That’s the topic of this week’s discussion with Walter Kaiser Jr., President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
With Todd Bolen
It’s always fun to look back at the end of the year and see how Biblical Archaeology has opened up new perspectives on the biblical world. This year it was not just the discoveries of the year, but how discoveries from previous years were finally realized. Many of our Top 10 items were discovered decades ago, but their significance was only now becoming apparent in 2015. Once again I was joined by Todd Bolen, the editor of Bibleplaces.com, to discuss the news stories of 2015. And our top item on the list highlighted the work of University of Wisconsin alumnus Brent Seales, now a computer science professor at the University of Kentucky. His software developments could open the way for the reading of many more ancient texts, such as the carbonized scroll of Leviticus from the Engedi synagogue that we reported on this year.
With Todd Bolen
There was a dearth of sensational discoveries in 2014, and without a bunch of discovery announcements in December it would have been a very slim year of exciting discoveries. But we do have a list, which was picked up by Christianity Today. Tops on the list was the discovery of a new monumental entrance to Herodium, Herod’s fortress/palace in the desert near Bethlehem, an entrance that was apparently never used because Herod decided to close it up and build a mausoleum nearby instead. The second discovery on the list: a half-dozen bullae (clay seal impressions) found at a small site called Khirbet Summeily, on the Judahite/Philistine border. Item #3 is a scarab of Pharaoh Sheshonq, know in the Bible as Shishak.
With Christopher Moroney
About ten years ago we discovered Ancient Echoes, a project by the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, which attempted to answer the question, what was music like in Jesus' time? Here again, our 3-part interview with SAVAE’s artistic director Christopher Moroney on how this project came together. This is part 2.