“Archaeological Light on the Old Testament”

by Chavalas and Adamthwaite

Chavalas catalogues many of the developments in archaeology over the past few decades. He lays out his survey chronologically.

Neolithic – civilization was far more widespread than previously thought based on widespread and uniform material culture. The Halaf period is also better understood.
Uruk – Massive urbanization began in the north.
Early Bronze – rise of city-states in the south, with urbanization in the south.
Middle Bronze – planned towns, straight streets and intersections.
Late Bronze – much of southern Mesopotamia was abandoned.
Early Iron – Evidence of the fall of Ninevah at the Halzi Gate.

Adamthwaite’s approach is quite different from that of Chavalas. He discusses particular biblical accounts which are in dispute because of archaeology. He then re-analyzes the debate in light of the current findings. Thus, debunking or strengthening some of the older arguments. For example, Adamthwaite dismisses the late date for the Exodus on the basis of the biblical narrative. The biblical narrative cannot support a late date. In this case, the biblical account wins. On the other hand, he dismisses the early date on the basis of archaeological evidence. If the early date is accepted, Joseph must have ruled under the Hyksos dynasty. From what is known about the Hyksos, the biblical narrative does not seem to describe a Hyksos Pharaoh. Therefore, the logic concludes, the Exodus could not be early. In this case, archaeology wins.

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