David No Longer a Myth
'In a major eight-page U.S. News & World Report feature article (4/17/95), 'Mysteries of the Bible,' we are reminded that 'Given david's amazing deeds, some modern scholars have suggested he was a mythical character -- a theory largely based on the absence of nonbiblical references to him or to his throne.' This is standard stuff: The Bible is myth unless proven elsewhere to be true. This prejudice presents a very difficult challenge. Nevertheless, archaeological evidence is piling up, piece by piece to substantiate biblical history.
'A 1993 discovery of a broken monument at the ancient site of the city of Dan in northern Israel converts another Bible 'myth' to fact. 'Scholars say the monument refers to the defeat of the 'House of David' by the king of Damascus in a battle that could be the one mentioned in 1 Kings 15:20. Avraham Biran, an archaeologist at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, who found the stone, sees the Aramaic inscription as 'the first reference to David outside of the Bible.' ' I'm sure there will be many more. The critics were surprised in 1990 when the fancy tomb and bone box of Caiaphas was found. Since there was no record of a Caiaphas outside the Bible, it was believed this High Priest who reportedly presided at Jesus's trial was also an 'invention.' But when they read his name, big and plain on the ossuary, they had to drop the issue. A book full of such examples is being compiled as archaeologists dig away. The surface has barely been scratched and I believe the best vindications are yet to come.
'The USWR article concludes on this note: 'If, indeed, a new golden age of biblical archaeology awaits, scholars say it will be helped along by long-term peace in the Middle East, which could open lands now closed to international explorers. New technologies may speed the process. Radar imaging, for example, already shows promise in scanning beneath the earth's surface for buried ruins....Many more mysteries wait to be solved. Where, for example, are the lost 'Annals of the Kings' cited in the Old Testament Book of 1 Kings, and the five Books of Papias, mentioned in early church writings as a collection of the sayings of Jesus? Where is the tomb of Herod the Graet, the imperious ruler of Palestine at the time of Jesus's birth? 'There's so much out there, waiting to be found,' says Hoffmeier of Wheaton college. 'It is just a matter of time.'
-- The New Millennium, August/September 1995.
Hope of Israel
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