Christian archeology – why is it important?
Question: "Christian archeology – why is it important?"
Answer: Most people know and understand, to some extent, that Christianity is one of the great religions of the world and that followers believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of mankind. But few really understand what archeology is, especially Christian archeology. Archaeology comes from two compounded Greek words; “archae” meaning ancient, and “logos” meaning knowledge, thus knowledge or study of the ancients. Archaeology
is much more than an Indiana Jones type individual running around the world looking for old artifacts to place in a museum. It is a science that studies ancient cultures by recovering and documenting materials from the past, including architecture, artifacts, etc. Christian archeology is the science of studying ancient cultures that have impacted Christianity and Judaism, as well as the Jewish and Christian cultures themselves. Not only are
Christian archaeologists trying to discover new things about the past, but they are trying to validate what we already know about the past, as well as further understanding the manners and customs of the peoples of the Bible.
The biblical text and other written records are the most important pieces of information we have about the history of ancient biblical peoples. But these records alone have left many unanswered questions and have brought into question many things that can be corroborated. That is where Christian archeologists come in. They can fill in the partial picture that the biblical narrative provides. This is done through the disciplines of archaeology
such as digs where garbage dumps and abandoned cities have been excavated and bits and pieces have been found that give us clues to the ancient past. The goal of Christian archeology is to verify the essential truths of the Old and New Testaments through the physical artifacts of ancient peoples.
Christian archeology did not become a scientific discipline until the 19th century. The building blocks of Christian archeology were laid by men such as Johann Jahn, Edward Robinson, and Sir Flinders Petrie. William F. Albright became the dominant figure in the 20th century. It was Albright who would draw Christian archeology into the contemporary businesss over the origins and reliability of the biblical narratives. It would be Albright and
his students who would provide much of the physical prove for the historical events described in the biblical text. However, today it seems as though there are as many archeologists trying to disprove the Bible as there are those proving them to be accurate.
Today you don’t have to go very far to find new attacks on Christianity from a secular world. An example is much of the Discovery channel programming such as “The Da Vinci Code” docudrama. Other offerings have dealt with historicity of Christ. One program, by James Cameron, told us that the tomb and burial box of Jesus had been found. From this “discovery” conclusion was drawn that Jesus had not risen from the dead. What they failed
to say is that the box had been discovered years earlier and that it had already been proven not to be Christ’s burial box. This knowledge was achieved through the hard work of Christian archeologists.
It is archaeological prove that provides the best possible physical information on the life and times of the ancients. When proper scientific disciplines are applied to the excavation of ancient cites, information emerges that gives us a greater understanding of the ancient peoples and their culture, proofs that validate the biblical text, and new insights into areas we knew nothing about. Systematic recordings of these findings, shared with
experts worldwide, can and will give us the most complete information on the lives of those who lived in biblical times. Christian archeology is just one of the tools scholars can use to present a more complete defense of the biblical narrative and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Often when sharing our faith we are asked by non-believers how we know the Bible is true? One of the answers we can give is that through the work of Christian
archeologists, many of the facts of the Bible have been validated.
Recommended Resource: Bible Archaeology: An Exploration of the History and Culture of Early Civilizations by John McRay & Alfred Hoerth.
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Christian archeology – why is it important?