Archaeology and the Old Testament

Archaeology and the Old Testament

JAMES B. PRITCHARD
Copyright Date: 1958
Pages: 263
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7tbmn
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Archaeology and the Old Testament
    Book Description:

    Archaeology is a science in which progress can be measured by the advances made backward into the past. The last one hundred years of archaeology have added a score of centuries to the story of the growth of our cultural and religious heritage, as the ancient world has been recovered from the sands and caves of the modern Near East-Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq. Measured by the number of centuries which have been annexed to man's history in a relatively few years, progress has been truly phenomenal. This book deals with the recent advance and with those pioneers to the past who made it possible. Interest in biblical history has played an important part in this recovery. Names such as Babylon, Nineveh, Jericho, Jerusalem, and others prominent on the pages of the Bible, have gripped the popular imagination and worked like magic to gain support for excavations.

    This book is written from the widely shared conviction that the discovery of the ancient Near East has shed significant light on the Bible. Indeed, the newly-discovered ancient world has effected a revolution in the understanding of the Bible, its people, and their history. My purpose is to assess, in non-technical language which the layman can understand, the kind of change in viewing the biblical past which archaeology has brought about in the last century. Since the text of the Bible has remained constant over this period, it is obvious that any new light on its meaning must provide a better perspective for seeing the events which it describes. In short, I am concerned with the question, How has history as written in the Bible been changed, enlarged, or substantiated by the past century of the archaeological work?--from the Preface

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4319-0
    Subjects: Archaeology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. v-viii)
    J. B. P.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER 1 THE SCIENCE OF PALESTINIAN ARCHAEOLOGY
    (pp. 1-52)

    The science of Palestinian archaeology was born in the spring of 1890, when a rare genius, W. M. Flinders Petrie, found an ancient mound of buried cities worthy of his ability to observe and interpret. In a scant six weeks of digging, this pioneer set the pattern for over half a century of excavations. Others, to be sure, had dug in Palestine before, but none had hit upon a sure means for dating the ancient ruins which he had uncovered. It remained for Petrie to discover the secret of method.

    Petrie was an Egyptologist who had been asked by the...

  7. CHAPTER 2 THE MAKING OF A MAP
    (pp. 53-90)

    At the beginning of the nineteenth century, no area of the earth’s surface comparable in size to Palestine could claim to have received as much attention from the outside as the Holy Land. Pilgrims by the hundreds had written stories of adventures on their visits to its holy places. Many had drawn maps of their journeys, indicating the routes that they had taken to the shrines, and had filled in details of rivers, mountains, cities, and tribes, as they supposed them to have been from their reading of the Bible and the writings of Josephus, Eusebius, and Jerome.

    An industrious...

  8. CHAPTER 3 BAAL AND THE RELIGION OF CANAAN
    (pp. 91-126)

    The age-old religion of Canaan, a land extending in a narrow strip along the entire eastern coast of the Mediteranean, was known until about a century ago principally from the Old Testament. There, it is to be be seen through the eyes of zealously hostile Hebrew prophets, who condemned Canaanite religion without bothering to describe this rival system of religious practice. With the disappearance of the Canaanites and their religion, there were left only obscure allusions to their gods and sacrifices, references which had been full of meaning for the prophet’s hearers, but which later readers found obscure.

    While the...

  9. CHAPTER 4 ASSYRIA, ISRAEL’S ENEMY
    (pp. 127-159)

    In the annals of archaeology the recovery of ancient Assyria stands out as a unique triumph. At the middle of the nineteenth century, two men, excavating along the upper Tigris River, discovered palace after palace of the Assyrian kings, richly documented with cuneiform inscriptions on their walls. At about the same time, the painstaking labors of two generations of scholars in deciphering cuneiform were crowned with success, so that the spectacular monuments from the Assyrian palaces could be placed almost immediately in the framework of written Assyrian history.

    This achievement of discovery and decipherment provided a wealth of new material...

  10. CHAPTER 5 MYTH IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST
    (pp. 160-205)

    One of the most spectacular finds of biblical archaeology was recognized not at the site of a buried Near Eastern city, but in a small and poorly lighted room on the southwest staircase of the British Museum in London. Credit for the discovery belongs to George Smith, who at the time had never set foot on Near Eastern soil.

    In the year 1872, while laboriously copying cuneiform signs from clay tablets in a large collection of more than 20,000 pieces which had come to the Museum from excavations at Nineveh, Smith came upon half of a tablet which had originally...

  11. CHAPTER 6 LAW AND WISDOM
    (pp. 206-245)

    Rarely in the annals of archaeology has the excavator been able to oblige his colleague the philologist by producing from the earth the very monument which the latter had suspected to have been in existence. One such extraordinary case was the discovery of the three large pieces of the famous Code of Hammurabi at Susa in December 1901 and January 1902 by Jacques de Morgan.

    On the basis of the publication a few years earlier of clay tablets containing laws from the Old Babylonian period, Friedrich Delitzsch, in his famous lecture of 1902, “Babel and Bible,” said: “After Hammurabi had...

  12. POSTSCRIPT
    (pp. 246-250)
  13. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 251-254)
  14. SOURCES FOR ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. 255-256)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 257-262)
  16. INDEX OF BIBLICAL REFERENCES
    (pp. 263-263)